Your Positive Imprint - Catherine Praiswater EPISODE 1
Mary Shields First Woman to Complete Iditarod Race How she acquired her first dog team will surprise you
00:00:00 00:29:53

Mary Shields First Woman to Complete Iditarod Race How she acquired her first dog team will surprise you

Happy Trails and Happy Tales from Iditarod Racer, author, adventurer and storyteller, Mary Shields.

Mary Shields entered the Iditarod in 1974 being the first woman to complete the Iditarod race.

I came to Alaska in 1965 to work for the Camp Fire Girls as a counselor.  When the summer was over I returned to Wisconsin.  I kept repeating Robert Service’s last line in his poem, ‘And I want to go back—and I will.’  And I did.  And I’ve never left.

I was born a city girl.  But I wanted to live what Henry David Thoreau talked about in his books so I lived in the rugged wilderness where I learned and loved to mush with a dog team.

‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.’—Henry David Thoreau

I was told I would never make it.  One man yelled at me, ‘You’d better turn around now. You’ll never make it to Nome!’  But I did.

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Iditarod Racer Turned Storyteller

Mary Shields turned her positive imprint of opening the door for other women to enter male dominated races into another positive imprint.  She began a successful writing career, authoring several children’s books that are Alaska’s classics.

“Can Dogs Talk?”  and “Secret Messages-Training a Happy Dog” are a couple of her books.  The illustrator is Donna Gates. Her other book, “Sled Dog Trails” captures her Alaskan dog team and wilderness experiences.

Mary continues to run the team.  She also loves organic gardening.  Her roof is a sod roof which insulates her home.

…and another positive imprint is sharing her stories and educating tourists.  She invites tourists to visit her dogs and to learn about caring for dog teams.  She shares her tales from the trails through her charismatic storytelling.

I lived in the wilderness to really experience what Thoreau was talking about.  My adventures began when the conductor held onto my hand as I jogged along and when he thought I had my balance he let go.

Sometimes people go off on these adventures and nobody ever sees them again and I was a perfect candidate for not being seen again.

My friends delivered three dogs to me on the train to help pull the sled for my chores.    The dogs arrived with a special note of instructions.

Listen to the podcast to hear what that note said and how Mary began her legacy in dog sled racing.

Listen to the podcast and learn more about Mary’s positive imprints.

What’s Your P.I.?

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Listen to the podcast and learn more about Mary’s positive imprints.  What’s Your P.I.?

Please leave a positive review after listening to the podcast.  Thank  you!

The Iditarod

The Iditarod takes place in March and it is about 1,000 miles long.  Visit the website to see maps and learn more about this historical trail.  Click the icon below to learn more about the Iditarod.

Joe Redington, Tom Johnson and Gleo Hyuck pushed to organize the Iditarod.  Redington had two reasons for the long-distance mushers’ race.  The first reason was to save the sled dog culture and the Alaskan Huskies.   Both were being replaced with the introduction of the snowmobiles.  The second reason was to preserve the historical Iditarod Trail between Seward and Nome.

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Partial Transcript

Mary Shields entered the Iditarod in 1974 being the first woman to complete the Iditarod race.

"I came to Alaska in 1965 to work for the Camp Fire Girls as a counselor.  When the summer was over I returned to Wisconsin.  I kept repeating Robert Service’s last line in his poem, 'And I want to go back—and I will.'  And I did.  And I've never left."

"I was born a city girl.  But I wanted to live what Henry David Thoreau talked about in his books.  So I lived in the rugged wilderness where I learned and loved to mush with a dog team."

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."—Henry David Thoreau

"I was told I would never make it.  One man yelled at me, 'You’d better turn around now. You’ll never make it to Nome!'  But I did.”

Mary Shields turned her positive imprint of opening the door for other women to enter male dominated races into another positive imprint.  She began a successful writing career, authoring several children’s books that are Alaska’s classics.  "Can Dogs Talk?"  and "Secret Messages-Training a Happy Dog" are a couple of her books.  The illustrator is Donna Gates.  

Her book, "Sled Dog Trails" captures her Alaskan dog team and wilderness experiences.

Mary continues to run the team.  She also loves organic gardening.  Her roof is a sod roof which insulates her home.

…and another positive imprint is sharing her stories and educating tourists.  She invites tourists to visit her dogs and to learn about caring for dog teams.  She shares her tales from the trails through her charismatic storytelling.

"I lived in the wilderness to really experience what Thoreau was talking about.  My adventures began when the conductor held onto my hand as I jogged along and when he thought I had my balance he let go.”

“Sometimes people go off on these adventures and nobody ever sees them again and I was a perfect candidate for not being seen again.”

"My friends delivered three dogs to me on the train to help pull the sled for my chores.    The dogs arrived with a special note of instructions."

Listen to the podcast to hear what that note said.

Listen to the podcast and learn more about Mary’s positive imprints.  What’s Your P.I.?

Subscribe to my podcast at iTunes Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast platform.  Sign up to receive my email updates.  Please leave a positive review after listening to the podcast.  Thank  you!

The Iditarod 

The Iditarod takes place in March and it is about 1,000 miles long.  Visit the website to see maps and learn more about this historical trail.  Click the icon below to learn more about the Iditarod.

Joe Redington, Tom Johnson and Gleo Hyuck pushed to organize the Iditarod.  Redington had two reasons for the long-distance mushers’ race.  The first reason was to save the sled dog culture and the Alaskan Huskies.   Both were being replaced with the introduction of the snowmobiles.  The second reason was to preserve the historical Iditarod Trail between Seward and Nome.