Saturday, March 10, 2012

In the Interior

This race is moving so fast I can hardly decide what to write about when something else occurs.  I will just use photos and move us along.   Most of the teams are already on the Yukon or nearing it. Temps have been ideal - very cold but not much in the way of new snow in the last few days.
That's Lance Mackey checking in and preparing to take his 24 hour rest in McGrath.  He signed in then signed for this little girl in a hand knit hat.  Notice the pup in the basket.  It seems that Maple, one of his lead dogs, went into heat (not an uncommon occurrence in this race) and her partner up front, Mayor decided to have some fun.  Held him up a bit until he put her into his basket.  He finally decided to drop Mayor and has Maple in solo lead.

It was a cold run up to Ruby.  Aliy Zirkle checked in, dropped a dog and went on down the trail.  She is now out of Nulato on the Yukon River.
Frosted dogs and mushers happily mushing in the sunshine.

From Joe Runyon on the Iditarod site.
"Aliy arrives 14 dogs in harness, some wearing coats and protective leggings (the deep snow sometimes frosts up on the front legs and wears the hair, shorter furred dogs benefit from a coat when its downright cold).  She signs in, smiling, cheerful, then promptly turns them around for a quick exit.  The checkpoint judge checks for mandatory gear, while vets quickly examine dogs and determine resting heart rates, a good indicator of recovery.

Team snacks on salmon, then spins around to action as aliy whistle team on exit toward Kaltag
“Just sign this, and you’re out of here,” says the checker.  “Leave your boots on,”  Aliy admonishes her team dog working on a booty.
“Are you staying?” 
“No,” laughs Aliy, “ I am trying to win this thing.”  Obviously she figures her team is well rested, and determines to continue to Kaltag.
With a whistle, her team is back in a rhythmic trot, leaving Nulato.  In a half mile, the trail will fall off the high bank of the Yukon, back to the bed of the Yukon and 38 miles of trail to Kaltag."

I am trucking along as well. Now have the back, the right front and more than half the left front completed.

And the standings of the top 15 as of 6:58 am, AK time.

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