RED TEAM UPDATE
After an eight hour break Aliy and 15 team mates are back on the trail, bang on time at 6.46pm, towards Nulato. They have now completed two of their three mandatory stops (see the two green ticks beside her name on the Current Standings)
We got a report from a friend in Galena checkpoint who spoke with Aliy soon after she arrived and she said that Aliy was really happy with how the team is looking and made particular mention of how well Mismo is doing - she's really proud of him! Good boy Mismo! She was about to sit down to lunch then was going to get some sleep. She wanted her Mom to know she was feeling good and getting some rest!
When the mushers received their trail report prior to the race they were told about the variation to the "normal" trail from Galena to Nulato. Instead of continuing down the Yukon River they will go overland on the old portage trail for a while until they hit the Koyukuk River, then they get back onto the Yukon just before Nulato. There are open holes in the river ice on that section and it is safer for teams to get off the river for a while. I am not certain how much this adds much to the documented 37 miles but it certainly is a change from running the river. (Edit: Sebastian Schnuelle reported the leg was 55 miles - an extra 18 miles.)
The new route off the river between Galena and Nulato
Laura Wright, the Teacher on the Trail uploaded a video of the team coming in to Galena where they decided to check in via the road rather than the marked trail. To see it go to the Iditarod website home page, then click on the "Teacher on the Trail" bar on the left hand menu to get all her posts.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
The Black Team has just pulled in to Ruby! I'm not sure of the official arrival time as the Standings have not been updated yet but the GPS tracker shows them in and resting. (Edit: Black Team arrival time to Ruby is 6.45pm)
Allen seems to have been running shorter runs today and his run/rest cycle looks very consistent. He will be taking into consideration the attitude of the youngsters and the weather, and making the best decision for the team. We're hanging out to see a picture of the team and, as yet, we have no word on the team member he left in Cripple checkpoint. We are hoping to find out later this evening so will update you asap.
Many of you are asking about Aliy and Allen's opinion of the "hauling dogs" strategy. I'm not really in a position to answer that on their behalf and perhaps we will ask that question once the are home. What I do know is they both always say they run dogs because they love running dogs. It may be seen as "old school" but it doesn't seem to fit with their philosophy to haul them. Allen's goal in this race is to have as many young dogs as possible run 1000 miles to see and experience the trail so it makes no sense for him to haul them and miss out on that experience. I'm sure there are many pros and cons to doing it and I'm sure those that do it, swear by it and those that don't, swear by that also. Same as ski-poling vs pedalling with your feet, a sled with a caboose or one without etc. To each their own.