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Thursday, March 7, 2013

In and Then Out Of Iditarod and Ophir

Aliy "blew through" the Iditarod Checkpoint at 5.20pm today and, at the time of writing, was moving just under 7 MPH. According to the GPS tracker she and the team had a five hour break on the trail, possibly at "Don's Cabin". The trail from Iditarod to Shageluk is described as "officially 65 miles, and its unendingly hilly terrain makes it seem more like 100 at times" but "there are no real problems on this leg—just the hills."

Earlier in the afternoon Allen blew through Ophir and rested the team for six hours on the trail near the same spot as Aliy. It appears he has dropped one more dog in Ophir but I must reiterate there is no way we can know who that is yet. We will find out as soon as we can.

Different mushers have different strategies when it comes to stopping at a checkpoint or resting on the trail. Checkpoints can be noisy, busy places as you will have seen and heard in the videos from Rainy Pass. Aeroplanes carrying dropped dogs, officials, vets, volunteers, media, supplies and visitors buzz in and out (weather depending), other teams are coming and going and village life continues so it can sometimes be difficult to ensure the dogs get a good rest. Also, if the race is warm, like this year, mushers will often choose to rest their dogs in the "heat" of the day which it looks like they both elected to do. Aliy and Allen enjoy camping where it is quieter so you will see them stop at various times between checkpoints. The only times they have to officially stay in a checkpoint are to see out their mandatory rests: 24 hours at any checkpoint of their choosing, eight hours somewhere on the Yukon River (Anvik, Grayling, Eagle Island or Kaltag) and eight hours at White Mountain, and the time it takes to sign in and out of the checkpoint. Other than that they can rest wherever they choose.

Emily Schwing from KUAC is out on the trail and snapped this wonderful picture of Beemer resting in Takotna (right). It looks like he is having no trouble sleeping while other things are going on, doesn't he look comfortable!

Note: we have heard it is unlikely that any dropped dogs will arrive from McGrath before Saturday afternoon at the earliest! There are weather issues out there which are causing some logistical problems. Rest assured, volunteers at McGrath will be well prepared to take great care of our dogs until we see them next.

There is a cool article on iditarod.com written by the Teacher on the Trail, Linda Fenton, where she rode on a plane with some dropped dogs. She describes the process of transporting the dogs and I like how she says they quickly settled in and slept for most of the flight! Perhaps it's a little like getting a baby to sleep by driving your car around the neighbourhood?

4 comments:

mburrows said...

Thank you for the update! My class and I are eager to see how Aliy rests her team tomorrow and over the weekend. Many of us are confident she will be there near the end.
I also wanted to give praise to everyone who put this site together as we have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the teams :)

Teresa said...

I think that Aliy was actually resting quite a bit further up the trail than Allen rested and also past Don's cabin. I am a Iditarod junkie, I know, but I remember Seb commenting that Jeff and Martin both rested at the cabin and it is about 36 miles from Iditarod. Aliy was resting about 25 miles from Iditarod and Allen about 45 miles from Iditarod. At any rate, it was nice to see her blow through the checkpoint and leave second!! Now if she can just hold off Mitch, Jake, and Aaron.. and catch Martin :)
Thanks for the update Moira- and love to see the English spelling of words like aeroplane and neighbourhood. Excellent! Reminds me of my time in England. Give Tug a pat from me... I am taking her brother Cutter out for a skijor this weekend!

Dennis Nielsen-Wisconsin said...

What a great picture of Beemer, rest well Beemer and the rest of the team, you have all did a heck of a job and deserve every second of rest and that also goes for Aly, 20miles behind Martin-let the games begin, thank you so much to all involved for the best informational web site ever!!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Love this site and love your post.