Aliy is out of Nikolai in second position, she left at 1.13pm after just over four hours rest. On the "Insider" video of her arriving she said she had a fun run from Rohn to Nikolai - she said it is great to have a team that listens to you in that section as there were a few challenges along the way such as glare ice, glaciers and the section known as "The Farewell Burn" (this was the site of Alaska’s largest forest fire, a million and a half acres in the summer of 1978)!
There is a great picture of Aliy in the Nikolai checkpoint with her down slippers (in Sebastian Schnuelle's "checkpoint scenes" blog on idiatrod.com). I remember when she was packing to leave and she was tossing up whether to take them - she said it was a bit of a luxury and that maybe she shouldn't. I am so pleased she decided to put them in, it must be nice to have a tiny bit of luxury out on the trail!
We do know she has dropped one dog in Nikolai and although there is some video of her and the team leaving it is just too difficult to tell for certain who the dog is so we don't want to speculate at this stage and get it wrong. We talked with the Dog Drop HQ and from Nikolai the dogs are flown to McGrath checkpoint and will travel back in a larger plane on an, as yet, unscheduled flight so it is possible they won't be back to Anchorage until Wednesday evening or even Thursday morning. Please be assured we will let you know as soon as we know who it is - there is no way we can know for sure until we go to pick them up.
Allen arrived into Nikolai at 3.01pm and at the time of writing is in 28th position. I'm pretty sure Allen won't be carrying any "luxury" items in his sled. As some of you may know, Allen likes to travel light, taking only the essentials - so much so that we kid him about it often. At the start line in Willow he was deciding whether to put an extra lip balm in his bag - he chuckled, pointed out that it weighed 4.8g and threw it over his shoulder saying "that's just too heavy!"
Footnote: We picked up Tug and she is great! She was well looked after at the Millennium by the fabulous volunteers. She is a little sore but she was really happy to see us. She and Sissy spent some time catching up and telling trail stories before having a massage, a fish and kibble snack and a sleep.
Tug (in green third from bottom) waits with other dropped dogs