Meanwhile, back on the trail... after leaving Takotna, the twins and their dogs mushed the 23 miles to Ophir (race mile 352) and spent less than 15 minutes checking in and resupplying before they were back on the trail again at high noon. They were reported in 18th and 19th out of the checkpoint. They moved along the trail over the afternoon for another 28 miles and, as of this writing, appear to be spending the early evening hours Thursday camped out trailside and resting around mile 385 at Don's Cabin (a BLM shelter cabin). It looks like they may be sharing the area with musher Jessie Royer, and I can only imagine they're all swapping stories about their races so far and talkin' dog. At least, when they're not grabbing a short nap.
I expect them to camp out for about 5 hours there before mushing the remaining 50 or so miles to the checkpoint of Iditarod (race mile 432), where they will again take a rest of 5 to 6. hours. This will also bring them to what is considered the halfway point in this year's race!
The leaders of the race at this juncture checked out of Iditarod earlier Thursday afternoon and both are notated as having completed their 24s. Jessie Holmes was first out followed by 2022 champ Brent Sass. Jessie is mushing a team of 12 dogs and Brent chasing him with 11 dogs. The remaining top 10 are reported into Iditarod and, impressively, two of those ten are rookies. The top 10 have all completed their 24s - except Wade Marrs, the lone musher to take his 24 this far along the trail. Nic Petit, the musher I mentioned previously as one of the first to take his 24 earlier in the race in McGrath, is also resting in Iditarod. But he can hit the trail again whenever he deems prudent. Welcome to race strategy! It will be interesting to see how these different decisions pan out.
Our current Red Lantern, rookie Gregg Vitello, has been resting in McGrath for a while now, ostensibly finishing up his 24. No additional teams have scratched from the race giving us 32 teams still making their way to Nome. Lots of race left!!