Kristy dropped two dogs in Cripple and Anna dropped one, leaving them both with 13. A quick scan of the leader board indicates most teams are running 11 - 14 dogs at this point, with a few still claiming 15 and one team down to 9. Paul (out of Ruby in 22nd place) and Scott (into Ruby in 42nd) both have 13 dogs as well. Aliy has again assumed the lead with 14 dogs in harness, pulling out of Nulato a little more than an hour ago. Mitch and Dallas Seavey aren't far behind on the stretch from Galena and each have 13 dogs on their sleds.
The weather on this stretch continues to be cool, and Kristy and Anna would have again saw temps dipping to -20 degrees F overnight. Winds have picked up a bit, though, so windchills may have gotten as low as -40. The current section of trail from Cripple to Ruby is quite similar to the last ~ long but fast. Arrival in Ruby (race mile 467) is reportedly a bit euphoric, as the prior two sections of trail make up the longest wilderness stretch on the race. Plus, arrival in Ruby means teams are more than halfway done with the race.
The temps should tick at least a few degrees above zero today and the winds slow down, so it should make for a good rest in Ruby. From there, the twins head out on a 50 mile stretch along the Yukon River to Galena (race mile 515). This is again said to be fairly easy running, often taking 5-8 hours. Anna and Kristy will have to keep a close eye on trail markers, though, to make sure they stay on the trail as overflow and open water can be dangerously close by. I bet that is a little more challenging with these amazing northern lights to distract you.
And here are a few photos of what the twins will see as they pull into and out of their next checkpoint of Ruby.