They had very even run times over the 40 or so miles from there to Finger Lake. Anna's rest time Monday morning in Finger Lake was a bit longer than Kristy's, quite likely due to her caring for and ultimately deciding to drop Rooster. He's reported back at the kennel with a cut on one paw and a sore shoulder, but otherwise a-ok and probably miffed he isn't running with his pack! Kristy also dropped a dog here, Romell. He's back at the kennel as well, I believe recovering from a sore wrist or shoulder.
And so a 60-musher spread was cut to 1 in a matter of 24 hours, and the twins pulled out of Finger Lake within 16 minutes of each other early Monday afternoon, with 15 dogs each. They covered the 30 miles to Rainy Pass in about 4 hours with minimal stopping along the trail, arriving one 11 minutes after the other Monday evening. Anna dropped 2 more dogs in Rainy and Kristy dropped 1, although I haven't yet heard why (stay tuned). The twins spent 5 hours resting in Rainy before pulling out a little after 10pm to tackle the 35 miles to Rohn, arriving there about 5 hours later and a little after 3am.
The twins spent about 5 hours resting in Rohn. Then, while your Tuesday morning was likely spent getting ready for school or work, Kristy and Anna were feeding dogs and putting (a collective 108) booties on, so they could hit the trail from Rohn (race mile 188) just after 8am. Anna pulled out in 53rd position with 13 dogs and Kristy in 54th with 14 dogs. As of this writing, they have been on the trail for just under 2 days and 3 hours and have over 700 miles left in front of them and their dogs.
And what will they have encountered so far? The run from Willow to Finger Lake was probably fairly uneventful, with some of it on the Yentna River. But after Finger Lake, it will have been one challenge after another. First they would have tackled the Happy River Steps, three intense downhill switchback steps notorious for being a hairy ride. It sounds like there was ample snow on the trail for this portion, though, which will have helped mushers' braking ability substantially, not to mention slowing the dogs down a bit.
Between Rainy Pass and Rohn, they had to muscle up a 3 hour, 3,160 foot climb to the actual pass (and highest point on the trail). This included the Happy River Crossing, which this year is reported by ADN.com as getting some mushers wet, while others apparently were making it through ok. Hopefully the twins stayed dry, because not long after that they will have braced for a 200-foot drop into the Dalzell Gorge. Next time you hear Queen's song "Another One Bites the Dust", instead think, "Another Trip Down the Gorge!" It's what the twins do.
The fact that the twins opted to rest for 5 hours in Rohn, rather than blow through and camp trailside, tells me all of those challenges were tough ones. And it sounds like they'll be hitting some snowless, rough trail out of Rohn on the way to Nikolai, so resting in Rohn was probably a wise choice. I suspect they'll rest for another 5 hours in Nikolai once they get there.
As for the remainder of the field, front runners like the Seaveys and Aily Zirkle are just over the 300 mile mark and closing in on McGrath, while the back of the pack, overwhelmingly rookies, are out of Rainy Pass (about half that distance). 82 teams are on the trail with 3 teams having scratched. We wish those mushers safe and swift travels to their home kennels.
Phew! Sorry for the long posting, but now you know what I know. I'll be back soon with a recap of Seeing Doubles' third day on the trail and, with any luck, a full picture download to Flickr so you can revisit the start. Until then, here are a couple of images from ADN.com to illustrate some of what Anna and Kristy have seen so far.