For those that are curious exactly what they were checking for with respect to mandatory gear, every musher must leave the start and arrive at the finish with: proper cold weather sleeping bag (weighing a minimum of 5 lbs), an ax (with ax head weighing minimum of 1.75 lbs and handle at least 22" long), one operational pair of snowshoes (with each snowshoe to be at least 252 square inches in size), any promotional material provided by Iditarod (including trail mail), 8 booties per dog (worn by the dogs or carried in the sled), one operational cooker and pot (capable of boiling at least 3 gallons of water at one time), veterinarian notebook, enough fuel to bring 3 gallons of water to a boil, one cable drop line per dog, and one functional non-chafing harness and neckline per dog remaining on the team.
These items are mandated by the race for the safety and well being of mushers and dogs and are given with precise specifications so each musher is carrying the same amount, weight, and type of required gear. After that, it's up to the musher and their chosen strategy what they bring with them.
With one musher having already pulled in behind the twins, we have 41 finishers into Nome as of this writing and 31 still out on the trail. One more musher has scratched, bringing that tally to 13. As is our tradition, I'll keep blogging until the Red Lantern, or final racing team, is into Nome. So don't go anywhere! I'll be back with (hopefully) more details from the twins, pictures, updates on the mushers still out on the trail, and a special Dog Blog (in case you were wondering... no, I haven't forgotten!).
Speaking of the dogs, you might have noticed that Kristy dropped one dog since my last update, with Shoes apparently deciding in Safety that 953 miles was as far as she cared to go. Thanks to Aaron, our dropped dog correspondent back at the kennel, and friend Andy that was waiting to greet the twins in Nome, I know exactly which dogs succeeded in running the entire way. Let's take a fresh look at the amazing canine athletes that powered through the entire 975 race miles!
First, Kristy's 39th place team (4 Seeing Double Dogs, 5 on loan):