And the twins were right on schedule.
The community siren, which normally sounds as each musher arrives on Front Street (which this year, due to sea ice conditions - or lack thereof - was about 2 miles out of town, rather than roughly 6 blocks) rang twice with the briefest of intervals.
And after 10 days, 23 hours, 4 minutes and 48 seconds on the trail, Kristy and 10 amazing canine athletes arrived in Nome in 16th place, successfully completing Kristy's 10th consecutive year racing the Iditarod trail.
Less than 30 seconds later, Anna and 9 phenomenal Iditarod dogs joined her under the arch. Anna claimed 17th place with an official time of 10 days, 23 hours, 5 minutes and 15 seconds and completed her 8th Iditarod.
Both Kristy and Anna achieved new personal records with respect to their finishing positions.
This post is a little slow in coming, but I'm sure readers will understand that there was a fair amount of work to be done after the race itself was done. We got the dogs to the dog lot (I got to ride on the back of Anna's sled, an honor that will never, ever get old), harnesses and booties removed. Vets performed both their standard post-race checks as well as the extra levels of screening that top-20 teams undergo as part of being eligible for the Seppala Humanitarian Award. We got the dogs onto their temporary holding line with their sky kennels lined with straw. Snacks and then meals were fed. And then the dogs settled back in a variety of adorable poses to bask in the afternoon sun.
Speaking of the dogs, for those anxious to learn which of our canine athletes made it the full 1,000 miles? With Kristy: Wallace, Lewis, Raven, Bulliet, Berzerker, Bootlet, Henry, Bogus, Rizo, and Rebal. With Anna: Hale, Beccaroo, Forrest, Yondu, Bolt, Quintes, Pilgrim, Beaker, and Mammoth. On the returned dogs ~ Cloud from Kristy's team, that she opted to return in Safety, caught a helicopter ride to join the team at the finish, and the rest of the dogs (Mayhem, Jack, Sweetums, Rousey, RT, Lobo, Barry, and Whitehorse) are chillin' back at the kennel anxious for their favorite twin humans to get home.
When the dogs in Nome were well settled and left under the watchful eyes of the dog lot security team, we headed off with the lovely couple who offered to host both the twins and Andy in their home for their time in Nome. They provided a wonderful spread of fresh, wholesome, hot eats for our weary travelers, and we happily sat around listening to Anna and Kristy's tails from the trail, and hearing some of the couples' own stories of their fairly recent move not only to Alaska but the remote community of Nome.
After another quick check on the dogs, everyone settled in for long overdue showers and well, well earned sleeps.
I'm sure we'll be down to the dog lot early Friday morning, and after a bit of breakfast and visiting, sadly this Mad Blogger has to hit the trail again. Reality calls back home in Toronto. The good news for those readers that aren't quite ready to set their own Iditarod snow hooks yet this year? I've got a lot of downtime with more reliable internet both on my travels home and over what will remain of my weekend, so the posts will keep coming! I have a long-standing tradition of not closing out the blog until the red lantern is safely into Nome, and that isn't something I intend to abandon this year.
So stay tuned for more! I still owe folks a full upload to Flickr of pictures from the start, and now I have a lot of shots from Nome for the collection. I hope to do a more fulsome recap on the dog teams ~ the finishers and (minor) ailments that led some to return home early. I'd also like your input... learn a bit more about where Seeing Double's logo came from and complete a survey on the potential for Seeing Double merchandise!
Teams are still on the trail. So your Mad Blogger is, too.