There was talk in the media that we were about to get our second scratch this year from Nic Petit, to the point where an ADN.com article noted how Kristy and Anna approached him in Nikolai when they heard the chatter to console him and check in. It was never an official scratch on Iditarod.com, though, and it now seems he cautiously sticking things out for now.
Whatever happens down the trail, for now we still have 56 teams mushing their way to Nome. Paige Drobny is currently in the lead, checked out of Ophir and on the trail at mile 366 as of this writing. Five other mushers are also in and out of Ophir, obviously opting to make a push to the halfway point of Cripple before declaring their 24s. One team is resting in Ophir, perhaps 24'ing in this quiet spot, two have left Takotna, and a whole bunch of others appear to be hunkered down (and eating pie?!) in this checkpoint and taking their 24s. The back of the pack is all reported out of Rohn and resting trail-side on the way to Nikolai. That gives us a current spread in the field of 136 miles.
Seeing Double is included in the group currently resting in Takotna. Late yesterday, it looks like they rested in Nikolai for just shy of 6 hours, about 1 hour longer than initially planned. The dogs must have needed a little extra straw time... I know I've been there. Having spent 12+ hours out on the prior 75 miles of trail, I have a hunch the twins needed it, too. And it sounds like they've seen some colder temps out there overnight, with reports of -30F, which burns up more energy keeping warm, too.
Fed and rested, they pulled their snowhooks by headlamp a little before midnight and spent the next 6 hours 20 minutes getting to McGrath, and after the predicted quick stop, continued on to Takotna. Kristy was reported in to this 329-mile checkpoint in 25th place at 9:11am. Anna was 6 minutes behind her in 26th at 9:17am. Now they can give extra extra TLC to each of their dogs, chat more with other mushers, and get their own first substantial rest in nearly 3 days.
I'll be back with updates on the rest of the field and some special editions while the twins are taking their 24s. For my latest internet finds, please check out a great interview with the twins in Nikolai from KTVA-11 (source of the screen grabs, below); some great photos of what it looks and feels like out there from ADN.com; and a couple throwbacks I stumbled across from the start, courtesy of Iditarod's Melissa Shelby.