Or maybe it will be Mother Nature that laughs loudest over the day or so ahead? It looks like it is going to get pretty gnarly out there. Just look at this bulletin from the National Weather Service for the region:
"This will make travel very difficult or impossible." Not by dog sled!
Which isn't to say all the teams don't have a great deal of work ahead of them over the 480 or more miles that separates them from Nome. Because they sure do! At least Jessie Royer, the musher still in lead and the first into Ruby not too long after the twins got into the prior checkpoint of Cripple, is fortified with a feast. Her prize for being the first team to the Yukon, among a couple other things, was a five-course meal courtesy of The Lakefront Anchorage that sounded delectable.
There are a handful of other mushers also reported into Ruby and twenty or more on their way there. The back of the pack consists of three mushers, two veterans and one rookie, resting in McGrath, giving us a spread on the field of 184 miles. I think seven or eight mushers are still running full teams of 14 dogs, the majority (including the twins) are running 11-13 dog teams, and a couple teams have returned five dogs along the way leaving 9 in harness. Each musher must reach Nome with a minimum of five dogs in harness.
I'll be keeping a close eye on the weather and other breaking news, as well as working on the next special edition, which will be informative and colorful! And we're waiting for our RDCs to collect two of our returned dogs in Anchorage.
So don't go away! Mushers have been out on the trail for 4 days and going on 20 hours, but there is still lots of Iditarod action ahead.
Loren Holmes posted a great photo on ADN.com of wildly excited Seeing Double dogs getting ready to leave Takotna. The caption online correctly identified the dog as Oogruk but mistakenly attributed him to Kristy's team. Oogruk is running with Anna and friends, and he's a 3yr old Iditarod rookie on loan from 1984 Iditarod champion and friend Dean Osmar. Despite being a rookie, he obviously can and will run in lead. I'm pretty sure he's leaping for joy next to Yondu, a 2yr old boy and Seeing Double dog. It's important to have good cheerleaders at the front of your team to fire everyone up, and these two seem to be doing a bang-up job.