It is still reported as positively frigid out there. And by positively, I'm talking negative 40-50F. And that's before any impact of wind chill. Sebastian Schnuelle wrote about how these kinds of temps change the consistency of snow for the teams out there and how it slows down run times. "The snow feels like sandpaper. It crunches underfoot like Styrofoam." There is a small shelter cabin near the midpoint from Galena to Huslia, though, so I suspect the twins and many mushers availed themselves of that along the way. Any small comfort in those conditions.
In other news, if you happened to glance through the New York Times today, you would have spotted some familiar faces in a full color photo! There is a short article and more pictures on line, featuring the twins and two of their dogs prior to the race.
The twins also gave an interview while in Galena that was posted on the Iditarod Insider. For those that don't subscribe, a brief recap... Kristy and Anna spoke about how their dog teams are fairly compatible, especially after having run all of this year's 200-300 mid distances races together. The dogs are also of similar age and experiences levels, although Kristy said Anna's team is a little faster. When asked about the cold, Kristy claimed to not mind it, and would certainly take these cold temps over the snowless trail of last year. She said she pulled into one checkpoint guessing it was -10/15F, only to pull out her thermometer and find it was -30F. "So I'm acclimated," she said. Anna said you can feel it when it gets colder out on the trail. And she'll have times where she puts on her last layer and tightens her hood and fur ruff as far as it will go, calling them her "as warm as it gets" moments. That's when she has to start ski-poling or pedaling more, moving around to stay warm. And both twins know if it's cold for them, it's cold for their dogs, too. They'll pack extra straw for camping out, dress the dogs in coats and protective leg wraps, and take special care that booties don't come off. Despite the cold, they were both looking forward to pulling out of Galena on trail that would give them a reprieve from the Yukon River.
Having completed that run and started out for Koyukuk, it sounds like the twins and their dogs will be facing more cold. But at least they must be encouraged to have half the race under their runners.