There have been no additional scratches in the race as of this time, so we still have 51 teams out on the trail. The back of the pack is all at least into Galena, mile 545, and 6 of the last 10 mushers are all rookies. But we also have the likes of Martin Buser, a very seasoned Iditarod veteran, who is running a puppy team this year and not too far ahead of them. I'm sure Martin is sharing the wealth of his experience with these rookies as they overlap in checkpoints, and they're all encouraging each other as they move along.
Kristy and Anna are out on the trail, resting at what has obviously become a popular stop ~ mile 676. They have 38 miles from there to Unalakleet, race mile 714. They pulled out of Nulato Sunday before noon after resting for about 6 hours. They spent Sunday afternoon covering the 47 miles to Kaltag, arriving there about quarter past 5pm. I don't believe they had originally planned to stay in Kaltag, but they did, and for just over six and a half hours. It looks like their stop there was in lieu of pushing past the checkpoint to the Tripod safety cabin. Instead, they stayed in Kaltag until just before midnight Sunday, and spent the wee hours Monday morning covering the 47 miles to "676" for a camp out and breakfast.
Neither twin returned any dogs when departing either Nulato or Kaltag, so Anna is still running with 9 dogs and Kristy 11, making for a total of 20 furry friends camping out on the trail with them right now. I expect them all to rest at least 5... probably closer to 6 or more hours in Unalakleet before tackling their first stretch along the Bering coast and 40 miles or so on to "Old Shak."
Speaking of which, you have to love another story of folks pulling together in and around the villages to give mushers a few more comforts given checkpoint modifications. ADN.com reported how the kind folks of Shaktoolik pulled together with short notice to resurrect a shelter in the Old Shaktoolik village, which had been abandoned since 1976. Everyone from the elderly to 4 year olds chipped in to help, shoveling, covering windows, hauling wood and water, drilling a hole in the river so mushers could access additional water, and even hanging a welcome banner and putting signs along the trail. All of this must be a very welcome sight for mushers that were told not to even expect shelter.
Temperatures will definitely be on the warm side for teams in the immediate future, and I'm sure the twins will be encountering some water and punchy, slow trail. I was so glad to see this picture by Sebastian Schnuelle on Iditarod.com, showing they got a good place indoors in Nulato to hunker down and actually sleep. Slick work on their part using bondi bands as eye masks!