Racing Down the Yukon

Pete arrived into Galena at 8:46pm and left at 12:43am with just under 4 hours of rest. Leaving another member of the squad, Team Kaiser is now down to 10 dogs.

There are 5 Teams out of Galena at this hour, but the true leader appears now to be Wade Marrs who took his 8 hour layover in Ruby earlier today.

All other Teams still have to make their mandatory layover before leaving the Yukon. Wade also had the fastest trail time into Galena from Ruby and didn’t rest as he makes his way towards Nulato.

Apparently, word from the Trail is that village checkpoints are becoming a bit nervous about the Covid-19 threat and have requested that the Iditarod move the checkpoint out of the village.

The Iditarod continues to utilize best practices and caution regarding COVID-19. In consultation with the community of Shaktoolik and in the continued interest of public health, the Iditarod is moving its official checkpoint to outside the community of Shaktoolik, the 19th checkpoint along the northern route of the Iditarod trail. As in all checkpoints, mushers will be provided with their food drop bags, straw for bedding and HEET, which allows a team to be fed a hot meal, as they continue their journey to Nome.

The official word pertains to Shaktoolik, but word from the trail is that Nulato and Kaltag are doing the same thing. Since Governor Dunleavey has closed schools until March 30, it is a sure bet that mushers will be on their own on the trail to Nome. Galena may have been the last checkpoint for a long stretch that will allow Mushers to warm up and sleep. This may add an element to the race in terms of mushers getting tired. They have sleeping gear and such, but may not be fully prepared to camp out fully.

In the original run to Nome to bring medical supplies to the children, musher’s didn’t have checkpoints or accomodations either, so in some ways this is really returning to the roots of the sport.

There has been some confusion about weather. I posted a story with a real nasty looking weather report, but now all I can find is some snow and a bit of wind and not nearly the 50-70mph that was predicted. It is anticipated to have a good dumping of snow, but doppler isn’t showing it yet.

Here’s what they are predicting:

…WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT
TO 6 AM AKDT SUNDAY…

* WHAT…Heavy snow and blowing snow expected. Plan on difficult
travel conditions. Total snow accumulations of 5 to 10 inches,
with localized amounts up to 12 inches, are expected.

* WHERE…Lower Koyukuk and Middle Yukon Valleys.

* WHEN…Midnight to 6 AM Sunday.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Winds gusting as high as 25 mph will
cause areas of blowing and drifting snow.

Mushers now are headed towards Nulato and Kaltag. It’s cloudy and a little warm. Stay awake Mr. Kaiser!

Go Team Kaiser!

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