Community Center waiting for the next Arrival or Departure.
Pete will be thinking about getting ready to leave in a couple of hours or so. The Time Differential is based on the last musher leaving. In this case there were 52 Teams. 52-9=43 x 2 minute interval = 86 minutes, or 1 hour and 26 minutes. Pete arrived at 21:59 or 1 minute before 10pm. That means he can take the Team out towards Ophir close to 11:30pm.
I was thinking about how the Iditarod is really four sections of trail. Throw in a 24 hour layover and an 8 hour layover and it becomes somewhat of a chess match.
You have the Alaska Range, The Kuskokwim, The Yukon, and then The Coast. That is wildly simplistic, but separating each into parts really is what we see. We are transitioning into the Yukon tomorrow that will lead us from Shageluk to Unalakleet via Kaltag. In some ways each part of the race has a separate personality. The Alaska Range with dramatic scenes and mountains. The Kuskokwim with river and mining trails. The Yukon river and the Portage. And then the Coastal Run to Nome. Mushers need to be in the moment, but also remain vigilant for the next section of the race.
Takotna ended up being a good choice for his 24 hour layover, but listening to Pete, that was the plan all along. It’s easy and they are used to it. So no problem there.
Even if he would have wanted to go last night, Takotna was still a good choice. Slow times between Takotna and Ophir indicate a slow trail. Nic Petit made the run into Ophir and his 24 hour layover in 3 hours 3 minutes. Compare that to last year when Pete made the run in 2 hours 17 minutes. That’s almost 45 minutes slower.
For those camping in Ophir, it isn’t a bad choice either. The only problem with Ophir or even Iditarod, is that a Team cannot drop a dog there. So if in the morning a musher awakes to a problem in the Team, he must carry the dog with him all the way to Shageluk. Another plus for Takotna. This is incorrect. Teams can, in fact, drop dogs at these checkpoints. Sorry for the mis-information!
Leaving Takotna tonight temperatures will be below freezing. It may be the last of the cooler weather. Last night it was snowing pretty heavy, but tonight the ceilings have lifted and it is just a dark night. An advantage for Pete and his Leaders is that the trail over to Ophir has been packed down with the Teams that decided not to stay at Takotna.
Aliy Zirkle made an interesting move and did not stay in Ophir. Martin Buser also has joined her on that trail. A fully rested Team that is making 7-8 miles per hour may be able to go to Iditarod with just one stop. Aliy is seeing speeds of only 5-6 miles an hour. This means maybe 3 breaks for her into the goldfields of Iditarod.
For some reason, the last 3 years I have gotten a cold when Pete is laying over in Takotna. Not sure how, but it happens quite a bit. So I’m going to hit the hay and we shall all arise to the next challenge of the trail.
Go Team Kaiser!
Mushing Weather Forecast-
Cloudy, with a low around 19. Calm wind.
A 40 percent chance of snow after noon. Cloudy, with a high near 27. Calm wind becoming east around 5 mph in the afternoon.
A 50 percent chance of snow. Areas of freezing fog before midnight, then areas of freezing fog after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 21. East wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.