Sebastian Schnuelle’s Photos from Nikolai

The Iditarod has done a real nice job this year by taking a leaf out of our playbook and just blogging away. Sebastian is on the trail just posting what he sees– That’s the key! Through his eyes we are really getting the feel of the trail. Become an insider and see it all.

Here are his photos of Pete in Nikolai- Looks like he is happy and the dogs look great.

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Welcome to the Kuskokwim! Pete into Nikolai!


Working for Bering Marine in the summers, Pete spends much of his time on the water, actually we all do. The home waters of the Kuskokwim welcome Pete and the Team today as he makes his way into Nikolai. The Kuskokwim River is the second longest river in Alaska and people living around it use it for everything. Transportation, fishing, hunting, and berry picking– The “Kusko” is the main lifeline to our way of life in Rural Alaska.

Pete made real good time across the burn and I expect a break for the Team and then a push straight into Takotna and his 24 hour layover. Watching the Insider Videos shows cool temperatures and excellent mushing weather.

Weather Cam is showing sunny skies which means that the low from the coast isn’t affecting them. It will warm a bit, but I would expect cool temperatures comparatively. Downriver in Aniak, Richie Diehl’s hometown it was almost 40 degrees this morning.

Good Going Mr. Kaiser!!

Tuesday into Takotna?


Farewell Burn

Farewell Burn Trail

Good Morning Race Fans! All the speculation yesterday about Martin Buser’s amazing run into Rohn has fallen by the wayside as so many stories do in an Iditarod Race. As he finishes his 24 hour layover, it is still on the minds of mushers who now have moved past him and are on the way to Nikolai. He will be able to remain on the trail as they take their layover, but will the performance of his team hold up after the long run will be the question. After he gets going we will be able to see.

During the first days of the race it is very hard to judge what position a team holds due to everyone being so close together and on different rest cycles. Pete and the Team are now positioned nicely with several Teams near the front of the pack. Tracker shows Pete with a group of about 6  mushers including King, Berkowitz, and Jonrowe, that are about 5 places back from the Leader presently, Aaron Burmeister.

The trail today includes moving across the “Burn”, a stretch of burned out trees an tundra that often has little snow, towards Nikolai, on the Kuskokwim River. From Nikolai to Takotna, which Pete mentioned as a possibility for his 24 hour layover, the trail is a traditional, well used, transportation trail that local folks use with snowmachines to get from their village to McGrath, the hub for the area. It may be a faster trail and will definitely be more well packed.

Temperatures have cooled somewhat from yesterday. Hopefully a coastal storm that has Bethel and Aniak in the 40’s and rain will stay to the southwest and keep it cool.

Currently in Nikolai:

Today’s Mushing Weather Forecast:

515 AM AKST TUE MAR 5 2013


What a Night! Pete Resting 20 Miles out of Rohn

Mike Sr. into Rainy Pass – From

The Team Kaiser Support crew is back in Bethel! Whew! Halfway to Bethel, the Jet turned around with a “Navigation” issue, and we went back to Anchorage. After an hour or so we reboarded the plane, weary and tired, but anxious to get back to Kaiser Headquarters.

While all this was happening, Pete and the Team made it through the Alaska Range and the Rohn checkpoint and are headed to a spot that many of the mushers like to rest before the run through the burn to Nikolai. From the Tracker it looks like it is mile 188 or 189. Ron was telling me that the place (Little Egypt) has become a favorite of mushers as they leave the Alaska range. A rest here will shorten the run over the Farewell Burn into Nikolai and make for more equal runs between stops as they move forward into McGrath or Takotna for 24 hour layovers.

It’s good to get back to my Racing Chair so I can put up the updates and the mountain of photos I have to share.

The talk of the day has been the Buser run into Rohn this morning. No one really knows how this will work out or IF it will work for the former Iditarod Champion. He is still saying put, so I figure at this point he must be taking his 24 hour layover in Rohn. It is the only thing that makes sense after 15 hours in the Checkpoint.

Race Weather for this evening is still warm, but the night will temperatures a bit.

Delta Force Report-

Mike Williams Sr. –  Rohn Resting – IN 23:37 DOGS- 15
Mike Williams Jr. – Rohn Resting – IN 23:20 DOGS- 15
Richie Diehl – Out of Rainy Pass after a 5 hour break – OUT- 12:10am DOGS- 15
Pete Kaiser- Rest 20 miles past Rohn – DOGS 15


Out of Rainy into the Pass

Pete and the Team left Rainy Pass after a 4 hour break on the trail to Rohn. By taking a break during the heat of the day, they will be running at dusk through the Dalzell Gorge. They won’t have the visibility, but will get the advantage of cooler temperatures. Many mushers are now leaving Rainy with probably the same idea.


Pete Kaiser- Out of Rainy Pass 16:46 Dogs 15 – Dropped 1 at Finger Lake
Mike Sr.- Resting Rainy Pass
Mike Jr. – Resting Rainy Pass
Richie Diehl – Out of Finger Lake 15:15 Dogs 15 (Drop 1 Finger Lake)

Forecast for the next period isn’t too optimistic Dog Mushing wise with warm temperatures predicted. Here are Weather Cam images of Puntilla Looking North and Rohn Looking East.

414 PM AKST MON MAR 4 2013 .

Rainy Pass - 5:30pm - Monday

Rainy Pass – 5:30pm – Monday

Rohn - Looking to East - 5:30pm - Monday

Rohn – Looking to East – 5:30pm – Monday


Monday Noon Update – Scattered throughout the Alaska Range

In what will easily be the story of the beginning of the Race, Martin Buser pushed through to Rohn this morning with little rest or break. Speculation from the trail is that he may take his 24 hour layover in Rohn. This is quite early for the 24, but we will see how it plays out.

Meanwhile Pete and the Team are cruising along easily towards the Rainy Pass checkpoint. We have seen leaders duke it out at the front many times and play their cards a bit too early. A steady pace at this point in the race will undoubtedly pay dividends as the race moves towards the coast.

The Delta Force is scattered along the trail inside the Alaska Range.

Richie and his Team arrived into Finger Lake at 10:34 with a conservative run that will allow the team to rest before heading towards Rainy.

Mike Jr. is leading the Delta Force bunch at this time and arrived into Rainy Pass at 11:25 this morning.

Mike Sr. is just behind him and should be into Rainy any time.

The Williams teams are on a different rest cycle than Pete, so I expect them to rest in Rainy, where Pete will more than likely snack his dogs and move on through. Mike and Mike Jr. pushed to Skwentna and rested last night, while Pete rested earlier. That puts Pete in a run period where the Williams will be in a rest period.

When it is early in the race like this, positions really don’t come into play as much as they will later on when teams begin to spread out further. Inexperience teams may burst out front but not have the stamina further on.

In any case, several different strategies are playing out on the trail today making for real excitement for those of us glued to the tracker.  Stay tuned!! Remember to check the Standings Page for the latest updates!

Back on the Trail to Puntilla

After watching Pete for several years, one thing you have to know is if he is anything, he is methodical. Stick to the game plan seems to be his unspoken mantra. After a 3 hr 30 minute break in Finger Lake, the Team is headed off to Puntilla. Weather is still warm, but luckily it’s not sunny so it will stay a bit cooler than if they were running in the sun.

Given the breaks he has taken so far, I anticipate he running through Puntilla (30 miles) and into Rohn (48 miles) for a 78 mile run. I’d bet he would take a break there before moving through the Farewell Burn to Nikolai and the Kuskokwim.

What this means is a tough day of mushing for Team Kaiser. They will head into the Alaska Range into the valley’s of the Rainy Pass area and Puntilla lake. From there it will be the tricky Dalzell Gorge that has taken it’s toll through the years on Musher, Sled, and Teams. Warm weather won’t make it easy if there is any overflow on the trail, but Pete and the Team have been on this kind of trail before, so it’s going to be work, but very doable.

This section of the Trail is probably the most magnificent in terms of all that you read about Alaska– Mountains, Trees, and possibly wildlife to include even Bison as they head to Nikolai. Have a great day Mr. Kaiser!

Puntilla Weathercam 9:30am Monday

Puntilla Weathercam 9:30am Monday