John Baker is 19 miles ahead of the nearest competitor and 48 miles from the Bering Sea. 12 teams have checked into Kaltag with 5 out and on the trail to Unalakleet. Ten teams are on the trail from Eagle Island to Kaltag.
The Kaiser Team is presently in 16th place with a plethora of fine mushers just ahead. They left the Eagle Island Checkpoint after a 6 hour rest just after 4 pm. (And the webmaster was out galavanting in the warm spring day!)
Pete and Ken Anderson, who have been traveling together are just behind Rick Swenson and Mike Williams Jr. They are about 25 miles from the Kaltag checkpoint.
Kaltag Weather: Clear – 7 Degrees – Wind Calm. (Beautiful night for mushing again!!)
John Baker just reached Kaltag. Ramey Smith has broken away to second place and is about 11 miles behind. The second group behind John had been following between 15-18 miles behind, but Ramey broke away from that pack. It is going to be all about strategy from here on out. The musher can’t skimp on rest, but can’t give up too much either. John has about a 90 minute lead on Ramey, so he can rest a bit, but can’t go to sleep on this one!!
Pete and the team are into the Eagle Island checkpoint at about 10:00am. Anticipate a 4 plus hour break. Mushers are taking 4 and 6 hour breaks here before the second half of the run.
Pete is just off the end of the Island and he should almost be able to see the checkpoint soon. GPS shows him just a couple of miles from the checkpoint. Take a break, get a bit of rest, and then back out into the afternoon which is shaping up to be real nice!
Looks like Pete had to stop for a moment, but he is again moving nicely. This stretch is one of the toughest. Until the team gets to Kaltag it is in a word- Brutal. Long-Boring-Slow-Windy. But if you are going to do it, this is the weather to do it in. At the rate we are going, this Iditarod might go down in history for the one that DIDN’T have any storms or weather issues! As soon as I hear from Team Kaiser Central, I’ll get you the photos and story from Shageluk.
Good Morning Race Fans!
The news of the morning is Kotzebue Musher and Local Favorite John Baker who has broken from the pack and is leading the race to Kaltag with a nice 18 mile lead. He was into the Eagle Island checkpoint first as well with Hugh Neff hot on his heels. After a 4 hour break he took to the trail, but Neff stayed another 2 hours. Sebastian Schnuelle and Ramey Smith were into Eagle Island about 2 hours behind Baker and they also took 4 hours breaks and went back on trail, so I don’t think Baker was shorting rest for the team. There is a long way to go, but Bush Alaska is energized with one of the “Bush Crew” in the Lead.
Pete and the Team are doing nicely on their way to Eagle Island. He was into the Grayling Checkpoint last night at 22:43 and after a 4 hour break he was back on the trail after having dropped one of the team. He is now running with 12 dogs.
GPS Position has him about 16 miles downriver from Eagle Island. It had him moving and then stopped, but now hasn’t updated for quite awhile. I’ll keep you posted when I find out!
Mushers say that being on this section of trail is like falling off the edge of the earth. If you wanted total peace and quiet this would be the place to go provided you could hold up against the wind and severely cold temperatures. Don reports one musher saying, “It’s like you’ve gone to the edge of the planet, fallen off and discovered that the Place Down Below really has frozen over.” To add to the loneliness, the wolf packs howl all night to welcome and bid farewell to their domestic cousins.
Sebastian Schnuelle’s Description of this leg–
It is long and often boring. This stretch has absolutely no terrain – nothing but wide-open river and bend after bend, island after island, bluff after bluff. The west bank is always the high bank, with ridges sometimes rising more than 1,500 feet within a few miles of the river (which is less than a hundred feet above sea level). The east bank is low and wooded, punctuated by sloughs and creeks and islands. The trail stays mostly close to the west bank, but can run anywhere on the river depending on conditions.
Sorry Folks! Parent Duty Called. My son was in the school play.
So back to work– Pete was into Anvik at 20:09 with 13 dogs. He left directly at 2-:12 with 13 dogs. Presently GPS shows him 11 miles from Grayling. Weather conditions are clear and cold, and they are going directly into the wind, but it could be far worse!!
LOWER YUKON VALLEY-
INCLUDING...MARSHALL...RUSSIAN MISSION...HOLY CROSS...GRAYLING...
309 PM AKST FRI MAR 11 2011
.TONIGHT...CLEAR. LOWS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE. NORTHEAST WINDS
10 TO 15 MPH.
.SATURDAY...SUNNY. HIGHS 15 TO 25 ABOVE. NORTHEAST WINDS
10 TO 15 MPH.
.SATURDAY NIGHT...MOSTLY CLEAR. LOWS ZERO TO 10 ABOVE.
NORTHEAST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH.