On to…. Takotna?

Pete and the Team are out of Nikolai on the trail West. After a 4 hour break in the first village checkpoint of the Kuskokwim, the merry group said ‘bye’ to one of the dogs and headed out just after pal Richie Diehl. Richie was the leader of the race for a short time this year, his first ever as the rabbit.

It is 71 miles to Pete’s traditional 24 hour layover spot in Takotna. I’m thinking that’s where he’s headed to take his long rest and see what happens with this warm weather and the storm to come.

Teams coming into Nikolai related that the trail into Nikolai was soft and many weren’t in a hurry to lead and have to break trail. After 14 Teams in front of Pete, hopefully the trail is packed down a bit to make it a bit easier. Cooler temperatures this evening should help as well.

Current weather shows overcast skies, temperatures in the upper 20’s and light snow. There is a winter storm warning for Wednesday and part of Thursday, so I am thinking Teams are going to try to bed down to stay out of it and return to the trail at the end of it.

Mushing forecast for tonight:

This Afternoon
Snow. Areas of freezing fog. High near 30. South wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Tonight
Snow, mainly before 4am. Areas of freezing fog. Low around 22. South wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Pies await! Go Team Kaiser!!

Into Nikolai in 15th

Just in time for lunch, Pete and the Team of 15 rolled into the Kuskokwim River checkpoint of Nikolai at 12:26 this afternoon. As you can see in the video, the Team looked amazing! Barking, lunging at the gangline– They were ready to Go, Go, Go! The mark of a true leader and coach, though, Pete is going to take a break and hold them back for a bit.

A few Teams have rolled right through Nikolai, and several are on the trail after a 4 hour or so break.

Weather is still as it was this morning– Snowy and warm.

I’m not looking to see too long of a break right now, and Pete is seeing truly what is happening, but looking at the Team’s energy, I’d say he is trying to keep them healthy and happy knowing that the farther west they go, the warmer and messier it’s going to be. We’ve seen jack rabbits fail after a fast early race and Pete’s main concern is the Team and making it all the way to Nome.

Just take a look at this beautiful Team! Go Team Kaiser!!

Resting on the Tundra

Good Morning Race Fans! Welcome to Day 3 of the 2018 Iditarod!

After a break in Rohn, Pete and the Team returned to the trail at 12:15am this morning with 15 dogs in harness. Weather is a bit warm and maybe a little wet with light snow and temperatures in the upper 20’s as predicted.

After a 5 hour run Pete and the Team are now resting at mile 232. The were joined by Aaron Burmeister and his Team just a bit after 5:30am.

The run from Rohn to Nikolai is about 80 miles. Different strategies are playing out as some Teams are going to make the run in one long run, while others have broken it up into two runs. Many Teams stop at “Little Egypt” just before heading out into the flats, but with calm winds, a break a bit up the trail, as Pete has done, is another place Teams will stop.

After a break this morning, look for Pete to make the 30 mile run into Nikolai just after lunch.

Basically we are seeing three different strategies this morning–

  1. Non stop run – Rohn to Nikolai
  2. 30/50 – 30 mile run to Little Egypt – 50 mile run to Nikolai
  3. 50/30 – 50 mile run to tundra break – 30 mile run to Nikolai

Teams are seeing warm temperatures and possibly a fragile soft trail, so being conservative can be a pretty good thing.

Currently in Nikolai – 23 degrees Calm Wind Overcast Skies Flurries in the area.

Weather forecast for today-

Today: Snow. Areas of freezing fog. High near 29. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tonight: Snow. Areas of freezing fog. Low around 21. South wind around 5 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

 

 

 

Trail Report to Nikolai

Little Egypt

From Iditarod Trail Committee(Bruce Lee)-

After visiting with the mushers in Finger Lake this morning Greg Heister and myself( Bruce Lee) flew the trail from Finger Lake to Niklolai. The trail looked wind packed for the most part up in Rainy Pass itself, so that should make for great traveling conditions for the teams that are now making their way to Rohn. The challenging run down gorge into Rohn had good snow cover and the ice on the creekbed looked better than average so we shouldn’t see too many musher coming in Rohn check point with wet feet.

Leaving Rohn heading towards Nikolai the snow cover grew thinner but it was the best snow cover we’ve see in that area for years which will delight the musher to travel over. Every thing changed about 20 miles north of Rohn around Egypt Mountain, a major landmark for mushers along the Iditarod trail, which marks the end of the run through the mountains.

At that point we hit snow storms which we flew through on our way to the village of Nikolai. Here it has snow several inches of fresh snow and I would expect the travel speeds to here in Nikolai to be slowed as they hit this fresh few inches of snow. Forecast are for more small snow storms moving through this areas for the next couple of days according to the pilots flying the trail.

Locals from here also tell me that the trail down river to McGrath is good in the forested areas of the trail but soft and punchy in the open swamps and river areas of the trail. For those that have never traveled the Iditarod trail, a fair percentage of the trail to McGrath is in these open areas and along the river.

From the Sideline – John Riley Cheers on Team Kaiser

Mushing in Rural Alaska has deep roots and competitive mushing goes back a very long way as well. Sprint Mushing legend John Riley has been mushing for many years in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and has been supporting Team Kaiser since Ron did a little sprint mushing in the early days. This year, John has been sidelined with a medical issue, but was at the Ceremonial Start to cheer on Pete and the Team as they raced by. Both Pete and Ron were thrilled to see him and his family able to make it to cheer on Team Kaiser. We wish John well and hope he gets back to the trail as soon as possible!

Go Team Riley!!

Into Rohn – Out of the Alaska Range

Pete and the Team were into Rohn and out of the Alaska Range just after 8 this evening. At 8:16, Pete and the Team of 15 arrived in 9th position looking forward to reaching the Kuskokwim and the village of Nikolai early tomorrow. Weather is concerning to Teams this evening as a spring storm bears down on the race. The snow that Teams have been seeing may well turn to rain. This will be unwelcome news to mushers and our own Pete Kaiser who has fought training in warm temperatures all winter.

By the time we wake up for coffee tomorrow, Mr. Kaiser will be sipping on his own cup of Kuskokwim Coffee in the Nikolai School Checkpoint.

Go Team Kaiser!

Trail Description From Iditarod:

There are some truly bad spots on this stretch, mostly within the first 20 miles. Expect a total of 10 to 15 hours for this leg; you’ll want to rest the dogs for several hours somewhere, or else take a lot of shorter breaks.

This run breaks into three natural sections: 20 miles along the south side of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim from Rohn to Farewell Lakes and up onto the Farewell Burn, 35 miles across the Burn itself to Sullivan Creek, and then 20 miles north from Sullivan Creek past Salmon River to Nikolai.

Mushing Weather-

Nikolai- 28 Degrees – Calm Winds – Light Snow – Overcast Skies

Tonight: A 50 percent chance of snow. Cloudy, with a low around 18. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph.

Tuesday: Snow likely before 9am, then snow likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain between 9am and 3pm, then snow after 3pm. Areas of freezing fog after 9am. High near 29. Southeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

Resting at Rainy

Rainy Pass Checkpoint 2010

In the “heat” of the day, sometimes it’s good to rest. We are used to sleeping at night and working in the day, but mushers and dogs that are working hard moving up the trail generally like it cool, sometimes even cold.

Pete and the Team were 9th into the Alaska Range Checkpoint of Rainy Pass at 12:15pm, just in time for lunch at the lodge.

A storm is still looking like it is going to rear its head this evening, so stay tuned for tails from the trail!