Made it to Nenana. The trail is beautiful. Although the closer the mushers are getting to Nenana, the more the wind is picking up. Normally us snowmachiners are not a welcome sight, but in this case, I think specially the front runners must have been have been happy to have a fresh track on the windblown trail.
Martin was out front, looking very solid, I think it was Thomas Waerner next, and behind that Jessie Royer. Her dogs sure like wind. One thing noticeable, was all mushers were in a real good mood. High Fiving, generally smiling. Lots of snow and a great trail might have something to do with that. Last year there was a lot more of a tense mood in the air.
When I passed Aliy Zirkle, she yelled over “ These are great conditions, it is perfect !” that pretty much sums it up. While mushers had to leave the starting line with all of their dogs, may of the “ trailer “ musher had stopped and loaded a few dogs. There was quite a few 14 dog teams out there and the smallest I counted was 12 dogs for Ken Anderson and Kelly Maixner.
I think we have to call Jeff King, Mitch King this year. I was very surprised to see him run a gangine mix of Seavey style spreader bars, with the continuous nylon rope main gangline. His wheel dogs were attached directly to the front of his sled, in straight tuglines. When Jeff hooked up his energetic dogs, one of the spreader bars snapped off. Carrie Skinner ( his office manager ).and me could not help put to joke about this experiment.
Martin has just pulled into the checkpoint, he is going to park for a short while. His official time is 15.04 with 16 dogs. Check out the insider video of him arriving
Enjoy the shots from the trail