Author: Kelly Villar (54 posts)


All is Quiet in Takotna

Tails from the Trail The last mushers have come and gone in Takotna, so what happens next? Clean up and closing a checkpoint.  We spent the afternoon checking drop bags.  Drop bags are sent by the mushers to each checkpoint along the trail. Mushers pack these bags about a month before the start of the …

Pie, Pie, and More Pie, I’m in Takotna!!

Tails from the Trail  Next stop Takotna! It was a beautifully clear day, so the flight was spectacular. We even got an overhead view of several mushers heading into McGrath. Takotna is a smaller village, population 51, located on the Takotna River. This village has been known by many different names in its history, Berry …

Dog of the Month- Orchid!

Tails from the Trail Today we hear from Cindy Gallea about her special dog Orchid.  Cindy is not mushing this year however she has run in 15 Iditarods. Her first Iditarod was in 1998 finishing in 48th place with a time of 14 days 0 hours 48 minutes and 36 seconds.    “Orchid joined my …

Keeping Busy in Nikolai

Tails from the Trail   Nikolai was busy and quite chilly this morning.  It was -30 degrees and the sun was shining brightly across the clear blue sky when the first musher, Richie Diehl, arrived in Nikolai.  It was energizing and wonderful to see many in the village come to cheer him on as he …

Welcome to Nikolai!

Tails from the Trail After a beautiful flight over the Alaskan Range, getting spectacular views of Mount Denali, I have landed in Nikolai.  Nikolai is the first of many native villages along the Iditarod Trail. With a population of about 125 people and is located along the South Fork Kuskokwim River.  This is not the …

And They’re Off….

Tails from the Trail Snow was falling, the temperature was perfect, and the sounds of dogs barking and howling filled the air. The stage was set for the Re-Start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and it doesn’t get much better than this!  The talk of the morning was the snow.  The incredible amount …

Ceremonial Start

Tails from the Trail Today was the Ceremonial Start of the 2020 Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. I arrived in downtown several hours before the start and was able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the musher’s preparing.  Trucks, equipment, and dogs lined 4th Avenue and many of the side streets. I walked along listening …

The final D….

Tails from the Trail- IDITAROD! D is for Determination According to Sanka W. Dog, determination is “A strong will or desire to complete or accomplish a task.” Determination can be seen in so many parts of the Iditarod.  The dogs, for example, are determined to run.  You can see the passion and excitement in their eyes as …

Mushers Banquet

Tails from the Trail Tonight was the mushers meet and greet and banquet.  It was an exciting night for both the mushers and their fans.  The first hour was a meet and greet where fans were able to meet all the mushers and have them sign autographs and take pictures with them.  I was able …

Vet Checks

Tails from the Trail Vet Checks Today was vet check day.   The health of every dog in the Iditarod is of utmost importance.  There are over 40 licensed veterinarians that volunteer their time to ensure the safety and care of the Iditarod dogs.  The veterinarians were working hard to assure every dog was prepared and …