Along the Trail

Virtual Trail Journey – Cripple (Northern Route)

  On the even years, the race will take the northern route to Nome. When the drivers and teams reach Ophir, they’ll take a right and head north to Cripple. The distance from Ophir to Cripple is 59 miles. The total distance from Ophir to Kaltag, where the two trails rejoin on the northern route …

Tanana and Iditarod 2015

by Martha Dobson Edgar Nollner and Josephine Roberts. Father and daughter. Volunteers working in Tanana were thrilled to meet Josephine, now 93, who was a 3 year old when her father, Edgar, ran one of the relay legs of the 1925 Serum Run to deliver diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, combating the epidemic there. The first …

Eye on the Trail – Remembering Joe Delia, an Iditarod Legend

by Terrie Hanke Iditarod has many legendary figures. Most have stood on sled runners and coached dog teams from Fourth Avenue in Anchorage to Front Street in Nome. Joe Delia has never run a dog team in the Last Great Race but his contributions to the race were instrumental in the establishment and success of …

Eye on the Trail: Catching Up

How ironic is it that you can be right in the middle of all the Iditarod action but not know what’s happening along the trail? I’ve worked as a communications specialist at Skwentna Checkpoint for eight years and the same has been true for all eight years. The race runs through the checkpoint sitting below …

Eye on the Trail – Red Lantern out of McGrath by Terrie Hanke

Cindy Abbott parked her dog team yesterday at a quarter to eight in the morning. She intended to stay for a short rest then head to Takotna for her long layover. As her planned departure grew closer Cindy re-evaluated and decided to stay in McGrath. There could have been many factors that played into changing …

Virtual Trail Journey – Iditarod

BOO again! Another ghostly greeting from ghost town and checkpoint, Iditarod. Have you ever wondered where the word or name Iditarod came from? I’ve heard 3 explanations so I’ll share them with you. First, Iditarod was a word used by Athabascans that meant FAR DISTANT PLACE. Second, Iditarod was a word used by other Native …

Virtual Trail Journey – Shageluk

It’s been many miles since the mushers and their teams have come to a populated place. Unlike Ophir and Iditarod, Shageluk is populated with people and not ghosts! Handler didn’t actually visit Shageluk as the 2006 Teacher on the Trail because ’06 was an even year so the teams followed the northern route. It wasn’t …

Virtual Trail Journey – Anvik

Leaving Shageluk and mushing on toward Anvik, the teams will have fewer miles to go than they have covered.  No one would be so bold as to say that it’s downhill to Nome from Shageluk because the Yukon River and the Bering Sea Coast present many challenges for the mushers and dogs.  Anvik (AN-vik) is …

Virtual Trail Journey – Grayling

Upon reaching Grayling, mushers and dogs have covered 18 miles of the 148 mile leg of the Iditarod Trail that runs up the frozen Yukon River.  The village to village snowmachine trail is easy to follow but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy run.  The Yukon River is famous for its blustery conditions.  The winds …

Virtual Trail Journey – Eagle Island

When teams reach Eagle Island, they have covered about half of the miles they will be traveling on the Yukon River.  In his Trail Notes, Don Bowers, Jr. calls this section of trail that runs upstream and into the wind on the Yukon long and boring.  He says, “There is nothing but wide-open river and …