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 Iditarod. Within these bags there is dog food, human food, extra booties, extra human socks and gloves, and anything else a musher thinks he or she may need.  Sometimes you will even find new runners for the sleds and cushions to sleep on.

After the mushers have left a checkpoint part, of the closing process is to go through the bags left behind to find the return bags that are inside.  Volunteers will fill the return bags with the musher’s belongings and nonperishable foods, and ship them back to Iditarod Headquarter’s. Perishable foods are left for the village, as well as any extra straw.  


Meanwhile down the trail… Jessie Royer was first to arrive in Ruby at 6:37 Friday morning.  In doing so she won The Lakefront Anchorage First Musher to the Yukon Award.  This award consists of a five course meal prepared by Roberto Sidro, the Executive Chef at The Lakefront.  Her meal was:

  • Lobster bisque served with rosemary crostini
  • Blackened spot prawns, roasted pear and aged gorgonzola tossed in an arugula salad with sherry vinaigrette
  • Seared, marinated duck breast wrapped in bacon and drizzled with orange glaze served on a bed of lightly sautéed bok choy
  • Espresso-rubbed, bone-in, ribeye steak with bourbon sauce, seared and flambeed, paired with roasted, mashed celery root and sautéed baby carrots
  • Homemade wild berry cheesecake garnished with chocolate-dipped strawberries

Jesse also receives $3,500 in cash. 


Have your students imagine they were Jessie Royer, and write an opinion piece.  You have just finished 495 miles on the Iditarod Trail, more than half way to Nome.  Jessie received both the meal and the money, but imagine that you could only choose one.  If you were given the choice of the five-course meal or the $3,500, which one would you choose and why?