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. 

Richie Diehl arriving in Nikolai

It was energizing and wonderful to see many in the village come to cheer him on as he came into the checkpoint.  Visiting in the Top of the Kuskowin School, the kids geared up and made it to the riverside checkpoint before Richie arrived.  Being the first to Nikolai Richie was awarded a pair of beaver mitts made by an elder in the village, Oline Petruska, as well as a wool blanket. Several children presented Richie with these beautiful gifts.

Richie Diehl
Photo Credits: Terrie Hanke


As of this evening 34 mushers have checked into Nikolai.  Many more are expected in the overnight.

A Tribute to Perseverance

Which musher is from Jamaica? Newton Marshall!  Newton career started in 2005.  After completing the Yukon Quest in placing in 13th, Newton had his eyes set on the Iditarod. In 2010 Newton finished in 47th place with a time of 12 days 4 hours 27 minutes and 28 seconds. He completed his second Iditarod in 2014 in 43rd position with a time of 12 days 1 hour 5 minutes and 52 seconds.


I spent some time at the checkpoint with the trail volunteers that deliver the drop bags and heet to the mushers.  As we were talking I learned about all the math that goes into setting up the checkpoint.

  1. There were 24 boxes of heet in Nikolai.  Each box contained 10 bottles. How many bottles of heet are there in all?
  2. If there are 240 bottles of heet and 57 mushers, how many bottles of heet does each musher get? Are there any left over? If so how many?
  3. There are 57 mushers.  If each musher sent 2 drop bags to Nikolai, how many drops bags are there in Nikolai?