” Have you seen my drag mat out there?” Hugh asked Aliy. ” Man that turn at the bottom of Tin Creek, I almost got swallowed in that deep hole, ” explained Mike Williams Jr. According to Sonny Lindner, who looked amazingly chipper and also totally unscathed by the trail, this trail was the worst he had seen it in all of his years running the Iditarod. ” I have seen this trail bad, but not as continuously and for this long.” Sonny is driving a normal sled. No seat, no caboose. And that sure comes in very handy in difficult conditions like this. How on earth Nick Petit got his freight train through all of that stuff is beyond my imagination. The guy must be a heck of a sled driver. To this point the only musher who seems to be dinged up a bit more than just bruises is Aarom Burmeister who has dislocated his knee, yet he is determined to keep on going. ” I just ran these dogs on their neckline in here and I could still keep up with Jeff King.” A musher’s mind in full race mode is very powerful.
While Martin Buser is taking his full 24 hrs here, his team is parked off to the side in a quiet spot of the yard, others like Hugh Neff do not even go into the sleeping area. When I pointed it out to him, he said that he only wanted to nap for 20 minutes. I guess he is on a mission.
Here a few shots from around Nikolai this morning. The hospitality in this town is second to none. It is nice to be here. Although I have not run dogs and taken the iron dogs for 3 years now, I immediately get asked where my dog team is…. it’s coming I keep on saying…. they are young, but in a few years you never know.