White Mountain is a checkpoint where mushers and their teams are required to take a mandatory 8 hour rest. This gets the teams prepared for the final 77 mile push toward Nome!
Teams park and the dogs rest on the frozen Fish River that runs alongside the village. A hole is chopped in the ice and mushers can dip out water to heat and make a warm meal for their dogs. Yum! Hot water, salmon, meat, and kibble soup!
There’s quite a steep hill from the river up to the community center. Mushers trudge up the hill to cook a hot meal and sleep in a room reserved just for mushers.
At this point, the check-in volunteers will write down the time the musher arrives and then count 8 hours ahead for when they are allowed to leave. You may have noticed that the times on the Race Standings are all done in military time. That takes a little bit of thinking to figure out the time on a regular clock, but just subtract 12 from any time past 12:00 noon. That will give you the afternoon time. Remember to figure in the Alaskan Standard Time Zone to know the time in your time zone. Mushers can even ask the volunteers for a “wake-up call” to help them get up in time to get their dogs ready to leave. We dogs are good at wake-up calls, but we are resting outside.
Something else that happens in White Mountain is mushers pick up their bibs again, as they are required to be wearing their numbers as they come into Nome. It’s best not to carry the bib along the trail as it could be lost, so volunteers have all the bibs ready 77 miles before Nome.
Things will be getting busy in White Mountain! Keep watching Race Standings!
Until next time, this is your canine reporter,