My friends and I have been watching the GPS tracker and Race Standings the past couple of days. Why aren’t all the mushers moving? It’s not required to stay another 24 hours!! Today we have some proof of what’s going on. They were being safe.
Yesterday was the official first day of spring, and it seems like the ice along the coast of Alaska is going along with the season! Overflow is water that seeps up from under the ice when the ice and snow is really heavy. It’s like pushing a flat toy down in a bathtub and water comes up. These photos show musher Jessica Klejka carefully guiding her team around some overflow near Nome. (Jessica Klejka reached the finish yesterday at 4:25 pm AKST.)
The dogs train for this kind of thing, but it adds a huge challenge for the musher. Some of the veteran dogs just plow through. Younger dogs sometimes must be coaxed ahead with the musher leading them.
Back to Elim, where mushers stayed for over 24 hours. Apparently, the ice in Golovin Bay decided to partially thaw for spring and was unsafe. Trail breakers, volunteers who ride snow machines to pack down and mark out the trail for mushers, had to reroute the trail onto land. See the screen shot below. The mushers are together, resting, after leaving Elim hours ago. Notice the blue line in the righthand corner? That is the official trail. Now, the trail is on land. Will this add more time to their runs? What about the other water areas? Will mushers need to finish mostly on land runs?
We want the teams to come into Nome safely. Those of us watching far away on computers have no idea of the conditions the mushers are dealing with. Keep watching and cheering them on!
Until next time, this is your canine reporter,
P.S. Thanks to photographer Albert Marquez for some amazing photos!