White Mountain

Dear Friends,

Some of you may ask, “Why do teams stop for so long in the White Mountain checkpoint?”  The rules of the Iditarod race require all teams to stop for an 8- hour rest.  This slows everyone down before the final 77 miles to Nome.

What happens there?  A hole in the river ice is kept open for dipping out water that can be heated in cookers.  We dogs are given snacks and fed nutritious, hot meals.  Our musher puts down fresh straw on the snow-covered, iced Fish River, where we curl up and sleep. 

Hole in the ice from which to get water

The Trail Volunteers keep track of the exact time 8 hours is over.  Mushers eat their food, and sometimes trade meals if they are tired of what they brought! Most take a well-deserved rest.  In years past, mushers asked for a wake-up call from a volunteer; a room in the community center was set aside only for mushers who wanted a quiet spot. This year, mushers need to rest in tents set up along the frozen river. 

As they get ready to leave, mushers are given the bibs they wore to start the race. The numbers must be worn into Nome for the finish.  Often, our humans will walk us around a little to get our legs stretched before the final runs to Safety and Nome. 

White Mountain community with teams parked on the river

White Mountain is a beautiful community with a high hill they call White Mountain.  There is a very nice school with a science lab, lockers, basketball team, and cross-country skiing team, just like many schools around the world.  Because people can only reach the community by dog team, boat, snow machine, or plane, they are very excited to see the Iditarod teams come through each year, especially having missed last year (the race was shortened due to Covid).

Thanks for cheering on the teams that are in White Mountain or soon will be today!

Until next time,