Wednesday, 27 June 2001

June 27, 2001 Iditarod to Shageluk

Things looked better as soon as we got into the checkpoint. Many of the other mushers had similar problems coming into Iditarod (misery loves company)! The checkers pointed out an inviting looking tent on the river. Inside 1973 Iditarod Champ, Dick Wilmarth was cooking for the mushers. After getting my dogs all looked after I drifted over for a 'moose-dog' (as opposed to a hot dog) and a couple glasses of milk! What a treat! I was disappointed that I wasn't going to be around for fresh baked apple pie in the morning. What a privilege it was to get to meet Dick! Who is not only kind and personably, but darn good looking! Sleeping accommodations for the mushers was a tent on the river. There was a small stove in there and a good thick layer of straw on the ground. It wasn't the Regal Alaska, but I slept so soundly, it might have been. I really had trouble convincing myself to get out of that sleeping bag! Luckily, I had to make a visit to the outhouse or I might still be there!

Leaving Iditarod the trail climbs and climbs and then climbs alittle more. It had begun snowing pretty good and soon was a full blown storm. We came to a large, fairly open area and the trail VANISHED!! I put Grover and Camilla in lead and they did a real good job staying on what, I hoped, was the trail. We came to one spot where they got alittle confused, I couldn't find any trail markers to help them out, so I went up front and walked ahead of them. After a bit, I came across Pedro from Argentina. His team had entirely shut down and was curled up in little balls with snow drifted all over them. Pedro seemed to want me to stay there with him. I was adamant this was not a good camping spot and we needed to get moving. My leaders didn't seem any keener on heading across this open blow. Clint Warnke came along and had the same problems. Finally Pedro put on his 'platters' (took me a while to understand this was his translation of 'snowshoes') and put in 20 or 30 feet of trail. Camilla was now up front with Gus and they took off down the trail now that they had something to follow. There was no hesitation when they hit the unbroken stuff and they did a fine job of leading. Clint soon straightened out his problems and was on my tail with his faster team. He took over leading and his amazing leader, Skoal, broke the trail the rest of the way into Shageluk.

My dogs did amazing, keeping up with the likes of Clint, Elizabeth Manning, Pedro, Danny Seavey, and Dave Tresino's teams. I took an extra snack break about 5 miles out of the checkpoint and came in shortly after the rest.

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