We arrived back in Willow late Wednesday night and have spent the days since gathering and packing three months worth of accumulated junk.
Harnesses, drop bag stuff, clothing, dog food.. First priority was getting back my dog sleds and our suitcases that didn't quite make the flight from Nome to Anchorage with us. Unlike the past years, that went fairly well and by Friday afternoon most of my checkpoint return bags, our bags, and my two sleds were reunited with us.
Mark busily sorted and muttered under his breath at me for the weird stuff I found it necessary to send home from the checkpoints (once frozen orange segments - now rotten, vacuum sealed meals that I would never eat, tons of junk food..etc)
I worked packing up the bedroom. Removing inspirational cards and posters that filled the room, collecting souvenirs and race memorabilia, washing and sorting heavy duty winter clothing that probably won't be used for another 9 months or so, returning borrowed items like guns, etc.
It is also a time for us to say our goodbyes to friends. The Norris family, Jamie West and Harry Banks, Janet Mattos, Carol Nash and John Linnehan, friends that are as special as any we have at home in Alberta although we only visit with them for a few months out of the year.
This afternoon we had lunch with my Iditarod traveling partner, Doug Grillot and his wife Krista. It was a lovely time and it was hard to say goodbye, knowing it will be next January or later before we have a chance to do it again. Friendships forged on the trail are especially special ones.
But still, as I mentioned in my last post - eagerness to get home is still the most overwhelming emotion and has been since crossing over the finish line on the 19th.
Tomorrow morning, if Mark has his way - at 8am, we hit the road for Perryvale. I'll probably spend the drive planning for the trip up next year.
I'll 'talk' to you all next from Perryvale!