After 6 hours of rest, Sean left Unalakleet at 5:06 am with a belly full of pizza and 13 happy, healthy dogs and is now making his way up the coast of the Norton Sound toward Shaktoolik.  Earlier this week, we posted the news that Shaktoolik no longer wanted to deal with the risk of bringing COVID-19 to their village with all of the race officials and volunteers from around the world visiting. The village council made the decision that they no longer wanted to be an official checkpoint, but that they would make musher’s drop bags full of supplies available at “Old Shaktoolik,” a gathering of abandoned buildings just outside of town.

When Shaktoolik residents heard that mushers would only have access to limited supplies, the village came together in an amazing way to create a safe, welcoming atmosphere for mushers.  Residents removed snow from one of the structures, covered the windows with insulation, set up a portable woodstove, a generator, and set up some cots to make a nice resting place for the mushers.  Another resident plowed a large lot so dog teams would have a good place to sleep.  A hole was also chopped in the river ice to provide access to fresh water.  THANK YOU SHAKTOOLIK!  We sincerely appreciate your hard work and the care you put into providing a good place where teams can rest in peace.

Read more here.

After being in Shaktoolik, Sean will take off across the sea ice towards Koyuk.

The team made it into an Iditarod article last night, “Evening Update from Unalakleet.”  Sebastian Schnuelle said, “When Sean offered his dogs bowls of clear water, they were eagerly drinking it.  Back in the day when I was racing, I could never get my dogs to do that without baiting the water with meat.  His dogs looked very perky coming into the checkpoint and Sean still had a big grin on his face.  He is having a heck of a rookie run.”

Bonus Photos

When going through our photos from the Iditarod Start line, I noticed Butch and Swenson looking fantastic and/or adorable together in the background of more than just a few.  So of course I zoomed in, cropped everything else out, and picked my 3 favorite to share here.  Enjoy!

Other Race News

Thomas Waerner made it into White Mountain at 5:35 this morning.  There is a final 8-hour mandatory layover in White Mountain for all mushers, then it’s off to the finish line!  Mitch Seavey is due in White Mountain around 11:30 am, with Jessie Royer not far behind him.