Waking this morning brought news that Jeff and all 14 dogs are resting in Takotna! Overnight they ran through McGrath, stopping for only two minutes before heading back out and arriving in Takotna at 06:01. For those that were awake that early (here in Alaska, that was not me!) you may have been able to see Jeff arrive via the live video feed from the Iditarod Insider!
Takotna is a favorite stop for mushers that are taking their 24 hour rest. They are a small town that offers a big welcome to teams, and is actually a big place for Norwegian tourists to travel to during the race. They are also known for great food and lots of pie! For some mushers the comfort of Takotna outweighs the busyness of the checkpoint, while others prefer the quieter locations of Ophir or Iditarod for their 24. Current weather and trail conditions are similar to what was happening last year on this same section of trail. The Insider reports that about 5 inches of fresh snow have fallen since 19:00 yesterday, and it continues to come down. In 2018 Jeff headed out from Ophir (just 23 miles further down the trail from where he is now in Takotna) heading towards Iditarod for his 24 hour mandatory rest, and got bogged down in the snow. This year his bags were packed for a 24 hour here in Takotna. Jeff will have a total layover time of 25 hours here as all teams make up their differential on their 24 hour layover. Jeff’s earliest out time is Thursday (tomorrow) at 07:00.
While Jeff is off doing what he does best, the crew here at the Homestead have been busy unpacking from our time in Anchorage, and returning to the normalcy of running teams and caring for those that are watching the race here with us – including Zig and Barnum, which so many of you have asked about! Here’s some more photos from our time in Anchorage – enjoy!