The run from Ophir to Iditarod took longer than we planned, and we’re quite sure it took longer than Jeff planned – but the team has now arrived and we can breath a deep sigh of relief and lay off the tracker for a bit! We had the live feed up from Iditarod and were hoping to see the Boss and team arrive, but no luck -boo. We are crossing our fingers for some kind of video… or perhaps even some photos of Jeff and the team while they are here. We do like to see them in motion, though!
Jeff will be declaring his 24 here in Iditarod, and will need to make up his start differential – that means he will need to stay a total of 24 hours and 56 minutes before he can hit the trail again and head for Shageluk – another 55 miles down the trail.
If you were watching the tracker throughout the night and into the morning hours, you were probably wondering what Jeff was up to. In fact, we KNOW some of you were because you messaged us! We were wondering what the weather was going to do and how that would affect the trail and traveling speeds. Joar Leifseth Ulsom made it in to the Iditarod checkpoint around 20:28 last night, so this morning when we woke up we were able to see the videos posted of him traveling through the weather & wind, as well as video of him arriving. He commented that it was blowing pretty bad and that the trail was starting to drift… that didn’t bode well for teams following behind him. Hearing those comments we presumed that Jeff was probably hunkering down in a small cabin along the trail that is often used as a stopping point for teams between Ophir and Iditarod. He ended up staying there for about eight hours, and by that time “reinforcements” had arrived and a small group began traveling towards Iditarod.
Coming down the trail are a number of mushers that have already completed their mandatory 24 hour layovers, many of which will arrive and depart before Jeff gets to. We hope that Jeff gets some quality sleep, and that the dogs get another rest and some good meals in their bellies.
Barnum update: Barnum was the dog dropped back in Ophir and our friend Maren is working the dog drop hub back in McGrath, so she messaged us to let us know that it was indeed him. At 80+ pounds he was having a hard time with the deeper snow conditions, so Jeff thought it better to leave him behind. Maren knows Barnum, so she gave him some extra pats for us and said he’s doing really good – eating and drinking well. He is a low priority dog as far as getting him flown out goes, so he will not be flown back to Anchorage right away but will come when there is room. We’ll keep you posted on him as best we can.
In other news…. the temps were a balmy 26° today here at the Homestead, with overcast skies. Virgil was busy today splitting and stacking firewood, the crew took the puppies out for a walk, Cody is rounding up kennels and getting things packed to head to Nome… and what else – oh! We followed the tracker!
We’ll have more for you later, Race Fans!!