The run to Ruby saw fair skies with little snow. While the temperatures dipped to 42 below zero in the valleys and ten below on the hills, the mushers had generally good weather. Blinding snow storms are the scourge of every dog musher. Ali Zircle headed down the trail out of the village of Ruby while Mike Seavy, Dallas Seavy, John Baker and Aaron Burmeister arrived at the Yukon River village. With four mushers hard on her trail Ali’s dogs are running well.
With a blanket of snow and nine below zero in Ruby, Alaska the terrain is putting pressure on the dogs and mushers. As I describe in my new book “Justice at Forty Below” running dogs through heavy snow is an exhausting ordeal. It is still anyone’s race to win. The top seven standings are Jim Lanier, Trent Herbst, Mitch Seavey, Aliy Zircle, Dallas Seavey, Jeff King and John Baker. Jim Lanier and Trent Herbst have not completed their mandatory 24 hour rest. With their mandatory rest completed the next five mushers are in good shape. Strategy is a big part of winning. What if a blinding snow storm comes in and grounds all the mushers to a halt for twenty-four hours? That would give Jim and Trent a big advantage. They would get their mandatory rest time in while the front runners made little or no progress on the trail. If decent weather persists, Jim and Trent will be left behind as they take the mandatory rest.
Five mushers pulled into Takotna with Aliy Zircle in the lead, closely followed by John Baker, Mitch Seavey, Jeff King and Dallas Seavey. There is a mandatory 24 hour layover in Takotna. The weather is a balmy 10 degrees with a 9 mile an hour wind. The northern lights lit up the sky as race fans and villagers greeted the leaders.
After the reports of deep snow on the first 150 miles of the Iditarod trail, the mushers were surprised to find excellent mushing conditions. The Alaska skies cleared, there were stars and bright moonlight and the temperature at Finger Lake checkpoint was 15 degrees below 0 Fahrenheit as the mushers arrived, reported Bruce Lee. The temperature is now 12 degrees in Skwentna with cloudy skies. Aliy Zirkle, 1989 Idiarod champion, is in the lead heading into Nikolai with John Baker, 2010 Idiarod champion, 22 minutes behind her. Lance Mackey, Kelly Griffin, and Jeff King are close behind. With many more days and hundreds of miles to go it is anyone’s race to win.
Eleven mushers have left the Finger Lake checkpoint. John Baker is running in seventh place. With over 900 miles to go it is anyone’s race to win. So far the weather has been frigid but decent. With highes in the teens and lows around 20 below zero the dogs are in their glory. The racers are just settling into their strategies to cover as much ground as quickly as they can. When will the weather turn brutle with a good old fashioned Alaskan blizzard? Only time will tell.
I have finally joined the modern world and have a Facebook page. I am hoping this will help my readers and friends keep informed about my adventures, the farm and my writing. Hard to believe that an old woodsman like myself, who is most comfortable in the wilds, is now on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/jacklsinger
The greatest race on earth is set to begin tomorrow. This grueling dog sled race beats a path from Anchorage to Nome through some of the toughest terrain in the world. The mushers will face blinding snow storms and freezing temperatures. Forty below zero is not uncommon during this tough race. Hats off to John Baker, winner of last years race. He is the first Inupiat Eskimo to win the Iditarod. John lives and trains in Kotzebue, Alaska north of the artic circle. A minus 40 degree day with 30 miles an hour winds is a normal December training day for John. Good luck John!
We had a good old fashioned snow storm the last few days. The dogs loved it! I could hardly get them to concentrate on the task of pulling a sled. All they wanted to do was to roll in the snow. Check out my new book “Justice at Forty Below” and see how harrowing and life threatening a dog sled ride can be at 40 degrees below zero!
We have been boiling sap night and day making maple syrup. Neighbors, family and friends have been stopping by to make sure I do not fall asleep on the job. Everyone gets a snow cone treat. Fresh snow drizzled with pure maple syrup right from the evaporator! Native people boiled sap in birch bark containers to make a sweet liquid drink. Imagine how tricky it was not to set the birch bark container on fire!
You can get my newest book Justice at Forty Below from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and my publisher Dog Ear Publishing.
Barnes & Noble
NOOK ebook: $7.99
Kindle ebook: $7.99
Dog Ear Publishing