Although we are not competing in this year's Iditarod, our lives are fully intertwined with race logistics, as well as watching in suspense as our friends work their way up the trail toward Nome. Kristin spent Saturday through Wednesday in Skwentna volunteering as a Skwentna Sweetie at the checkpoint (cleaning, cooking, waking up mushers, helping with drop dogs, etc). Starting Saturday, the Delia's cabin in Skwentna begins to fill up in anticipation of the mushers arrival: Darlings (river crew from the lower 48, vets, Iditarod Comms, media, etc). Mushers arrive between about 9 pm Sunday night and 6 am Monday morning. After cleaning and prepping the checkpoint for next year, everyone is gone by Tuesday at noon (unless they get snowed in like we did this year). Volunteering at a checkpoint definitely gives a glimpse into how much is involved in putting on a race like this.
While down on the river in Skwentna, Kristin enjoys the opportunity to quietly watch as the mushers pass through the checkpoint, some of them stopping to eat, care for their dogs and rest, while others grab what they need from their drop bags and continue on. As mushers anticipated a rough, icy trail with little snow this year, it was interesting to see the adaptations many mushers had made to their sleds.
Markus heads to Nome tomorrow to help Ralph Johannessen with his dogs after he finishes.