Checkpoint #6: Trent and the team in and out of Huslia

Sunday March 12 245 ADST (changed to daylights savings time last night)

Trent and team pulled in to Huslia checkpoint (mile 478) yesterday this morning at 1206A, just after midnight.  They rested in Huslia for 7 hours and hit the trail again at 0800AM (accounting for hour lost with daylight savings time).  The team checked in to Huslia with 12 dogs, checked out with 12 dogs.  They left in 50th place among the 71 teams who started the race.  

They are about 40 miles along the trail to Koyukuk and resting.   Suspect they will rest 5-6 hours, then move the final 46 miles to the checkpoint at mile 564 by early hours AM.  

The race is getting really interesting at the head of the pack with Wade Mars, Dallas Seavy, Nic Petit, Mitch Seavy and Joar Ulsom all in a big bunch running to be the first to Unalakleet (mile 718) and the Bering Sea Cost.   

Race map below for reference.  


Trent and team check out of Galena

Saturday March 11, 415P AKST

Sorry for radio silence.  Trent and team pulled in to Galena checkpoint yesterday, Friday morning at about 8AM.  I thought he was going to take some rest and then head up to Huslia for his 24 hour mandatory rest as that was his pre-race preference.  It must have been the right call to give the dogs a full rest as Trent took his 24 mandatory in Galena and let at 807A AKST today.  Galena is at race mile 396.  Trent and team left Galena in 54th place out of 71 mushers who started the race.  Trent checked in to Galena with 14 dogs and checked out with 12 dogs. 

Trent is about halfway on the 80 mile trail up to checkpoint #6 at Huslia.  They stopped for rest a few hours ago and I would expect them to hit Huslia around midnight.  

Trent was mentioned in an interesting article in Alaska Dispatch News on muhsers bringing important things on the trail with them... link below.

Again, trail map below


Checkpoint #5: Trent and the team in to Galena (corrected)

[I think original post has too hi-res photos in it]

Friday March 10 830A AKST

The team just came off the Yukon River to the checkpoint at Galena at mile 396 on the trail.  Arrival time was 745A AKST.  The team took an 8-1/2 hour rest in Ruby before making the 50 mile trip over to Galena in 6 hrs 38 minutes at average speed of 7.5 mph.  The team checked in to Galena with 14 dogs and in 46th place.   Looks like Mary and Anna were the 2 dogs left back in Tanana to take a first class air trip back to Anchorage.  There are 3 teams behind who did their 24 hour in Ruby so Trent is probably closer to 50th on the trail but doing great.   

Galena is an old native fishing village on the Yukon.  During WWII, a large runway was constructed for military forward operations.   The race trail leaves the Yukon at Galena for an 80 mile journey through the Koyukuk Wilderness to the the village of Huslia and will return back to the Yukon at Koyukuk. Huslia is a Athabascan village with less than 300 residents.  It is a trapping and trading village with one of the deepest mushing traditions in Alaska.   The village is only on the Iditarod route when the race starts in Fairbanks.  They really turn on the welcome for the race.  Below are couple of 2015 shots of the community center, the feast the locals provide, and the local Huslia March Madness basketball team.

I know he is very excited about spending some time there.  In 2015, he did his 24 in Ruby with a dog team that had "the bug" and by the time he got to Huslia he didn't have as much time to enjoy the moose stew and hospitality.  

Weather in Huslia is showing as +18F and sunny, which believe it or not is not the best conditions for the dogs to run.   Trent will rest the team and head up to Huslia for his 24 hour mandatory rest.  He'll probably wait for cooler, later part of the afternoon to head off for the initial 40 miles or so, then a camp/rest until after midnight for a 40 mile nighttime run in to Huslia.  

Map below, again, for getting our bearings on geography.


Checkpoint #4: Trent and the team check in to Ruby

Thursday March 9 424P AKST

The team just came off the Yukon River to the checkpoint at Ruby at mile 346 on the trail.  It was a long 119 miles and 23 hrs 14 minutes from Tanana.  The team checked in to Ruby in 54th place.  Most mushers on the Iditarod website who already made that trip were saying that trail was "sugary" soft and the going was slow.  The The weather has been +10F and cloudy this afternoon for the trip.   

An analytics view of Trent's run and rest to date are shown below, comes off GPS tracker.  It looks like Trent ran 8, then rested 7, then ran 8 hours on his 24 hours over from Tanana.  Those are strong, long run times for this team and I'd expect them to need a good rest in Ruby.  

Trent and students made a pair of snowshoes he has been carrying as a gift to two Athabaskan native snowshoe craftsman.  One lives in Ruby, the other lives in the next checkpoint in the village of Huslia.  Last week Trent said he wanted to take his mandatory 24 hour rest in Huslia, but that he might take it Ruby.   He'd wait to see how the dogs were doing.   I'm pretty sure he wants to take it in Huslia.  

Picture of Trent leaving Tanana, for Ruby, yesterday afternoon about this time.  

Dan Martin emailed this picture from the Fairbanks Start today.   

Picture of the route (again it says 2015, but same route)


Trent and team check out of Tanana for long run to Ruby

Wednesday March 8, 600P AKST

Each team has to take an 8 hour rest at one of the checkpoints on the Yukon.  The team took their mandatory 8 hour rest at Tanana, the first checkpoint on the Yukon.  Trent checked out of Tanana at 531P AKST in 54th place.

Here is a picture from Jeff Schultz on the site of Trent coming in to Tanana at sunrise this morning.  Blast and Hornet in the lead.  

Another nice shot off website of Tanana last evening, the Northern Lights dancing away.

Here is the trail map.  It says 2015, but it's the same route.   120 miles to Ruby.  Should break in to two 60 miles runs, with a 6+ hour camp/rest stop in the middle of the night tonight.  Weather in Ruby is looking warmer and cloudy in the next day or two, highs of +10F lows of 0F.

The Great Serum Run

Wednesday March 8 254P AKST

In the Winter of 1925 an epidemic of Diphtheria was raging in Nome, Alaska.  Children were dying daily and the only hope was to get anti-toxin to Nome.  Nome is frozen at sea by the Fall.  Airplanes had just come to Alaska in 1925 and could not fly long distances in the Alaskan interior.  When anti-toxin was sent to Anchorage, the only way to get it to Nome was to send it by train to Nenana and then let postmen who delivered mail by dogsled and native Alaskan men of the interior execute a 700 mile relay to carry the serum to Nome by dogsled.  The journey was made in 5-1/2 days in one of the harshest winters, with temperatures as low as -60F during the run.  Twenty mushers took part in this epic journey.  Grab a copy of "the Cruelest Miles" for an incredible account.   The serum made it to Nome, the epidemic stemmed, and the town essentially saved.

Airplanes and snowmobiles eventually replaced the sled dog team for mail delivery and basic transport in the Alaskan interior.  In the early 70's Joe Reddington and others started the Iditarod to honor the legend and utility of mushing in Alaska history.

Here is the historic route the mushers took back in January 1925, it is very similar to the race trail this year with Fairbanks start.

As Trent is in Tanana at the moment, here are the mushers that relayed the serum from Nenana train station to Tanana.  

Trent and team in to Tanana

Wed March 8 1045A AKST

Trent and team pulled in to Tanana at 757A AKST.  They covered the 66 miles from Manley Springs to Tanana in 14 hrs 23 minutes, resting and camping for about 6 hours 15 mlies past showed -35F temperatures and crystal clear overnight, cold travel that the dogs love. The weather shows clear and -5F for this afternoon so I bet they are sleeping in the sun and will take off about 2 this afternoon.  Trent was in 54th place heading in to Tanana. 

I neglected to post a route map.  Here we are below.  You can see the progress from the Fairbanks start through Nenana, Manley, and on to Tanana.  At the village of Tanana, where Trent just checked in the Tanana River joins the Yukon River and racers will be on the Yukon for 350 miles now until the portage at Kaltag.  The next run to Ruby of 119 miles is the longest distance between checkpoints in the race.  If Trent is able to break it into two 60 miles runs with one 6 hour camp/rest stop halfway, he will be right on race plan.  That is a big challenge though.

We will want to talk some in next post about the Great Serum Race of 1925 to shuttle medicine for a diptheria outbreak in Nome that is the inspiration for today's Iditarod.  That shuttle covered the same route from Fairbanks that the racers are on this year. 


Trent and the team check in and out of Manley Hot Springs..

March 7 554P AKST

The team checked in to Manley at 500P AKST after a 16 hr 40 m, 90 mile run from Nenana and a total of 160 miles thus far.   They camped about half way for what looked to be 7 hours and did the last 35 miles this afternoon in the sun and -5F temps.  Trent stayed about 30 minutes and left Manley at 534P.  All 16 dogs checked in but it appears Trent dropped 2 dogs at Manley and checked out with 14 dogs.  Will try to get more detail on that.  Trent left Manley in 42nd place but that is a little ahead of where he is in the field at the moment as many teams are fully rested and will leave Manley shortly and pass at Trent's next rest.  Expect Trent to go 2 more hours or so, camp for the night and likely start early morning to next checkpoint at Tanana, 66 miles from Manley.

Picture below from Zach Hughes on the trail, of Trent back at Nenana with "hoar frost" beard.

Also, a picture below of perennial winner Dallas Seavy's sled for the race this year. Picture taken in Manley.  The sled is supposedly made of carbon fiber and has 2 dog cargo holds that hold 2 dogs each.  Several mushers are trying out a strategy of resting 4 dogs at a time, running 12, and rotating along the trail to enable longer run cycles.  We are still 'privateers' and running old school!


Trent and the team leave Nenana

March 7 130A AKST

As we guessed, Trent and the team left Nenana just after midnight at 1220A AKST.  All 16 dogs checked in and out.  The team was in 55th place leaving Nenana.  The rest time in Nenana was 5 hrs 28 minutes and the run time to Nenana was 5 hrs 42 minutes.  This sounds very good.  Trent said before the race that he was going to try a 6 hr run, 6 hour rest schedule as long as it worked for the dogs and it appears to have worked just right so far.  

Manley Hot Springs, the next checkpoint, is 90 miles up the trail.  I would expect Trent to run until 630A AKST or so and camp for 6 hours if things are all dialed in for the team.  It will -30F and crystal clear tonight on the river, maybe a perfect night for Northern Lights. 

Below is a picture we just received by email from Penny Gage.  From the Ceremonial Start trail.  Penny is a great sport and supporter of the race.  Thanks for sending this!


Trent and the team in to Nenana in fine form!

March 7 1215AM AKST

Looks like a great start. The team covered the 60 miles from Fairbanks to the first checkpoint at Nenana in 5 hr. 42 minutes, an average speed of 10.53 mph.  They arrived at 652P AKST.  Doesn't matter much at this point but Trent moved up from 67th leaving the starting chute to 51st in to the Nenana checkpoint.  His time from start to the Nenana looked like it was in the top 40 and pretty darn good considering the trail conditions had to be better for the earlier teams.

The team camped for a good meal and some rest.  I would expect Trent to head back out not too long after midnight and certainly expect them to break camp before 200AM AKST.   It was -18F at the start today and shows Nenana temperature as -29F at the moment.  It's going to be a cold trip up the Tanana River for the racers.   I always tease Trent that's an advantage for him.  

Here is a picture our handler Jake Swift (I know, sounds like a Hollywood casting name for a musher) took at the start this morning of Trent, Ayn, and Scott.