Trent pulled in to Shaktoolik at 357PM this afternoon after
a 6 hour 33 minute, 6.11 mph romp over the Blueberry Hills from
Unalakleet. Trent is currently running 66th out of the 78 mushers who started the race.
Shaktoolit, population 251, is a subsistence
maritime village that sits on a spit on the Norton Sound where the
Shaktoolik River terminates. It was
settled as early as 1839 but there is evidence of settled communities in the
immediate area that are 6,000 to 8,000 years old. The town had to be relocated due to erosion
in 1933 and again in 1967. It looks like
a place that will be unlikely to survive the effects of climate change. Temperatures in the winter can regularly get
below -50F. Trent told me it was “an
incredible and godforsaken place at the same time”.
A couple of pix below from when I stopped in Shaktoolit for about an
hour Tuesday, 2 days ago.
On Wednesday, about 20 mushers were holed up there waiting for 24
hours for the weather to clear. They
have since checked out of Shaktoolik, and hopefully Trent is in for an easier
stay. From Shaktoolik the trail makes
the famous 50 mile, over-the-sea ice
crossing of the Norton Sound to Koyuk that Leonhard Seppala took in the great Serum Run to
cut time off the trip to Nome. This can be the most difficult run of the
race. I just now see where two of the mushers (Scott Jansen and Brian Bearss) that were holed up in Shak, had a horrible crossing to Koyuk and had to hit the 'rescue button' on their trackers and scratched.
In the 1925 Great Serum Run to Nome; Myles Gonangnan carried
the the anti-toxin from Unalakleet to Shaktoolik.