Monday March 15th 1115A AKDT
Trent and all 11 dogs that checked in to Shaktoolik last night at bout 0200A ASDST left to cross the Norton Sound and head for Koyuk at 1006A. They left in 49th place. Below is a picture of a musher crossing the Norton Sound. Winds can be 40 mph, temperatures can be -30F, and snowdrifts and ice can be huge.
Fortunately, today looks like the best day possible for crossing the Norton Sound between Shaktoolik and Koyuk!
In 2015, mushers were holed up in Shaktoolik for as long as 30 hours at a time waiting for weather to break. Trent was running a team of yearling puppies that year and was at the very back of the pack. When he, Lachlan Clarke and Cindy Gallea decided they would go in the storm it was with some trepidation. The trail markers are regularly spaced and easy to see in clear weather. In a blinding storm, you can't see the next one, and there is no real path made by sleds on wind-blown ice. At one point, the three mushers had lost the direction. Visibility was evidently about 10 feet. Trent said he agreed to walk out 5 minutes, and then walk a circle arc until he was able to to find a trail marker; then walk back directly to the center of the circle to find the other 2 and the dog teams. Sounds good on a piece of paper, I don't quite know how he made that work on the ice but he did. They were able to head back out to the trail marker Trent had found and make it to Koyuk.
I was at the finish in Nome that year. Lachlan, Cindy, and Trent all met at the end. They hugged and cried. Lachlan told me Trent had got them out of a pretty desperate situation.