This year's recap is in PICTURES. I've included anecdotes from the trail in the captions.
|Due to low snow conditions in the Alaska Range, the race was rerouted to Fairbanks. ADN map.
|Sled packed, conferring about something with my super awesome handler girls, Sarah & Franzi. Probably complaining about no coffee. I think I was a little bit of a diva on restart day.
|In the start chute with Mom.
|One of the few wide open spots on the fun, twisty trail from Nenana to Manley.
|Sunny but not warm.
|We would invariably pop out of the wall of
trees into a scene like this: beautiful trail
through the birch trees, not that far
outside of Manley.
|It was fun to run the dogs into a literal
wall of trees & trust there was
actually a trail there.
|Snack break on the way to Manley. Vader & Ruby in lead. Our run to Manley from the frozen campspot was nice & sunny. The dogs were happy. We arrived mid afternoon. My friend Pete the trail sweep was there -- always good to see him. We left after a 7 hour rest with half a mind to take a break on the alleged 66 mile run to Tanana. However, I reckoned it was probably not quite 66 miles, plus the temperature plummeted as the night wore on. The dogs were looking good and I knew they would get better quality rest in the cold in a checkpoint with a full bale of straw and running water easily on hand for hydration. So we kept going. We traveled along sloughs and swamps. We mushed through some COLD spots -- I saw Tim Hunt camping in the coldest spot. I could feel the cold permeating through my parka -- which has kept me perfectly warm in -50 F before. "Poor sucker," I thought. Little did I know, other mushers would think exactly the same of ME, later on in the race!
|Beautiful river landscape. I really dug the river. The run from Tanana to Ruby was one of my very favorite parts of the 2015 Iditarod.
|First afternoon on the Yukon River.
|Snack break. Siblings Ripp & Ruby in lead, Vader & Pete in swing.
|Probably the biggest section of "jumble ice" we encountered on the Yukon this year.
|Following slowly curving river bends in the late afternoon sun.
|Yeah Day Two on the Iditarod trail!
|Nope! Lost count already! Day Three !!
|Guess who's holding the snack bag.
|Sun setting on our first day on the Yukon. We would camp for 8 hours that evening (accidentally, overslept again) and then run through the night into a mild windstorm.
|We were treated to a beautiful pastel sunrise on the Yukon River, signaling a beautiful sunny day ahead.
|The Yukon River world awakening to pink sunbeams ! It was a chilly morning and the dogs frosted up.
|Day Four on the Iditarod trail !
|Morning sun lights up hoarfrost on the trees.
|Dogs snoozing in the sun on our second river
camp. We rested here for four hours.
|Gorgeous day. Where the trail was not blown in,
it was pretty nice !
|Beautiful camp site on the Yukon River, ~40 miles upriver from Ruby.
|Late afternoon sun lighting up the trail to Ruby. Rick Casillo ahead.
|Ruby! How neat to come in from the opposite direction this year!
|The team resting in -40F in Galena.