It’s been a tough night on the Iditarod. As dawn approached on March 10, more than half the sled dog teams in this year’s race were on the section of trail between Rohn and Nikolai. Those 26 teams, including Yukon-Kuskokwim mushers Pete Kaiser and Richie Diehl, have made it through some of the more challenging sections of trail. That includes the infamous Dalzell Gorge, a place that has flipped many a musher’s sled in the past. Of the teams though the Alaska Range this morning, 13 are resting, some in the Farewell Burn.
But this morning, Aniak's Diehl was out in front and breaking trail with Nikolai a little less that 30 miles away. Three other teams had followed him past Bethel’s Kaiser who, along with Lance Mackey, was continuing to take his rest on the trail. Further back at the Rohn checkpoint, Jessica Klejka was also resting. She and about half of the remaining teams in the race still are working their way through the Alaska Range. Though she is most of the way through, Klejka still has the Dalzell Gorge ahead of her.
When mushers make it into Nikolai, most of the tough, technical sections of the Iditarod trail are behind them. But that is not to say that there won’t be challenges ahead as they travel to Nome.