Still Hanging in Nikolai

It’s morning here in Nikolai.  It’s pretty quite now. We are expecting about nine more teams through here.  We have twelve dogs who have been dropped here, so this morning I got to help load up a few to go to the airport.  There is only one dog who has a sore leg, the rest were dropped for “attitude” reasons.  Maybe they were tired, or cranky, or just didn’t feel like running any more.  They are being kept behind the checkpoint, and a few had special blankets provided by school kids from around the country!  I got a few pictures, but they may have to wait – it takes a REALLY – long time to load those here!  To transport the dogs to the airport, we had to check their paper work and make sure who was going.  Each dog travels with paperwork from the vets as a way for the vets on the receiving end to know what is happening with the dogs.  Once we got word that a plane was on the way, we took the dogs being transported for walks so that they would empty their bladder in the checkpoint and not in the sled or the plane!  We got into a sled pulled by a snowmachine and held on tight to the side and the dog!  The dogs were taken to the airport where  a plane from the Iditarod Airforce was waiting for them.  They get snapped into the back of the plane and they usually just curl up and go to sleep!

Newton Marshall arrived last night and as always has a huge smile on his face this morning!  He mushes in jeans!  He has snow pants over top of them, but he has jeans on!  He was just explaining that he doesn’t like the big white bunny boots that some mushers wear because he wants the boots to be warm when he puts his feet in them – and the bunny boots never are. We have hard that he had some excitement on the trail and came upon Scott Janssen on the trail who had broken  his leg.  Newton helped Scott get to a safety cabin so he could get help.  Another example of mushers helping each other on the trail.

Monica Zappa made it in safely!  She looks fantastic!  Her sled is in one piece, her dogs look super and she is really relieved to be here. She said the trail was a nightmare and when she camped last night she kept having flashbacks of the trail.  She is super proud of herself for making it here – as she should be!  She is planning to drop a dog here as she has one who just doesn’t seem right.  She carried him in her sled for the last three miles or so.

Here’s a little math problem for you.  Yesterday I told you that Nathan Schroeder was planning to stay in Nikolai for six hours. He really ended up staying about five and a half.  After he did all his chores, had some food for himself, and hung his clothes out to dry – he was able to sleep for 45 minutes.  What percentage of his “rest” time did he actually rest?  He says the dogs rested for about four hours.  But can you really call it a five and half hour rest if you only rest for forty-five minutes!?!  As he was packing up to leave he was wondering about just how tired he was going to get.  The answer: really, really tired.

Waiting for a plane out to see where I’m heading next!