A Galena Welcome for Aliy

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Aliy and her team mush on in to Galena first!

 

I arrived courtesy of the Iditarod Air Force at the remote Galena checkpoint yesterday with a slight snow storm heading in.  We arrived at the checkpoint where I was greeted by the dedicated Iditarod communications or “comms” volunteers, Kathy Cappa and Meredith Mapes. 

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Meredith checks the GPS and Sebastian Schnuelle uploads pictures of Aliy

 

These ladies are passionate about  providing the best hospitality for the Iditarod mushers, and they had set up an amazing buffet with the help of the generous Galena population.

We waited anxiously today, watching the GPS tracker, as Aliy and Brent traveled here nearly side-by-side on the Yukon until Aliy pulled ahead and arrived about 30 minutes ahead of him.  The local Galena population was waiting on the river to cheer her on.

I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and Aliy’s team had a mind of their own as they jumped the snow barrier and headed to the checkpoint:

She headed in and stopped as Kathy Cappa checked her in and a dog handler volunteer led her to her place.  Straw and drop bags were put on a hand-pulled sled and brought down to Aliy as the vets started their dog check.  The local children descended the hill to see all the action.

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Children come out to cheer on the first musher to Galena!

 

Meanwhile, inside the checkpoint, the volunteers and Galena residents were busy waiting and preparing for the next musher, Brent Sass.  The checkpoint has come alive!