The Galena Dog Yard had become a very busy place today by the time the sun was setting this evening. Aliy Zirkle and Mitch Seavey worked slowly and methodically to prepare their teams for a ride over the frozen river to Nulato. They both rested here at the checkpoint for a time, and helped themselves to the hospitality of the Galena residents. Mitch commented on how much dehydration is an issue on the trail and had several helpings of Tang. Aliy was kind, but quietly focused as she awoke from her 8 hour rest on a cot in the community center. She and Mitch sat together and visited for a while with Iditarod Air Force pilot Joe Pendergrass and relaxed.
Aliy left the dog yard first, and I heard her happily talking to her dogs as she headed down the trail.
Mitch took his time to change out dog booties and pet every single dog before heading to his sled to hit the trail. His dogs were perfectly quiet until the very second he prepared to leave. They instinctively started howling for the trail, much to the delight of us all!
I filmed Mitch as he headed out towards Nulato to catch up to Aliy…and then to Brent.
During the day and early evening, the Galena children help out by cleaning up the straw and drop bags left behind as mushers leave. Their school teachers and parents helped by pulling the sleds and giving some direction to the organized chaos.
Meanwhile, Dallas Seavey continued his preparations to leave. He was very focused as he ate and quickly moved about between resting on a cot at the checkpoint, signing autographs, eating, and prepping his sled with new runners. He was gracious to everyone who wanted a moment of his time before heading out.