North Wapiti Iditarod 2000 Journal
Nulato to Kaltag - Kaltag to Unalakleet
Obviously, my improved state of mind rubbed off on the dogs. They had a mere moment of
hesitation going out of Nulato and back onto the river, but after that, the trip was
smooth and quick!
I was in a great mood at Kaltag, my problems of the previous day seemed well behind me.
Trish Kolegar, Melanie Gould and myself had decided to run together to
Unalakleet. We decided on breaking the 90-mile leg into three sections, stopping at the
Tripod Flats cabin, 30 miles or so out of Kaltag, and again at the famous Old Woman Cabin,
a further 30 miles down the trail. This nice easy run/rest schedule should really pick up
the dogs moods!Leaving Kaltag was tough sledding. The trail was one mogul after
another. The constant pounding was agony on my tired back and Im sure no picnic for
the dogs either! The moguls ended and a long stretch of side hills took their place. About
the time our frustration levels peaked, the trail broke into the rolling Caribou Hills.
Some years mushers are lucky enough to encounter caribou along this stretch of
trail. There were none this year, but I did see a really neat antler shed under one of the
trail marking tripods. I loved this section, it was pretty and interesting country. The
hills were big enough to keep up our interest in what was over the next one, but not too
The dogs seemed to enjoy themselves too and rolled along at a good steady pace! Just
before Tripod Flats I passed Melanie. When we pulled into the cabin it was occupied by two
snowmachiners that had passed us earlier in the day. They said that Trish had decided not
to take a break at there and had continued on to Old Woman. Melanie and I opted to stick
with our game plan and fed the dogs and took a 4-hour break there. A warm cabin and nice
company made the time pass quickly! The snowmachiners told us that Old Woman wasnt
the 30 miles away that we thought it was, it was actually closer then that. Melanie and I
discussed not stopping there and going straight into Unalakleet, but when we arrived at
the cabin early in the morning and found a bunch of teams parked there and a equal number
of snoring mushers inside the toasty cabin, the temptation was too great! A few solid
hours sleep felt great! The dogs obviously thought so too, even though they had had plenty
of rest in the last 24 hours, they didnt want to leave. Lynda Plettner gave me a
hand getting them straightened out and back on the trail. True to form, once they got
going, they traveled well.
A few miles outside of Unalakleet, a snowmachine with two people drove by. The
passenger yelled out that she was my friend, Barbara Dog Drop Schaffer, and
wanted to welcome me to Unalakleet!X
What a nice welcome! The dogs came in strong and happy. The vets and many race
volunteers commented on how good they were looking. I was delighted! They did look good
and we were to the Coast Nome was just a hop, skip, and a jump away!!
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