North Wapiti Iditarod 2000 Journal
Takotna to Ophir
They tell me that they used to give an award each year for the best
Iditarod checkpoint, but word is Takotna used to win every single year so they
eventually just did away with the award. I can sure see why they would be perennial
winners the entire town bends over backwards for the mushers. The hospitality is
terrific and the food second to none. I can see why so many mushers take their 24-hour
break here. After some food, I settled down in the library to try and catch a quick nap,
but I was having trouble falling asleep. I looked at my watch to see if Mark would be in
McGrath by now. The thought was no sooner out
of my mind when the door to the building opened and in walked Mark and Jamies
handler, Lori. WOW what a terrific surprise. I was so happy to see them. I
dont think I realized just how much I missed my husband until I saw him. I asked if
Spud and Smiley were safely home. He said they were and that neither was showing any signs
of lameness anymore. We chatted away about the dogs, the trail, and lots more until we
just couldnt stretch the visit anymore. Mark and Loris pilot had to get going
and I had a race to get back to.
After they left, I was hanging around the checkpoint for a few more
minutes, digesting the wonderful feed of Alaskan King Crab legs that was offered to the
mushers when someone mentioned that there was shower facilities available here. I was
humming and hawing over that idea when musher Bob Hempstead piped up and said I should
shower. He said he had and he felt great. That was all the push I needed. An hour later,
showered, dried, stuffed with good food, and in high spirits we rolled out of Takotna.
The dogs left strong. Like I had hoped, the short run from McGrath
and a rest here picked up their spirits too.
The trail into Ophir is basically an old mining road easy
sledding, except every now and then, on the inside of tight turns it would drop
dangerously over the bank. One second I was
whistling along the trail, the next I was tumbling down an embankment. The sled took about
3 rolls before stopping. I quickly shook myself off and tried to walk up the hill, but it
was too steep and the snow kept collapsing under my foot. It took some major determination
and work to eventually get the sled and myself back on the trail thank goodness for
my long snub line and my team that knows stand/stay very well!
It turns out that I had messed up my leg on the tumble. Its
throbbing kept me awake for the rest of the journey into Ophir.
Click on the paws above to follow the team back to our main page...