North Wapiti Siberian
March 9, 2001
Sorry to leave you guys hanging for so long, but late Wednesday night Karen phoned with a changed of plans. She had originally planned to 24 in Takotna but the Burn took a little bit more out of Surge (the youngest dog on the team) than Karen would have like to have seen, and he stopped eating. So Karen decided to 24 in McGrath.
I drove in to Anchorage early Thursday morning and managed to get a seat on the only plane that goes to McGrath, but they said that I couldnít return until Saturday. I took a chance and bought a ticket, I knew that I could kill an extra day in a town of 500 with 3 bars. After I saw Karen off this morning I went to the airport and put my name on the standby list for the only plane that leaves McGrath, and I got on. Because McGrath has a big airport (for Alaska) it was easy for me to go visit her. McGrath having this big airport is also why you see all the back of the pack mushers scratch there, because itís cheaper to fly the dogs home.
Anyway Karen is doing GREAT, she has a bit of a cough, and because Art Church scratched with Pneumonia Karen got hauled into the McGrath medical clinic to get checked out. The nurse told Karen not to continue, but the Vets said that she was okay to go. You already know who she listened to...
Once Surge finally decided to start eating again Karenís biggest concern was her headlights. It seems that her batch of batteries is bad and only lasts an hour instead of the 8 their supposed too. Once she figured this out it was only a matter of going around and borrowing or buying new batteries off of other mushers.
While Iím at the checkpoint I cannot offer Karen any assistance or even touch a dog. I was carefully watched the whole time that I was there. Karen would have to make several trips from her sled to the checkpoint building carrying heavy bags while I walked beside her carrying nothing. The worst part was that when I gave Karen a kiss goodbye I thought that they were going to make me kiss all of the mushers goodbye!
When I got home I had over 100 emails waiting for me with tons of questions. The number one question was, "Who did Karen Drop?" Karen dropped Oreo. Oreo had some back problems and also some other sores, so she now gets a plane ride home.
The sleds that get shipped to McGrath are done the week before the race and are usually sent to McGrath or Unalakleet because of their airports. Iditarod rules say that you can have two spare sleds on the trail.
My Mom did not sew our booties, we ordered 1500 before the start of the race even though we donít use that many. My Mom did sew all of our dogs Jackets though.
They ď+Ē sign you see beside names on the updates means that it is a new entry. Updates for the back of the back are always slow.
Chester is doing great, he lead the team out of McGrath this morning. If you look close I think that you can see half his face in the start picture.
Thatís it for now...I have to save some for tomorrow J.Mark