It’s 9.45 Sunday morning.


The Red Team pulled through Kaltag at around 9am this morning. They made the run from Koyukuk in six hours, 48 minutes hours stopping in Nulato only long enough for Aliy to grab her “to go” bag of supplies and get back on the trail.

Aliy then spent 20 minutes in Kaltag packing her sled ready for a camping trip along the portage trail. The standings show the Red Team as being in sixth place as they left but they will be stopping soon and teams behind them will pass. We will be seeing lots of leap frogging now as the run/rest schedules of the teams are so different and out of synch.

Now that the trail is back on a “normal” route we can follow along with Don Bowers Jnr’s trail notes to give you an idea about what to look out for on the trail. the quick overview of the trail between Kaltag and Unalakleet says “This leg follows the ancient Kaltag portage, a relatively straight valley angling southwest through the coastal mountains; the route has been used for millennia by Natives. It is normally a well-used snowmachine highway. It marks the major transition from the inland river environment to the Bering Sea coast. Conditions can be vastly different at opposite ends of the portage, and wind is a constant threat on the western half.

Here’s a video Aliy took last year when the team camped between Kaltag and Unalakleet. This will give you an idea of the views they will enjoy as they mush through the area later today. Last year the conditions at this point were also pretty warm as you will see the dogs were perfectly content to lay in the snow with their coats on.


Allen has broken the run from Huslia to Koyukuk into roughly half and camped on the trail for about six hours. They only just hit the trail again and shot out from their camp spot at 9.6 miles per hour. They will be enjoying the sunrise on the run into the next checkpoint.

14 Responses

  • Thanks so much for this post!!!

    Leap-frogging the way to UNK – only looking forward!!!


    Go Red Team on your portage, and enjoy a rest in the sun if that is what the weather gods present!!!



  • YAHOO… Aliy said….she is in the hunt! SO nice to see her motoring down the trail now! Darn intestinal bug took its toll, but they are back in action!! Go Aliy and the Red Team! Nothing like a strong finish to the race with happy and HEALTHY SPK dogs!

    Hope Kodiak feels better soon….cant wait till he and the dropped "four legged loved one" from Allens Team gets in the hands of the SPK Crew for some much deserved TLC!

  • Wishing Aliy and her wonderful pups a fast and safe passage!
    Wishing Allen and his enthusiastic youngsters a fun experience!

  • I think of this clip all the time, and lovely Schmoe, taking care of things. You are doing an awesome job, every one of you.

  • Yeah, Aliy you are certainly in the hunt. Keep mushing on with a song in your heart and a smile on your lips! At least your team will have run the 1000 miles unlike some of the others. And at least your sled is in being with the spirit of the race. Go Aliy and Red team.

  • I love Schmoe's Woof at the end. He was definitely taking care of Aliy and the rest of the team. The leap frogging has begun. Aliy just stopped a few minutes ago and Jessie is right behind her and going to pass soon. Yes, this is when the race really comes alive and becomes intense. Go SPK Red & Black.

  • The newest Run Dogs Run video on the ID website is.really good. Aliy and team are in it a couple of times. Fun to pause it to see each dog a little better. The music is great and I think fits where they all are at this point in the race….very determined and making their way through to the next checkpoint.

  • Here is a link to a very interesting article "Deja Vu?" in today's ADN (actually from a day or two ago):

    On the subject of sleds and carrying dogs:

    "…A big question is what does Marrs, who is leading the two fastest teams in Iditarod history, have left in the tank versus the Seavey Train. Mitch and Dallas have both been carrying one to four dogs the entire race."

    The article goes on to claim that some feel that Iditarod dogs
    "that only ran 800 miles of the trail" are face to face with a team having run the full 1000.

    An excellent way to compare and contrast.

    I wonder if some of the expired dogs over the past years fell victim to a race speed set by leaders in the front who had an advantage. Perhaps the Iditarod should rename itself as the second longest sled dog race because the Quest wouldn't work for this type of approach???

  • Margaret,

    I have mulled this over a lot the last few days. If I think back over the records of expired dogs, they don't seem to be concentrated on toward the end (at least in the years I have watched the race). So, I am not sure speed at the end was the issue.

    But, I do see this:

    1) Not everyone, can afford to make specialized cargo carrier out of their sled. If the sled is actually helping them win, then it is an economic disadvantage.
    2) The idea was to preserve the Alaska Husky, a working dog. Carrying dogs will encourage sprinters, not those bred for endurance.
    3) I am not convinced it is humane to stuff dogs in these little carriers with such regularity. I always saw it as a necessity when a dog was injured or truly needed rest. That is probably not sensible, since the truck cargo is also small, but I feel claustrophobic every time I think about it
    4) Winning "appears" to be everything in this race. There is not much about being out in the wilds with your team and how wonderful that is. The Seavey rotation emphasizes that to me. I find myself appreciating the YQ and the people who run it. I would hate to see that race go the same way in terms of technology and strategy.
    5) It has become dang boring watching the Seaveys win each year. If the technology they use is contributing to their wins, then I would say stop. It is like knowing that the Patriots will always be in the AFC play offs … yawn.

  • If the Iditarod does not stop this carrying 2-4 dogs instead of having all the dogs on the line running they will continue to lose fans. I thought this year without the trailers the Seaveys would have to have their dogs run 1000 miles, but lo'an'behold we build a new sled that contains boxes to put the dogs being carried. What a travesty the Iditarod is becoming. What ever happened to a dog team & musher covering the entire 1000 miles!

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