What is going on on the Trail?
As I am writing this, Aliy and Allen are both resting at the Chistochina Checkpoint. Chistochina is a Native Village of less than 100 people on the edge of the Wrangel- St. Elias National Park. It is also a cell phone “dead zone”. We haven’t heard from the handlers since they were heading there last night after helping the mushers out of their rest at Glennallen. Bridgett reported that the area from Tolsana to Glennallen had snow recently and the trail had only been “broken out” on Friday. That didn’t give the trail enough time to harden and the teams were “swimming” through deep snow. Allen, who was running in the front position, had the worst spot - “breaking” trail for the rest of the teams. Both he and Aliy decided to stay in Glennallen longer than they had planned to give their dogs a bit more rest.
Both Allen and Aliy were planning on doing an 8 hour rest in Chistochina to prepare the dogs and themselves for heading into the mountains. The trail from Chistochina to Paxson is very mountainous and can be cold and windy. The weather was showing a wind advisory for last night in that area. Luckily, today the weather expected to be better, with only light wind and highs 10 to 20 below. (For more up to date weather, go to http://www.arh.noaa.gov/zonefcst.php?zone=141.) An average run time from Chisto to Paxson, 72 Miles, is 10 to 12 hours, depending on trail conditions. That would put Allen in Paxson around 10pm this evening and Aliy in at about 1 to 2am Monday morning.
Until all of the teams’ rest is taken, the positions on the trail are all relative to rest, not to the mushers actual place in the race. Many mushers only took 4 to 5 hours of rest in Chistochina, but they will need to take that rest at some point on the race.
We are looking forward to hearing from Macgellan with stories from the trail.