The excitement grew as each musher got closer to Nome. Sadly my kids still do not understand snow. We had hoped to take them this year but there did not seem to be much of a winter here or nearby...maybe next year.
The race started with 66 mushers in Anchorage. At midway 8 mushers had to scratch either for their own health or that of their dogs. The weather was brutal averaging 23* to -25 and lower with the wind chill. There was also a great concern for moose, as they are known to attack or hold their ground on the trail. (The trail is easier to walk on the the powdered snow.) Dogs can loose life with a single kick from the moose.
Both of our mushers worked hard and yet 220 from Nome Josh's mushers had to scratch due to concern for his dogs. Two days before scratching we had noticed his team slowing down. Josh was sad but here is his report:
Shelby became hopeful that she would win in spite of the fact that she was 35th in position. Tuesday evening march 13th came -- 9day, 4 hours and 29 minutes after leaving the starting line the first musher crossed the finish line in Nome. He was a rookie (first time to run the Iditarod), but from a long line of past mushers and he also claimed the youngest to win. Shelby was not too happy but allowed us to talk about good sportsmanship.
The kids had fun and we watched until the last musher crossed the finish line: Monday, March 19, 2012, after 14 days, 11 hours and 57 minutes. We learned the race is not over until the last musher comes in and blows out the Widow's Lantern; which was lite after the first musher left Anchorage announcing that there are mushers on the trail. It stays lite during the entire race until the last musher blows it out signifying that all mushers have come home.
The race is over now. The mushers are in Nome and they will celebrate with all and return home and most will begin preparations for next years race. If you want to follow all the excitement you can check it out at the following link: http://iditarod.com/.
HIKE! (They don't say mush...)