Two snow machine officers were sweeping the trail up front to make sure all was well for the approaching teams. Their appearance is always the sign that the first team can't be too far behind. This time, we got a story from the lead officer when he stopped to share it with his friend on duty at the corner at Goose Lake Park. Seems some excited volunteer working security had jumped out and waved them down to tell them to "Get off the trail! Don't you know there are dog teams coming?" Uh, yeah.....gotta love the sometimes misplaced enthusiasm of volunteers, tho'.
The first team past was Jr. Iditarod winner Noah with the 2013 Honorary Musher Jan Newton in his sled.
The first true competitor past was the first outta the chute, Martin Buser. He had wife Kathy Chapoton on the sled runners with him rather than the more common tag sled.
Hey, good deal, Kathy! You got to sit down!
Scott Janssen, aka the Mushing Mortician.
This and the next shot somehow uploaded outta order. The one below was just a blink after they hit the sharp left that they have to make there. By the time I could swivel my head (and the camera), the tag rider was on their knees trying to scramble up to catch the sled. As you can see, Scott didn't let go, tho' the dogs only gave him and the tag rider a few blinks of the eye before they decided they were outta there, see photo above. The tag sled rider was really having to rush and sorta leap onto the runners, then they were off, all within just a few blinks of our eyes.
Dan Kaduce on Jodi's tag sled was having a much easier time of it. In fact, he had time to chow down on a hot dog. Jodi said they were handing them out back up the trail. I think I was on the wrong side of the bridge, tho' the Lutheran church was set up on our corner with coffee and, yipee, since I'd forgotten to pick any up on the way out the door, hand warmers!
Ken Anderson surely wins the award for the brightest dog coats of the year.
I think this is Michelle Phillips.
Two photos above are of Lance Mackey, who seemed to be crossing the bridge on one runner, turned sideways at that.
It was interesting to watch how the mushers approached going around this 90 degree corner. Lance is using his foot to steer, others stuck to the runners.
Lance looks back to make sure his tag rider made it around the turn.
Newton Marshall waving his country's flag. From other shots I've seen, look like he managed to keep it up almost the entire route. Gads, Newton, your arm had to be tired.
Newton had not only a tag rider, but a rider in the tag sled as well as his sled.
John Baker, below
This is the shot that made the whole trip to Anchorage worth it for me. Nic Petit's Idita-rider sharing his sled with his mascot, Ugly, who is anything but Ugly. What a cool, cool dog, who gave all appearances of doing this sorta thing everyday in front of cheering, milling crowds. What a hoot. Love ya', Ugly.
At this point, I was wondering, what the heck is hanging off Jeff King's back. Answer coming below.
Jeff's Idita-Rider is Virgil, 83-years young, who Jeff and some others bought the ride for.
Not the best photo but the answer to what was hanging from Jeff's back was a cape, one saying "King".