Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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March 21
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February 24, 2003
Another day of RAIN in Wasilla. Iditarod officials continue to monitor trail conditions.

Today brought more rain to Wasilla, Home of the Iditarod and more worries to trail officials. When trail breakers traveled the trail near the town of Iditarod and nearly sank one of the snowmachines, they reported back to Race Director, Stan Hooley, that they thought this segment of trail would be unsafe for teams to cross. Part of the story was in Anchorage Daily News this week. "Deciding what part of bad trail was worst was difficult...The old bulldozer track the Iditarod [Trail] follows is now overgrown with brush... with no snow to cover the brush, trail breakers ended up fighting through a thicket. The drops from stream banks onto frozen creeks and rivers weren't much fun either. Because there has been so little snow and because there isn't much ice, most of these drops -- not to mention the climbs out -- are steep and abrupt. The tussock patches, however, are probably worst of all because there is no snow to fill the low spots...Frozen tussocks, coffee-can size to paint-bucket size... just pitched the sled from side to side."

Another concern with Race officials and mushers alike are the Food Drops. Because food drops have already been made along the trail, some 75 tons of dog food, people food, straw, fuel and equipment must be relocated from the eliminated checkpoints to the new ones ."And we need to get it done in a couple of days," according to Stan Hooley. Drop Bags marked for Skwentna have now been crossed out and marked for Manley. Food drops already re-routed to Iditarod will have to be re-routed and re-marked again for ??? Food drops are following a dizzying array of changes and mushers are wondering what will end up where, adding to the stress of an already difficult year.

The shake up of checkpoints and food drops will put the technical musher at a disadvantage and give those veterans with a trapper instinct the ability to perservere. Weather will also play a huge part in this year's race. If freeezing temps keep the Yukon a viable race route, the fact that most of this year's race is now a river race, it will be fast. Predictions are flying fast and furious as to when the first musher will reach Nome this year.

At ITC headquarters today, EKG's were being performed on some teams. Lynda Plettner had her dogswere there. Bill helped her unload and hold dogs for their exams. Lynda was in very good spirits, wearing her Indiana Univeristy sweatshirt, a gift from Finney, the first Teacher on the Trail. Palmer Sagoonik was also at ITC and kidded Bill about the steak he owes him. Jessie Royer had just driven in from Montana.

Jordan got a call from Jim Gallea today and went with Jim and Tyrell Seavey to Sterling to assist them with last minute race preparations.

Only in Alaska - a "Roof Snow Warning" sign keeps cars from having dented hoods and customers from having dented heads. The warm weather has caused what snow there is to slide off roofs in large heavy sheets. But this sign is in Glenallen, where the Jr. Iditarod was held and we don't think snow slides will be a problem most other places.