On Saturday the Junior Iditarod mushers staged their teams in a
smaller area than usual but the excitement was larger than life.
All the kids who attempt this race are excellent examples of self
motivating, high achievers who happen to love dogs and enjoy mushing.
familiar names were in the line up, such as King, Seavey, Osmar,
Buser and more. Of course all the proud parents were there sending
their kids off in style. The weather was warm, about +20, and a
beautiful day. The trail began at Susitna Landing and headed out
towards Yentna. Bill helped guide teams to the start line while
I photographed them. We waited until all the teams passed under
the starting banner before we got our snowmachines ready to follow
along. Most of the teams were far out ahead of us but we did pass
a couple of teams along the way. We took a different slough to Yentna
so we would not interfere with the mushers. When we arrived at the
halfway point, no teams had checked in but Nicole Osmar soon arrived
looking great. Shortly on her heels, Dallas Seavey pulled in, well
organized and looking good. A bright yellow parka quickly appeared
on the horizon as Tessa King came into view. Gradually over the
next few hours, as the fog began to rise on the river, all the mushers
pulled into Yentna.
Yentna Station, we enjoyed the hospitality and good cooking of Dan
and Jean Gabryszak. As the evening progressed, Dan pulled out his
guitar. He sang favorite tunes while his impromoptu audience sang
along. Martin Buser had zoomed in on his wife's snowmachine incognito
to observe his boys from afar. Charlie Boulding and his wife, Robin,
came in after dark as well. The kids all gathered round their traditional
bonfire while the rest of us went to sleep.