Brenda's 2003 Daily Iditarod Coverage
Countdown to Iditarod 2003 Restart — Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
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March 15 , 2004
Kaltag, a New Vantage Point
This morning was time for goodbyes to our friends in Ruby. After breakfast with the Ungrys and lots of hugs, we packed up, headed to the airport with Pastor Tim. We heard that Steve Madsen had made it in to Ruby but G.B. Jones had not. We hated to miss these two mushers but timing was important in view of low-pressure systems in the area. We took off for Galena where we only stopped for fuel. In the airport, I saw a few photographers we had met waiting for their flight to UNK. It was snowing gently and rather than getting weathered in here, we kept on going. In the air, we had great views of the huge expanse of the Yukon River that often challenges mushers to stay awake. We passed over several teams heading towards Kaltag.

We landed in Kaltag (Population 230) and were met at the airport by Pastor Jeff Day and his son, Blake, on snowmachines. After unloading the sleds at the Kaltag Bible Baptist Church, we headed over to the checkpoint to tell Checker Randy Parent of the teams we had spotted coming in. Earl took off in his plane to spot caribou and wolves for the village. Parked in the village were Karen Ramstead, Doug Grilliot, Ellie Claus, Noah Burmeister, Scott Smith, Rick Larson, Bernard Schuchert, Dexter Kancer, and Ed Stielstra. In a few minutes, another team pulled in and it was Peter Bartlett. Not long after his arrival, Peryl Kyzer booted her team and left the checkpoint. Some interesting stories were being told by Rick Larson about his trip down the Dalzell Gorge and his assist to Fabrizio in untangling his team. Doug Grilliot was confident and his team looked great, with Penny still running swing. No doubt the attitude comes from his Yukon Quest experience. All day we were fascinated along with all of you about the real race up in front of the pack, with Mitch, Charlie, Jeff and Kjetil. Wow, what a race!!

While we were in town, Kelly Williams arrived and then Wayne Curtis. All of the other mushers vacated the checkpoint and left town going towards Unalakleet. Few will attempt the 90-mile run to UNK without stopping at one of the two shelter cabins, Tripod Flats or Old Woman Cabin. Both are Bureau of Land Management cabins provided for wilderness safety. The unspoken rule of the trail is that you use what you need and leave what you can. And always put wood in the stove along with kindling, so that it is ready to light in case a frozen traveler comes in with hypothermia and needs to warm up in a hurry.

Our plan is to fly to Nome on Tuesday to cover the winners and then to backtrack to Unalakleet or White Mountain, depending on weather and racer locations. If you are enjoying our coverage, please email us so we can forward notes to our sponsors.

Follow the Action Here: Our good friend's at Cabela's Current Stats and Iditarod's Current Standings. Be sure to look at the "update time" on each. Sometimes one is more timely than the other.

See the

Cool Dreams Photos Page

for more 2004 Iditarod Photos


Top Headlines from the Anchorage Daily News

Check this page often for daily updates.

Click below for links to CURRENT LISTINGS of

Iditarod FINISH LINE (View One)
Iditarod FINISH LINE (View Two)
Iditarod FINISH LINE (View Three)

Unalakleet Checkpoint (refresh often)

Town of Galena, AK