Yesterday, we fueled up snow machines with gas and oil and rode the 77 miles to White Mountain. The trail parallels the ocean, traversing the infamous "Blow Hole," before turning north and winding through the Topcok Hills to the small community of White Mountain. Light wind and direct sunlight made for a beautiful, fairytale ride.
Upon our arrival, Dallas was just leaving the checkpoint to begin his final run to the finish line in Nome. Mitch and Aaron's teams were resting comfortably in the sunlight. Jessie was finishing up a few last chores before heading to the community center for a much deserved nap. As she massaged dogs and packed her sled, I asked her about the lineage of her dogs, experiences on the trail, and overall impression of the race. She was in a great mood and very happy with the performance of her team.
About 45 minutes after we arrived, Aliy and Team motored into the checkpoint with Scout and Waylon in lead. Aliy was feeling sassy and the dogs reflected her attitude. After parking the team, we watched as the dogs ate EVERYTHING in sight, Aliy signed multiple autographs for the community kids, and the team settled in for a well-deserved 8-hour rest. When finally relaxing in the community center kitchen, Aliy was already thinking about her next competition: the arm wrestling tournament in Nome. Watch out competitors, Aliy has 1000-miles of ski pole muscles ready to dominate.
Fast forward to "go" time: Scooter and Schmoe were barking enthusiastically, the team was howling in unison, and Aliy was packed, ready to arrive in Nome. With a "Ready, Hike!" the team lunged into the dark for the final 77 miles.