…and the leaders arrived at Ophir #iditarod

The leaders are currently in Ophir. Here are some photos from the last time the trail followed the northern route.

One of the vets (Norbert) waiting for the early warning system to announce the imminent arrival of the next team to be checked.
(it was a door buzzer with an infra-red beam rigged up across the trail about 500m before the checkpoint, frequently set off
by moose which resulted in us waiting outside in sub zero temperatures for extended periods of time)

The Ophir Log Cabin and Checkpoint nerve centre.

Team looking strong arriving at Ophir after a 70mile trip.

The warmer morning temperatures.

Next Up: Cripple (Race Mile: 397) Population 0 — Part of the famous Iditarod Mining District which saw $35 million in gold taken out of the area between 1908 and 1925. Not bad when you figure that gold was only worth $20 an ounce in those days. This checkpoint marks the official halfway point in the race for the northern route, signified by GCI’s presentation of a halfway trophy and $3,000 in gold nuggets to the first musher to reach the checkpoint.

Followed by: Ruby (Race Mile: 467) Population 187 — The first checkpoint on the famous Yukon River, the longest river in Alaska, stretching 1,875 miles from its headwaters in the Yukon Territory of Canada to the Bering Sea. Gold was discovered her in 1907, but no town was established until until 1911 when additional gold deposits were discovered on Long Creek, causing a rush of prospectors to the area. This is the home of 1975 Iditarod Champion, Emmitt Peters. Ruby wa home for many of the mushers who carried mail for the Northern Commercial Company from Tanana to Ruby. The trip took four days and paid $5.00 a day. Dog team mail ended here in 1931. The checkpoint is in the community hall. Iditarod sponsor, the Millennium Alaskan Hotel Anchorage awards the first musher into Ruby a gourmet dinner and a cash prize.

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