Iditarod 2014 – one of the toughest
With all except one musher through McGrath, a picture has started to form of what the trail was like in the first third of the race. Right up until two weeks before the race, the fate of the final route was up in the air. Due to the lack of snow and warmer temperatures in Alaska this fall / winter some of the earlier sections were sparsely covered in snow. The alternative route was to start in Fairbanks and add in a loop in the middle of the race around Greyling and Anvik (the latter being on the southern route which is only run on odd numbered years).
The decision was finally made to allow the race to follow its original course.
Most of the mushers described going through Dalzell Gorge and ‘The Burn’, which lies between Rainy Pass and Rohn, as going through hell. The little snow that was there last week had all but melted in the 40degree (Fahrenheit, or 5degC) weekend temperatures. What was supposed to be a snow trail ended up being a rocky trip through a logging dustbowl.
To put this in perspective: no team has scratched or withdrawn due to the dogs,all have been due to musher injuries. Below is the link for one of the articles ( including pictures) that demonstrates the hardship.
Google: “Jeff King GoPro mushers perspective” or follow this link for a video (GoPro) of Jeff King through the Farewell Burn. http://www.ktva.com/from-a-mushers-perspective/