March 6, 2012 9:30 pm AST
What a day on the Iditarod trail!
Aliy is still leading the front pack. She just past through McGrath on her way to Takotna. She won the Spirit of Alaska Award presented by PenAir for the first musher to McGrath. It is a Spirit Mask depicting the joining of the dog team and the musher into one on the trail. Incredibly beautiful! PenAir will bring the mask to Nome for her and re-present it to Aliy at the banquet. There is a wonderful video of Aliy coming into McGrath on the Iditarod Insider.
Not only did Aliy win the Spirit Award, she was checked in to McGrath by her long time friend Mark Cox and his daughter Cameron. Cameron helped Aliy through her first Iditarod when her entire dog team was SO sick and has been away at school for the last several Iditarods. Aliy was looking forward to seeing her.
After the being presented with the award, Aliy quickly got back on the trail with all 16 dogs. It is less than 20 miles to Takotna.
Back in Nikolai, Ryne and her dog team have arrived at the checkpoint at 8:29. No information about them at this point, but she is running EXACTLY what she wanted to do. She camped for a good 5 to 6 hours on the trail, so she and the dogs should be strong.
Both the dogs that Ryne had to drop are back in Anchorage with Doug and eating well. Tony was the first dog dropped in Finger Lake for a sore shoulder and Puppet was the second dropped at Rainy Pass. Many thanks to the wonderful pilots, vets and volunteers for taking such good care of them and getting them back to us so quickly and safely!
What will tomorrow bring? We'll have to see. Here are some links to look at: