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Hospitality in Takotna: Jan Newton

The pie is good in Takotna, Alaska. Very good. The food is free, and the hospitality is legendary. And – oh, right – it’s an Iditarod checkpoint, too.

Jan Newton has been in Takotna since 1972 – a year before the Iditarod Sled Dog Race began – and she’s seen a lot pass through her hometown. For years she’s been taking care of the mushers who stop in Takotna, many of whom take their 24-hour layovers there.

Newton estimates that she bakes 75-80 pies a year, and if a musher has a favorite pie, she’ll make it. Jeff King had pecans shipped to the checkpoint just so Newton could whip up a pecan pie. She says King could eat a whole pie by himself: they’re that good.

On Wednesday, Newton talked with our trail reporter Laureli about the importance of hospitality – and dessert: