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In Nikolai: Western Alaskan Rookies

William “Middie” Johnson told us on Tuesday that he feels pretty good “because the dogs feel pretty good.” Pete Kaiser struck a similar tone: he said his run/rest schedule will be largely dependent on how his dogs are feeling.

Both Johnson and Kaiser are rookies to Iditarod 38, and they took some time while in the Nikolai checkpoint to share their thoughts on the race thus far. Neither musher had much in the way of complaints, which will be good news to their hometown fans. Both men hail from Western Alaska: Johnson from Unalakleet, Kaiser from Bethel.

Johnson said he’s looking forward to the remainder of the race – especially the later segments, which will take him and his dog team directly through his hometown:

Kaiser was gratified that some of the trail’s trickier stretches – such as the Dalzell Gorge – were less challenging than they might have been:

As of early Wednesday morning, Middie Johnson had left Nikolai in 31st position with 14 dogs. Pete Kaiser was resting in Nikolai; he arrived at the checkpoint at 7:48pm on Tuesday with 15 dogs.