Our on-the-trail reporter Laureli caught up with Hugh Neff in Ruby.
The Iditarod veteran was the third to arrive at the checkpoint; he pulled in at 4:30am with 13 dogs, eager for a rest. Neff said he planned to take an 8-hour layover there (which all mushers must do somewhere on the Yukon River: if not Ruby, then Galena, Nulato, or Kaltag).
Neff talked about the long run from Cripple; it’s a trail that caused difficulties for fellow musher John Baker earlier this week. Neff said that Iditarod mushers could benefit from trail markers indicating distances to the next checkpoint. He also discussed problems with food drops:
As of 4:22pm Friday, official Iditarod standings have not indicated a Hugh Neff departure from Ruby; however, Neff’s unofficial GPS tracker places him slightly more than halfway up the trail to Galena (still in third position, behind Jeff King and Lance Mackey).