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In Anvik, Mushers Look to the Coast as They’re Chasing the Leaders

photos and audio by Laureli Kinneen; text by David Dodman

Sonny Lindner

Sonny Lindner with his dogs at the Anvik checkpoint.

Food bags

Bags upon bags of dog food in Anvik.

“They’re good dogs,” Ramey Smyth says of his team; but as for how they’ll fare in the rest of this year’s Iditarod, he’s reserving judgment until Kaltag and Unalakleet.

Smyth (pronounced “Smith”) talked with KNOM trail reporter Laureli Kinneen in Anvik, where he’s taking his 8-hour Yukon River layover.

Heading to the Norton Sound coast, Smyth expects it’ll be very hard to catch Lance Mackey and John Baker (who’s “no slouch” and has a “very strong team”). His team will have to “peak” to catch up.

When asked if his dogs can, indeed, “peak,” Smyth wasn’t making any predictions:

Sonny Lindner was also feeling good about his dogs – and the trail after Iditarod (checkpoint) – in his Anvik interview with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen. The trail up to the coast, however, might be a different story.

Lindner was a bit conscious of the size of his team – they’ve “dwindled,” he says of his 11 dogs – and talked about some of the challenges on Iditarod’s southern route (which is being run this year):

Kotzebue’s John Baker also talked to Laureli: about the trail from Iditarod to Shageluk (which he called “perfect”), the status of his dog team, what he’s anticipating in the run to the coast, and how he’s put himself so high up in the race standings.

As of 4:30pm Friday, John Baker is in 4th position; he departed Anvik at 1:45pm with 13 dogs. Sonny Lindner is in 9th position; he left Anvik with 11 dogs at 3:30pm.

Ramey Smyth arrived in Anvik at 8:24am with 15 dogs; Smyth is in 11th position and, although he’s now eligible to depart Anvik after his 8-hour layover, he’s not yet reported out.