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Neff, Table for Two

text by David Dodman; photos and audio by Laureli Kinneen

When Hugh Neff arrived into Anvik early this morning, he wasn’t the only one who received an exceptional breakfast.

The five-course meal courtesy of Anchorage’s Millennium Hotel was a breakfast for two, and Neff decided to invite Larry Westlake, an Iditarod race judge. (It didn’t hurt, as Neff quipped, to “butter up the Kobuk 440 race marshal”; the Kobuk 440 is a sled-dog race that will take place in April.)

While the two ate, Neff talked about his push to the Yukon River, the trail conditions leading to Anvik – in summary, faster than some had predicted – and his dog team.

Neff was also, of course, excited for his First to the Yukon Award: not just because of the gourmet breakfast and its “after-dinner mint” of $3,500 in cash, but also because this mushing award is Neff’s first.

KNOM trail reporter Laureli Kinneen was there:

As of 2pm Friday, Neff is in 3rd position. He rested for exactly 8 hours in Anvik – the first Iditarod musher to complete his mandatory Yukon River rest – and departed at 1:26pm with 12 dogs.

Preparing breakfast

Preparing Hugh Neff's First to the Yukon Award breakfast.

Hugh Neff and Larry Westlake

Hugh Neff and Larry Westlake at breakfast, early Friday morning.

3500 in cash

Hugh Neff's "after-dinner mint" from the lavish breakfast in Anvik: $3,500 in cash.