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Western Alaskans in Takotna: Pete Kaiser and Michael Williams, Jr.

Among those currently taking their 24-hour layovers in Takotna are Western Alaskan mushers Pete Kaiser and Michael Williams, Jr. KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen caught up with both mushers Wednesday afternoon.

Bethel musher Pete Kaiser – the champion of last month’s Paul Johnson Memorial Norton Sound 450 – says he’s generally happy with his position in Iditarod 2012. In our interview, Kaiser talks about how his dogs are faring in the deep snow of this year’s trail, as well as how his dogs’ digestive health has improved.

He also shares a bit of his run/rest strategy for the trail beyond Takotna – up to Cripple and then on to Nome – as well as what he’s up to during his 24-hour layover:

For Mike Williams, Jr., a 24-hour layover offers a chance to feed his dogs – as he was when KNOM trail reporter Laureli Kinneen caught up with him – as well as to eat, to visit other mushers, and to sleep. The Akiak musher may well need to prioritize rest; in our interview, he talks about slipping into brief periods of sleep while mushing his dogs, taking cat naps in the trail up to Takotna.

As for his dogs, Williams says “they’re looking good” – and alert enough to know when their musher has accidentally fallen asleep: