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A beaten Aaron Burmeister and unscathed Mike Williams, Jr.: Western Alaska in Nikolai

Western Alaska mushers Aaron Burmeister and Mike Williams Jr. arrived in Nikolai within 30 minutes of each other at 7:47a and 8:16a respectively, coming off completely different experiences on the “Farewell Burn.”

Aaron Burmeister ran into catastrophe on the trail. Coming into the Nikolai limping, Aaron shared the story of his injury with Laureli Kinneen, along with his plan to continue on his race, despite his apparent need of surgery:

[As of this post, after a 5 hour rest, Aaron Burmeister checked out of Nikolai at 12:50p, heading the 48 miles to McGrath]

Bethel’s Mike Williams Jr. had a much different story coming into Nikolai this morning. Feeling quite lucky, Mike says, “luckily I made it through without breaking anything or hurting myself or breaking my sled or hurting any of the dogs that I left Rohn with.”

Describing the trail as “hair-raising,” Williams observed some of the mushers falling victim to its challenges: Dallas Seavey, camping in the burn, recovering from a broken gang line,  and Aaron Burmeister fixing up his knee. Coming into Nikolai, Mike was happy for snow and looking forward to the trail out, which he’ll jump on after his 24 hour layover is complete tomorrow morning.