“There’s just no way to control your team,” Aliy Zirkle explains, talking difficulties in traversing the notorious “Farewell Burn” on this year’s trail from Rohn to Nikolai. With no snow, the rocky, stump-laden trail makes it difficult to brake and slow down the dog team heading down hill.
Zirkle arrived to Nikolai this morning within an hour of five other mushers including Aaron Burmeister, Jeff King, Michael Williams Jr., Hugh Neff, and Sonny Lindner. A little shaken by the trail, Zirkle comments that it’s rare she actually gets fearful while mushing; it just doesn’t happen. But along the stretch of 75 miles from she admits a couple instances where she was feeling just that.
Aliy’s concerned about the rest of the mushers traveling the trail from Rohn to Nikolai. She says it’ll take some experience and a lot of luck to get past that stretch of the trail safely: “It’s luck, you have to put your brake down at the right time so you don’t drag a root.” Ultimately feeling good about her time pulling into Nikolai, Zirkle tries to keep perspective, “It can always get worse.”