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A look back at the “nightmare” trail behind

Jeff King approaching Rohn

With the sun setting over the Alaska Range behind him, musher Jeff King looks back at his sled as his team leaves the river ice just shy of the Rohn checkpoint, Monday evening.

The early stretches of the Iditarod trail were brutal this year, according to almost everyone who dared to mush across it.

The dirt-bare trail leading up to the Rohn and Nikolai checkpoints was beset with a lack of snow and a variety of natural obstacles and hurdles that kept mushers struggling both to avoid injury and to stay on their sleds.

From describing it as a “nightmare” to comparing it to a horrific sci-fi movie, the competitors of Iditarod 42 each described their early trail experiences in a different way when talking with our trail reporter, Laureli, over the past few days.

There’s one thing they’re unanimous about, however: they’re glad they’re leaving this part of the trail behind.

Hear the different ways some of Iditarod’s competitors have described the rough trail this year: