“I don’t know how we got through there unscathed,” Bethel’s Pete Kaiser says of the incredibly rough Iditarod trail leading into Nikolai.
“I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life and hope to never again; I’m glad it’s over… I’m kind of in disbelief of how bad it was,” he told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen on Tuesday.
Not only was Kaiser “unscathed,” but he said he was fairly happy with his position in the standings and hoped to “move up a bit” as the race moved forward:
Richie Diehl, of Aniak, Alaska, was also a bit energetic in describing just how bad the trail was into Nikolai.
It was “kinda like a sci-fi movie,” he told KNOM, with “headlights flashing all over the place, people screaming.”
As for his own dog team, they’re actually doing fairly well, Diehl says. This seems to echo a trend that’s been much talked-about in the checkpoints: the early trail of this year’s Iditarod is hard on the mushers themselves, but relatively all right for the dogs. Generally, the dogs – like Richie Diehl’s team – are handling the faster, snow-starved trail okay. It’s the people, and their sleds, that are having problems.
As of midnight Wednesday, Richie Diehl is in 19th position; he departed the Nikolai checkpoint at 5:43pm Tuesday with 15 dogs. Pete Kaiser, meanwhile, is in 23rd position, having left Nikolai at 7:34pm, also with 15 dogs.