Caring for her dogs under clear skies in Unalakleet on Sunday afternoon, Abbie West, in sizing up her first experience with the Iditarod, seemed content to balance the good with the bad. It’s definitely been a challenge, she says, but also an adventure. And besides, she’s currently the lead rookie.
West spoke with Laureli Kinneen in Unalakleet, where she told KNOM that, despite the “mind-boggling” caliber of her fellow competitors and the rough trail that’s beleaguered so many of them, it’s been a good first Iditarod run.
Indeed, as a top-20 musher, West is doing very well, and she hopes to remain in her current position all the way to Nome. But competition is not the only reason she’s in the Iditarod; it’s also, she says, an opportunity for an epic, unique, and quintessentially Alaskan journey – a chance to see, as she says, “a whole new part of Alaska.”
“Every run is a different terrain… You’re in the mountains, then you’re in a river, then you’re near the ocean, then you’re on the tundra… It’s just really cool. It’s crazy when you think about how far you’ve been.”
Going forward to the Norton Sound coast and the Nome finish line, she says “(I’ll) let the dogs tell me where we should be.” And in a few days, if all goes well, she’ll be in Nome.
Hear Abbie West in Unalakleet:
As of early morning Monday, Abbie West is in 20th position. She and her 9 dogs arrived into the Shaktoolik checkpoint at 11:05pm Sunday night.