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Donna Newsletter – Part 10

I am still waiting to get news from Shaktoolik. I have cancelled my plane ticket to Nome while I wait to see what is going to happen with Jeff and the team.

They camped at the shelter “cabin” just about 15 miles outside of Shaktoolik for 8 hours with Mitch, Aaron and then Hans.I use the term “cabin” loosely… only a musher would call it shelter. Jeff and Hans went back to Shaktoolik, I’m sure, for food for the dogs. The race is virtually stopped with the exception of the three front-runners and a few teams farther back. Mother Nature is hammering her fist.

The checkpoint of Shaktoolik is a single building on a spit of land situated out in the open. It is not a pretty spot when the wind is blowing. According to the stats, there are now 14 teams there… that is a lot of pressure for this small place. The biggest challenge along with keeping all of the dogs as comfortable as possible, will be having enough food for the dogs and people. This is a tough situation for the teams and the race officials. The race committee is earning their keep this year…..

So, I admit, the race has lost some of it’s thrill for me. Now it is truly simply a management situation. I will keep you posted on any news I receive.


  1. I can sense your concern, Donna, for Jeff and the other mushers stuck on the coast. I trust that the weather will break soon. I trust they will all resume down the trail safely!

    What an intersting position they will all be in when the weather does break. They will all want to leave at the same time. Are there rules for such circumstances?

    If time allows, please keep us posted. Thanks, I’ll say a prayer for the safety of the men(woman) and their dogs.

  2. I think I figured out why they are breaking trail for Mackey. Drifts as high as a house. OMG the dogs. The winds gave Mackey the hardest run of his career to Koyuk. I also read two dogs have died out of Iditarod to Shageluk. Hugh Neff has frost bite. My prayers are now with the men, women and dogs running this race.

  3. … and I just read your blog … I am praying …..

  4. Thanks for the update. I hope everyone is well. The race certainly isn’t worth risking the health of the dogs or the mushers. Will be checking for updates. I appreciate your posting as information is scarce.


  5. Heavens, what a situation to be in!
    I am certain that it has to be frustrating for Jeff and everyone. However, I agree with Di, the previous blogger, that the welfare of Jeff and his dogs are of number one concern. Let common sense prevail for every musher on the trail!

    Yes, information is scare. As always, we appreciate you taking the time to blog!

    Waiting to hear good news…

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