Friday, March 15, 2024

Four rookies on their way to Nome, one stuck in Golovin

Friday looks to be the last day on the trail for Iditarod 2024 - unless one team can somehow reboot and charge up to White Mountain soon. Three rookies are making their way into the final checkpoint of Safety, one just left white mountain, and the final team has been in the former checkpoint of Golovin for over 24 hours.

Lauro Edlund leads the final flight into Safety with Sevy Cathry and Jeff Reid close behind. The three have traveled most of the trail together and no doubt will continue to do so all the way to the arch. As they leave the checkpoint it will be just a little more coastal run before climbing their final mountain of Cape Nome. Then a run along a road, one final river crossing, a run along the beach and then up onto Front Street where the burled arch and a belt buckle awaits.

Joshua Robbins left White Mountain around 8:45am. As officials counted down he went through a similar ritual to what he did back on Willow Lake a week an a half ago. As he stood on the back of his sled the team broke out into a loud and happy "dogsong". The team's battle cry only stiffled when the official said go and the musher didn't let them leave - he was still trying to put on his parka. The judgemental looks of the team were comical, but they were soon on their way "nice and steady".

Robbins will have to wait a while to find out if he's the Red Lantern this year or not (assuming he makes it to Nome, and why wouldn't he?) as Sean Williams has not scratched yet even after being hung up in Golovin. The three time Iditarod rookie is once again seeing his hope of finishing dashed as his team reportedly will not go out onto the Sea Ice of Golovin Bay. The dogs are still energetic and have been rides to children of Golovin to make the most of their time in the former checkpoint.

Golovin was a checkpoint of the Iditarod for many years, but as teams were able to run further between checkpoints and with the mandatory 8 of White Mountain being the next stop, Golovin became a memory. Until this year. It's an unplanned stop for one team, and it will no doubt be a memory for all. Williams' team reported that he would try one more time this morning, but with little movement on the tracker it's unsure if they will ever get moving.

The Iditarod is coming to a close quickly. It was one of extreme lows and highs. 38 teams left the starting line March 3, and it may have 30 finishes. It's not over quite yet and cheering in the final teams is something every fan should be excited to do.

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