14 March 2017

Iditarod Update #30

Mitch Seavey blew through the checkpoint at Safety, AK in one minute flat, at 1:10 pm Alaska time.
This is the home stretch, but it can be tough at times. The trail usually follows the Nome-to-Council road from Safety to just past Cape Nome, then cuts down to the beach and generally parallels the road (crossing it a couple of times enroute). The trail finally climbs up the seawall at the east end of Front Street for the last ten blocks to the burled arch. An ...alternate route swings around to the north of Cape Nome but still picks up the beach trail in the same place. Either way, it’s ten miles from Safety to the beach cutoff, and another eleven to the end of Front Street. 
The trail is completely exposed to the elements—there are no trees anywhere close to Nome unless you count the “Nome National Forest” of used Christmas trees on the ice behind Front Street. The road is normally not plowed past Cape Nome, but the surface can be blown down to gravel. The wind can blow very hard sometimes (especially around Cape Nome) and ground blizzards aren’t unknown even as you pull up the seawall to Front Street. You can get caught in the open on this leg just as easily as on the trip from White Mountain. Allow two to three hours for the run to the arch under normal conditions.

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