UPDATE: 'Iditapuppies!' and Kaiser's conservative strategy
1 p.m. Teams are piling in. They are either parking to the left or right of the trail and are guided into parking spots by volunteers. Not all teams are listening equally well.
While Mushing Mortician Scott Janssen was telling his dogs to "go the other gee," Mitch did a top notch parking job with his crew, so did Pete Kaiser. Pete ran up here in three runs, and that little bit conservative strategy sure reflects in his team, which is very energetic.
Still not much for airplane traffic. Ex-Iditarod musher Gene Smith quickly flew in on his yellow bomber, but did not stay long, most likely being worried about getting stuck up here.
Lots of musher traffic, on the other hand. Gerry Willomitzer just pulled in with 15 dogs in 22nd spot. It is much too early to make any prediction about how teams will finish. Its barely been 24 hours into the race. So I will not even get into any strategy talk. It is noticeable that no team has gone through Rainy Pass at this point.
Next up is one of the most scenic parts of the trail, going up Rainy Pass and over into Dalzell Gorge.
10:30 a.m. By now there are 5 teams into Rainy Pass. Jim Lanier, 71 years young, was the last team in.
Hugh and Lance both had some breedings happening, Iditarpuppies! Some good genetics there, talk about born and raised on the trail!
Snow is falling lightly, which makes airplane traffic fairly light. I have seen this checkpoint different. On a sunny day, Rainy can be a noisy place for the dogs to rest, as planes constantly come and go. On the other hand, I have seen it much worse. Like in 2009, when several people got stranded here for days with bad weather moving in.
And there goes the famous sound again: Dogteam, which has people scuttling to the door.
Sixth team in! Yeah, that is Paul, he is sitting down on the sled. Dang I thought only I used to have that reputation. Paul, so far, is the only musher to arrive without a full 16 dogs, having dropped one in Finger Lake.
From Rainy Pass --
Ray Redington pulled into the Rainy Pass checkpoint first. His dogs looked very energetic. Barking to go. He quickly loaded his food drop bags and headed to his parking spots, the vet crew eagerly waiting.
Almost within sight came Hugh Neff onto nearby Puntilla Lake. His team also looked nice and strong. It took Hugh a bit longer to find his food drop bags. They were too obvious within sight, right in the front row.
Unfortunately some animals had gotten into the food and his bags were both ripped open. Both teams parked right next to each other. I could not help but notice that Hugh was very efficient -- amazingly focused, his team bedded down long before Ray. While Ray walked back and forth a few times to put down the straw, Hugh had that done in one simple step. He gave each of his dogs a snack before going to work on his team.
Redington's team in Rainy Pass.