From Kyle Hopkins in Takotna --
A cheerless Ryan Redington says he is indeed going to scratch here in Takotna.
"I've got some dogs that aren't feeling well and I think it's best if we go home now," he told photojournalist Marc Lester.
"I talked it over with the race judge. I made my decision, I just haven't done the paperwork yet."
We're working to post audio soon, so check back to hear Redington describe the painful choice in his own words.
"We tried preparing for this for a couple years now for this team, and things just didn't go right," Redington said. "It's a bum decision, and I feel real bad, but it's what I got to do now."
Redington was officially in 49th place, but is a sentimental favorite for fans as a member of Alaska mushing royalty. His grandfather, Joe Redington Sr., was a founder of the race.
He will be only the second musher to scratch in the 2012 Iditarod, a relatively small number this late in the race.
Ryan Redington arrived in Takotna this morning with just 10 dogs. He’ll leave with as few as seven, if he leaves at all.
Redington, who spent the winter traning on the hard, smooth trails of Wyoming and Montana, says he may scratch today rather than push ahead with a hobbled team.
“It’s a decision that I don’t want to do,” Redington said as he carried water to his team. “You never want to have your race end this way.”
The 27-year-old returned to Alaska about two weeks before the Iditarod and his team wasn’t prepared for this year’s deepening snow and soft trenches.
“My dogs haven’t seen a trail like this,” he said.
There have been no major crashes or mishaps along the way, he said. Just sore shoulders and sore muscles, forcing him to a drop leader, “Grr,” and others dogs.
Redington planned to rest and take another look at the huskies before choosing whether to end his race in Takotna.
“I want to do right by the dogs,” he said.
The clock is ticking. Redington has already taken his mandatory 24-hour break. His brother, Ray Redington, is in 12th place according to the GPS tracker and left Ophir with a full 16-dog team.