Sunday, March 14, 1993

Iditarod VII

For most of us in Unalakleet, whiteout is a modest word for "Should you venture very far from the cabin lights, you will be instantly lost and ravens will feast upon your frozen carcass, so go back inside and bum another beer from the ABC guys." For mushers, it's a time to make a fast break, lose the competition and hopefully not get too terribly lost. Stories abound of racers staggering ahead of their dog teams in zero visibility, desperately shining headlights into the murk, scanning for a trail marker or the slightest hint of trail.

It can be a deadly serious game. If all else fails, they stop where they are and wait it out. Dogs tuck in their tails and let the snow drift over them, creating cozy igloos in the most wretched conditions. Lacking tails and fur, mushers are more inclined to curl up into sleeping bags and then jam themselves into sled bags. It's not roomy, but it's home.

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