Time: 11 PM
My Dear Friends,
I can’t believe it but I have to leave Nome tomorrow morning! My time on
the trail has come to an end. I have enjoyed every minute of this trip and
my memories of it will last for the rest of my life.
I am going to write a very short journal because I must go to sleep soon,
and I am going to get up in about 6 hours.
Today was a wonderful day! I was able to put some closure on the race,
as the mushers began to arrive in
Nome. We had a knock on our door this morning at
6 AM to announce the imminent arrival of musher number one. We quickly
jumped into our many layers and ran outside to watch for Doug Swingley.
It was dark, and very cold! The temperature was 10 below zero, with a wind
chill. It was the first time since I’ve been here that I got cold. I was trying
to take pictures, and my fingers were freezing! Doug arrived at 6:55 AM. This
was his third consecutive first place victory! His time was 9 days, 19
hours, 55 minutes, 50 seconds. It was not his best time but as I’ve told you
this was a hard trail to run.
It was pitch black outside, and excitement was in the air.
All the media were posed for pictures and interviews with the winner of
the 29th Iditarod Race. A Dodge truck
was at the finish line waiting to be given to Doug, in addition to
his check for $60,000. Luckily, I still had my VIP badge from Anchorage,
so I could once more get right up at the finish line.
When Doug was one mile from the finish line, a siren blew to let the town
know to gather to greet him. I learned that this is the tradition for each
musher. When this blows you have about 10 minutes to put on your layers and
run out! I didn’t know this, so I was out there waiting about an hour before
I needed to be!
Doug’s wife was first to greet him as he arrived at the burled arch. Both
of them then went and hugged each of the dogs.
Next there were many presentations and speeches and lots of media attention.
Meanwhile, the vets were checking each dog.
Doug answered a lot of questions. He said his ultimate goal was to finish
the race with all 16 of his dogs. He had dropped five this time. In answer
to the question what is your next goal, he said "I want to have a shower
and some sleep".
I have a lot more to tell you about Doug, Linwood Fiedler and Jeff King,
the three mushers that arrived today, in first, second and third place. I have
many pictures to share with you – wonderful dogs and exhausted mushers!
These will have to wait until I return. I arrive in Boston on Friday afternoon.
I will do one more journal entry to finish the rest of the trip, and that will
be posted on Saturday.
So, tune in on Saturday for the end of the race, as I saw it. There will
be many wonderful new photos of Mrs. McClintock’s phenomenal teaching journey
to the Iditarod, and the great state of Alaska!
Good night, and see you soon!
Love from Mrs. McClintock