K300 considers rerouting river trail inbound to Kalskag

by Ben Matheson on January 18, 2014

The front pack of K300 mushers left Kalskag after drying out clothes and sledbags during their first rest of the race at the 100 mile mark. KYUK’s Will Peterson reports that water on the river trail soaked the dogs and the mushers, making for a midrace slog. Mushers told Peterson that the trail was not marked well and that large amounts of water sat on the ice. Upon arrival, Paul Gebhardt bailed water out of his sled bag with a dog dish and Nathan Underwood said it was a “nightmare.”

“I needed a dirt bike for the first part of the race and a jet ski for the second,” said racer Rolland Trowbridge of his first 100 miles.

Ken Anderson navigates a wet, and now crusty, trail out of the Kalskag checkpoint. Water began turning to ice Saturday morning with temperatures just below freezing. Photo by Shane Iverson.

Ken Anderson navigates a wet, and now crusty trail out of the Kalskag checkpoint. Water began turning to ice saturday morning with temperatures just below freezing. Photo by Shane Iverson.

Peterson says the race committee is considering a change to the course to avoid more time on the river. If the change goes ahead, when teams reach Aniak after completing the Whitefish lake run, they would turn around and repeat that leg instead of advancing on the river to Kalskag. That would add another 30 miles to the trail. A decision was not made as of Saturday morning. Aniak crews were scheduled to evaluate the trail today.

Paul Gebhardt was the first musher out of Kalskag at 7:30 Saturday morning. He was followed by Rohn Buser at 7:57, Martin Buser at 8:09, and Jeff King at 8:13. Gebhardt spent three hours and twenty minutes in the checkpoint, while the other three front teams took about four hours in Kalskag. Teams have the option this year to split up their six hours of discretionary rest in one hour increments in Kalskag or Aniak.

Pete Kaiser, Mike Williams Junior, and Richie Diehl arrived closed together in between 4:49 and 4:53. All three teams were still resting in the checkpoint at 9:30 Saturday morning.

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