Many people have asked me if I have heard from Mike. I had not heard from him since the start of the race, but I was hoping that he might call during his 24. (My one fear was that he would not remember our phone number!) However, he not only remembered it, but found time and a phone to call on. His report was filled with great news. He says that the dogs are doing incredibly. They have been running at a really steady pace, which has kept them happy and healthy. He is taking great care of them and is totally impressed by their performance and attitudes. He said that he himself is doing great. He is eating and feels very sharp, despite the lack of sleep. He plans to get some good rest tonight. He has finally had a chance to take his boots off. He said the only chance he had to go inside before this was for an hour in Nikolai.
Overall, he kept expressing how awesome his experience has been. When I asked him what I should tell people he said it is "indescribable." I can't even begin to imagine the country that he is having a chance to see and the connection he is experiencing with the dogs. Mike explains that the relationship between a musher and his dogs is akin to military comrades. Both he and the dogs are vested in their mutual success. Hence the level of trust they develop and their understanding of each other's needs, habits, and nuances is extraordinary.
I have definitely been enjoying the 24 hour break. I still find myself checking the GPS info, even though I know he is staying still. Mike gave me an interesting perspective on the trackers. He said that each time it sends a signal to the satelites, it does so with a little flash of red light. So just as we are thinking of him every 15 minutes, as the report updates, he is also thinking of us watching him.
|Photo Sarah Waterman|
Tomorrow will bring more movement down the trail. It is a short 20 miles to Ophir, but then 80 miles to Iditarod and still a total of 620 miles to Nome. Until tomorrow I hope you are all having as much fun with your dogs as Mike is with ours.