Iditarod mushers slowly made their way up and over Rainy Pass, then down into the sometimes treacherous Dalzell Gorge Tuesday, with leaders pushing on toward Nikolai and Takotna overnight.
As the race proceeded on ground, Alaska pararescuers were recovering the bodies of three Eagle River, Alaska, residents who'd been flying out along the trail, toward the Takotna checkpoint just beyond Rainy Pass, when their plane disappeared on Monday. Guardian angels of the Alaska Air National Guard on Tuesday spotted the Cessna 182's wreckage at about 4,000-feet above sea level, Tuesday, as back-of-the-pack mushers cautiously went up and over.
Pilot Michael Schoder of Anchorage, who flew a Super Cub through Rainy Pass Monday morning, called it "one of the wildest rides" he'd ever had.
"You seriously had to have your shit together. ... Basically a huge down draft down the Dalzell (Gorge) all the way to Rohn. I was seeing wind of 50 mph and moderate to severe turbulence. I came eastbound (back toward Anchorage) at 1 p.m. at 6,000 feet. Better -- but still intense," Schoder said via email.