One thing the Interior Alaska village of Huslia, famous for its successful sled dog racers, can’t lay claim to is being a checkpoint for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. That's changing this year, and the residents are thrilled. Suzanna Caldwell
Only once in its 42-year history has the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race not started from Southcentral Alaska. Here's what the race looked like in 2003, when it started from Fairbanks. This year, poor snow coverage on rugged stretches of the Iditarod Trail north of the Alaska Range has prompted the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race board of directors to move the restart to Fairbanks again.
Perhaps the biggest surprise for Galena came from mushers. Generally, Iditarod dog drivers arrive in the community of 400 Friday night or that afternoon at the earliest, but with this year's blistering pace, volunteers running the checkpoint were surprised to see two-time runner-up Aliy Zirkle pull into the checkpoint just after 6 a.m.Suzanna Caldwell
Brinker has hung on as the owner and operator of a log-cabin Bush lodge since 1978 because she likes it -- and there are just enough part-time residents at Shell Lake and visitors that she can survive. "I don't make a lot of money,'' she confesses, "but it supports my lifestyle. I just love the wilderness.''Craig Medred