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Photos: Iditarod 2013 in Takotna

Snow falls on the Takotna post office. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dallas and Mitch Seavey relax in the Takotna checkpoint during their 24 hour rest stops. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Paul Gebhardt at the Takotna checkpoint. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
2011 Iditarod champion John Baker tending to his dogs in the Takotna checkpoint, where he and many other mushers chose to take their mandatory 24 hour rest stops. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dogs in Mitch Seavey's team are all ears at the sound of dinner. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Ken Anderson makes dinner for his team at the Takotna checkpoint. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Flags of all the countries represented in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race adorn the trail outside the checkpoint in Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Cindy Gallea arrives in Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Musher headlamps streak the night sky as they tend to their teams in Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Rookie Joar Leifseth Ulsom feeds his dogs in Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Mitch Seavey leaving Takotna after completing his mandatory 24 hour rest stop. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
The Berington twins, Kristy and Anna, relaxing in the Takotna checkpoint. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Aliy Zirkle preparing to leave Takotna after completing her 24 hour rest stop. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Volunteers help walk Aliy Zirkle's team to the start line in Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Louie Ambrose returning to Takotna. He thought he could make the trip to Ophir, but his team felt otherwise and he was forced to turn back 3 miles out of Takotna. March 6, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Ray Redington's team was eager to get on the trail in Takotna. March 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Ray Redington Jr. leaving Takotna. March 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
DeeDee Jonrowe checking the time before leaving Takotna. March 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
DeeDee Jonrowe's team was ready to hit the trail again after spending their 24 hour rest stop in Takotna. March 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
2012 Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey getting his dogs ready to leave Takotna. March 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Pies wait for the mushers at the Takotna checkpoint
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Of all the towns along the Iditarod Trail from Willow to Nome, none may be a more welcome sight for mushers than Takotna. The village of about 50 residents is located on the banks of the Takotna River, and it has become a favored stop for racers taking their one mandatory 24-hour layover during the race.  

Why? It's small and welcoming, with a store and restaurant. The pies baked at the latter are famous among Iditarod mushers from one generation to the next. 

Takotna took off shortly after the turn of the century, when gold discoveries in the upper Innoko Region allowed the town to prosper. By 1919, several commercial companies, roadhouses, a post office, and about 50 houses had been constructed. Two years later, the Alaska Road Commission improved the Takotna-Ophir road, and an airfield was constructed. 

Mushers like taking their long breaks in Takotna because hundreds of miles of desolate trail devoid of human settlements lies ahead as the Iditarod Trail passes through the ghost towns of Ophir and Iditarod. Best to fuel up when you can.