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Photos: Takotna, the friendliest Iditarod checkpoint

The post office in Takotna, population 50. March 8, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Heating water at the Takotna checkpoint. March 9, 2011
Stephen Nowers photo
Dog teams rest in the sun during Iditarod 2011. March 9, 2011
Stephen Nowers photo
Heating water at the Takotna checkpoint. March 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Jake Berkowitz feeds his dogs at the Takotna checkpoint. March 7, 2012.
Loren Holmes photo
Mitch Seavey leaving the Takotna checkpoint. March 8, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Mushers and volunteers at the Takotna checkpoint watch an Iditarod Insider video of Ray Redington Jr, 3rd from left, crashing as he went over Rainy Pass. March 7, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
The Takotna parking service, a volunteer group of foreign exchange students, help manage the influx of teams in the village, which is the most popular spot on the trail for mushers to take their 24-hour layover. March 8, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
A snowman dog team in Takotna. March 8, 2012
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Some mushers from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race call Takotna the friendliest checkpoint along the 1,000-mile trail. Many mushers will take their mandatory 24-hour layover in this Athabascan village located in a scenic river valley.

In the early 1900s, Takotna was the last stop on a river route for sternwheelers carrying supplies bound for Bethel. Now with only about 50 residents, the village struggles to avoid becoming a ghost town.