Video: A warm welcome for mushers at the Takotna checkpoint

The Iditarod checkpoint of Takotna is renowned for its hospitality and delicious homemade pies. The village has a population of 50 but grows to over 120 during the race. The checkpoint is all volunteer-run and the community spirit makes it one of the most desirable spots for mushers to take their 24-hour mandatory rest. A small group of dedicated Norwegian volunteers make the trip to Takotna every year to support the effort.

Dick and Jan Newton started the checkpoint decades ago with their friend Puddens Anderson, and with the help of many others made it what it is today. They not only have hot water for all of the mushers, they prepare home-cooked meals, pies and cakes and have volunteers to help park dog teams and deliver food bags.

Newton and his friend Dr. Paul Sayer have also had a tradition for the past 24 years of riding the trail from Takotna to Nome and back on snowmachines to assist any emergencies mushers might have along the way. The two have many stories of helping mushers, including assisting a stranded Jeff King in 2014 after his dog team quit running during a terrible storm between White Mountain and Nome.

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Tara Young

Tara Young was a video journalist for ADN.