Into the Wild

Iditarod Air Force

The official Air Force logo

The official Air Force logo

Puntilla Lake is an official checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail. I had no idea how much effort goes into preparing the trail for this race. Not only stakes and markers, but also bridges, tree cutting, and snow shoveling are part of the preparations. This is all done by volunteers, who work long hours in the cold.

Last night a trail crew arrived in the dark, frozen beards, wet boots and all. Reluctantly they drank a cup of coffee and some water before heading back out into the night.

During the day we had a fleet of volunteer pilots drop tons of hay, dog food, and other supplies. When I say tons I am not exaggerating. It was a beautiful day for flying. There is an official logo for these volunteer pilots: The Iditarod Air Force. The pilots all seemed to be proud and enthusiastic to be part of that race.

Marty

Marty

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One Man's Paradise

Fill’er up…

Barry

This is Barry, one of our heroes.

He runs Alaska Flying Services and flies a small Cessna that is carrying a payload of 160 gallons of diesel or gasoline, which keeps the lights on at our lodge. It is amazing to see him and other pilots transporting dangerous goods safely day in day out in this rough winter weather.

Our lake has survived the warm spell pretty well. Experienced pilots like Barry do land on the icy runway, but they take off in the middle of the lake. There are jut a few bumps from moose, caribou and a few ski tracks that we left while exploring the surroundings.

One more week and we are expecting the Iron Dog racers, officials, pilots and spectators. In the meantime, we look forward seeing Barry a few more times stocking up our fuel supply.

takeoff

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