• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 45s

Musher deals with devastating news on the trail

By Heather Hintze 11:02 PM March 17, 2017
NOME –

Iditarod competitors were allowed to carry and use cell phones for the first time during the race.

For one musher a call home didn’t go as planned.

Minnesota musher Gunnar Johnson was at the Galena checkpoint when he caught up with our KTVA crew. He was enjoying life off of the grid.

“Since I started the race I haven’t had any cell service, I haven’t had any Wi-Fi,” he told Dave Goldman. “I’m living the wireless life and it’s refreshing. I feel a little bad I haven’t been able to call my wife, but other than that the cell phone was completely worthless.”

Johnson’s cell phone was buried in his bag, so Goldman let Johnson borrow his phone so he could check in at home.

“Hey, it’s Gunnar from Galena,” he said when his wife answered.

A few minutes into the phone call Johnson got some devastating news.

“Oh Ingrid, I’m so sorry. Your dad was a wonderful person.”

His father-in-law passed away unexpectedly, just hours before the restart four days earlier.

“That’s not the phone call I wanted,” Johnson said.

Johnson pushed through, finishing the race where his wife met him under the Burled Arch.

“You’ve got the toughness of the race, but finding that would was devastating. That shook me,” Johnson said. “I had to reevaluate where I was and double down and say this is about finishing the race.”

His wife Ingrid said she wasn’t sure whether she should tell him.

“I didn’t want to hide it from him and I didn’t want to mess up his race. My dad was really excited and really proud of Gunnar and absolutely wanted him to run the race,” she said at the finish line.

Being reunited in Nome, Johnson and his family can now get through the loss together.

KTVA 11’s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Hello spring? Anchorage may get 5 to 9 inches of snow overnight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 16:41

    The National Weather Service says Anchorage residents should expect between 5 and 9 inches of wet snow through Wednesday morning. The NWS issued a winter weather advisory that will be in effect from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday. Watch the entire KTVA Weather forecast at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. “Periods of snow […]

  • Weather

    KTVA Weather Lab: Aquarian Charter School

    by Melissa Frey on Mar 28, 15:56

    In this week’s KTVA Weather Lab, I visited Aquarian Charter School in Anchorage, where the second and third graders in Ms. Sarah and Ms. Stacy’s classes have been tracking the weather all year. I also answered the question of the week: What do meteorologists do on an average day? Every Tuesday, Melissa Frey will take the KTVA […]

  • News

    Multiple agencies searching for missing seal hunter in Western Alaska

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 15:38

    Last updated at 4:46 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 Multiple agencies and search and rescue groups are working together to find a Newtok seal hunter who was reported overdue Monday morning. Alaska State Troopers received word that 59-year-old Tom John was overdue around 11:45 a.m., more than 24 hours after he left the village of […]

  • Politics

    Meet the candidates: District 5 – Seat I – East Anchorage

    by Daniella Rivera on Mar 28, 15:21

    KTVA invited every registered candidate running in the upcoming Anchorage municipal election to an on-camera interview at our studios to discuss the following topics: Balancing the budget Public safety Introducing new taxes Addressing homelessness in Anchorage Plans for the future We also asked each candidate to submit a 300-word biography, each of which has been […]

  • News

    Anchorage police respond to report of gunfire between 2 vehicles in Northeast Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 12:11

    Anchorage police officers were called to Northeast Anchorage Monday evening shortly before 7 p.m. after witnesses in the area reported hearing gunshots. One witness told the Anchorage Police Department that multiple shots had been fired between two vehicles near the intersection of 11th Avenue and Turpin Street, according to a release from APD spokesperson Renee […]

  • Sports

    GCI Great Alaska Shootout: Same tournament, different marketing strategy

    by Dave Goldman on Mar 28, 11:56

    This November, the GCI Great Alaska Shootout has a big anniversary — it turns 40. The tournament’s look has changed over the years. Now, University of Alaska Anchorage’s athletic director, Keith Hackett, is marketing it that way too. For decades the tournament featured some of the biggest programs in college basketball. But the days of the […]

  • News

    Trump signs order rolling back Obama-era environmental efforts

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 11:42

    President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that will roll back many of former President Barack Obama’s efforts to curb global warming. The order is aimed at helping spur American energy jobs. The president signed the order at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump says this is “the start of a new […]

  • Lifestyle

    Power outage leaves Juneau skiers dangling on chair lift

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 9:29

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A weekend power outage at Juneau’s Eaglecrest Ski Area left 200 skiers temporarily dangling. The Juneau Empire reports three chairlifts that use power from Alaska Electric Light & Power shut down Sunday morning during an outage. Alaska Electric Light &Power spokeswoman Debbie Driscoll says a squirrel made contact with energized and […]