Photos: Scenes from the Shaktoolik checkpoint
Shaktoolik is one of the smallest communities along the Iditarod route.
Its location along the Bering Sea coast means mushers often face strong winds and blowing snow. This year's race was no exception.
Our crew visited the community as many of the top ten mushers were taking a break. The tights quarters of the Army National Guard Armory serve as the checkpoint.
Veteran musher and fan-favorite DeeDee Jonrowe accompanied us on our trip. The community welcomed her in like a celebrity member of the family, posing repeatedly for photos.
Kids hovered around mushers, lobbing a steady stream of questions as they removed booties and prepared food for their teams.
Many of the mushers told a similar story -- they struggled to keep their teams on the trail into Shaktoolik. Snow drifts created by the high winds had covered the trail.