Klaus, Shawn, and Tony have arrived in McGrath late this evening. We are waiting to hear about Howard Cook’s arrival in the morning. The first Iditarod mushers have already come and gone through McGrath and this is the 9th day of the 2013 ITI. Meanwhile 6 racers are on their way to Nome on the Southern Route, Bob, Ausilia and Sebastiano are in the ghost town of Iditarod. Once a thriving gold mining town of 10,000 a hundred years ago. Today the populations is zero and Iditarod awakens every two years during the ITI and Iditarod. The BLM has built 3 more shelter cabins along the way between Ophir and Shageluk and they are marking the trail as I write this. map and location of shelter cabins Beyond Iditarod there is currently no trail. Until tomorrow when the Iditarod trail breakers ( a group of longtime Iditarod volunteers on several snowmachines) come through. They are punching in a trail tomorrow which might help. Unfortunately the temperatures have been unseasonably warm in the Interior of Alaska, up in the 40′s which can turn a trail into the consistency of mashed potatoes and make trails unrideable for bikers and slow for walkers as well. The best time is to travel at night when the trails might firm up a bit. The first village they reach on the Southern Route is Shageluk Population 139 — The name is an Ingalik Indian name meaning â€œvillage of the dog people,â€ and when the Iditarod hits town, that is especially true. Adolph Hamilton, who lives here, helped race organizers find the original trail to the town of Iditarod, even though he had only been over it once, many years before with his father, as a small boy. http://iditarod.com/race/2013/checkpoints/14-Shageluk/ I have been in contact with the school principal and keep them informed about the race progress. Along the villages along the Iditarod Trail, the school is the only place to accomodate visitors. For a fee racers have a warm place to sleep,use of kitchen,dry out their clothing, shower and use internet and phone. Those are all great things to enjoy when you are coming off a long section of trail. Kathi M.