Iditarod 40: The Trail. Rainy Pass Lodge to Rohn

Iditarod 40: The Trail. Rainy Pass Lodge to Rohn    35 Miles

Puntilla Lake (Rainy Pass Lodge) is 1835′ above sea level and from here the trail climbs through Rainy Pass reaching 3160′ above sea level. From the lodge the trail climbs a small hill and enters the valley. It runs on the north side of the ridge that separates the Indian Creek drainage from Happy River drainage. The trail gradually crosses to the right side of the valley and where Happy River forks three ways, follows Pass Creek (the right fork) into Rainy Pass itself. The climb this far is gentle but the terrain is barren with a few willow thickets and the snow is wind packed to ice and very rough. Once across Rainy Pass Lake (Puntilla Lake), the trail climbs to the summit and descends along Dalzell Creek. Dalzell Creek runs to the Tatina River and here the trail turns sharply left and continues five to six miles to the Rohn checkpoint.

Rohn (RONE) — (ROH) Lat 62.35 Long 153.21 — Population 0 — This area is tied with Rainy Pass as having the most spectacular scenery. The gateway to the interior, Rohn Roadhouse marks the transition point where the mushers start to venture into the flatlands of the interior, along with dropping temperatures. Situated near the confluence of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim and Tatina Rivers, the area served as one of the original Iditarod Trail Roadhouses for the dog teams carrying mail, etc. The actual roadhouse is gone, so the checkpoint is a cabin built in the 1930’s. Note: Most press mistakenly refer to this as Rohn River checkpoint, but there is no Rohn River. It’s Rohn Roadhouse. Many mushers take their mandatory 24-hour layover here, before heading across the bleak but treacherous Farewell Burn area. No facilities or lodging are available at Rohn.

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