Iditarod 40: The Trail. Cripple to Ruby 70 Miles
Leaving Cripple, the country stays the same for 15 to 20 miles. Then the trees get larger and thicker, with larger rolling hills. At Bear Creek, the trail enters a cat trail that should be easy to follow. At Sulatna Crossing (steel bridge), most of the mushers stop to rest and feed their dogs. (Sulatna Crossing is not a checkpoint.) There is a small lake on the left. Immediately after the bridge, the trailbreakers will punch out 15 to 20 parking spots for dog teams. The trail follows this road all the way to Ruby Hills. There are many long grades and much side hill to travel.
Ruby (ROO-bee) — Lat. 64.44 N Long 155.29W — Population 173 — The first checkpoint on the famous Yukon River, the longest river in Alaska, stretching 1,875 miles from its headwaters in the Yukon Territory of Canada to the Bering Sea. Gold was discovered here in 1907, but no town was established until 1911 when additional gold deposits were discovered on Long Creek, causing a rush of prospectors to the area. This is the home of 1975 Iditarod champion Emmitt Peters. Ruby was home for many of the mushers who carried mail for the Northern Commercial Company from Tanana to Ruby. The trip took four days and paid $5 a day. Dog team mail ended here in 1931. The checkpoint is in the community hall.