Iditarod 40: The Trail. Kaltag to Unalakleet

Iditarod 40: The Trail. Kaltag to Unalakleet   85 Miles

From Kaltag, the trail exits from the northwest end of the runway. The next 15 miles run through spruce forest and open areas along the Kaltag River, climbing gently to the summit of the Portage. Continuing through similar terrain, it starts down the Unalakleet drainage to Old Woman Cabin at the base of Old Woman Mountain. This mountain is an excellent landmark. The trail continues past the mountain and runs along the left side of the Unalakleet drainage. The terrain is gentle rolling hills. Little or no vegetation can be seen along the trail until near Unalakleet. Approximately five miles out of town the trail hits the river. With the exception of a few short portages across horseshoe bends, the trail follows the river into Unalakleet. The last 32 miles (from Old Woman Mountain) is often windy and the snow is usually wind packed and crusty. In fact, the entire coast is often very windy.

Unalakleet (YOU-na-la-kleet) — (UNK) Lat 63.53 Long 160.42 — Population 692 — Situated on the coast of Norton Sound, just north of the Unalakleet River, this village is the largest community on the Iditarod Trail between Willow and Nome. Two well-stocked stores as well as two restaurants can be found here along with limited lodging by advance booking. The trail is now entering the gateway to the Bering Sea and from here on the mushers can expect sudden storms and an ample supply of wind. The checkpoint is in front of the A.C. store.