Iditarod 40: The Trail. Unalakleet to Shaktoolik

Iditarod 40: The Trail. Unalakleet to Shaktoolik    40 Miles

To Shaktoolik, the trail crosses several low ridges with mostly gentle and moderate grades. The vegetation is stunted spruce and willow thickets. Leaving Unalakleet, the trail turns northward and parallels the coast to Power, then turns inland, crossing behind Blueberry Point. It then drops back toward the coast at Egavik, a summer fish camp. A series of long low hills is crossed with grades being moderate to gentle but some are up to a mile long. The crest of the last ridge is about 17 miles from Shaktoolik and the village is visible from here. The next four to five miles are down a moderate to steep serpentine grade through willow thickets and stunted spruce. The turns are moderate but can be extremely slick. At the bottom, the trail follows the coastal dune on the landward side the last 12 miles to Shaktoolik. The trail from the bottom of the hill to the checkpoint runs over ice on the Shaktoolik River and is often rough. The village is on the left.

Shaktoolik (Shak-TOO-lick) — (SHAK) Lat 64.20 Long 161.10 –Population 258 — One look down the street at the snowdrifts will tell you this is one of the windiest stretches of the trail. From here the trail continues overland for a short distance, then leads the mushers out onto the ice of Norton Bay, one of the most treacherous segments of trail that the musher may have to contend with. The checkpoint is at the armory.