January 23, 2014
The Northern Lights 300 Race Committee regretfully must inform you of the cancellation of the 2014 race. After attempts to wait out the weather for more favorable conditions, current trail and checkpoint reports, and extended weather forecasts, we feel that it is not in the best interest of the dogs, volunteers, and mushers to conduct a race.
We are in the process of seeing what the race committee can do to accommodate all that signed up and made commitments to our 2014 race. Please monitor your email and social media for updates.
Thank you for your patience and understanding and we truly appreciate your dedication to, and support of our race.
Attention all mushers currently signed up for the Northern Lights 300. Race plans are progressing and the trails are holding up and the river is good. We are moving more straw up the river tomorrow.
We are continuing every effort to put on a quality race right up until race morning at which time we will make a final decision. The race committee has agreed to extend the early withdrawal date to Monday evening. If you are concerned about the forecast and wish to withdraw from the race, contact us via email or phone by 6:00pm on Monday, January 20th and we will refund $200 of your entry fee.
If the race must be cancelled, all mushers signed up for the race on race day will receive $350 of their entry fee back. The race will keep $50 per entry to cover already incurred race expenses.
Reminder: Flying food drops out is weather dependent so the sooner your food drops are delivered to Willow Airport on Wednesday, the better the chance of food getting out to checkpoints.
The Aurora Dog Mushers Association is no longer affiliated with the Northern Lights 300 race. If you only joined the Aurora club as a requirement of the NL300 race, you will receive a refund for that membership. If you are a member of the Aurora club from other activities, such as the Aurora 50/50, Alaska Excursions, etc, no refunds will be due.
You will be melting snow for water at Yentna so send plenty of Heet.
Please plan on arriving to vet checks no later than noon on Wednesday.
Keep on preparing and snow/cold dancing and we’ll do the same!
Please email us at NL300race@gmail.com or call Sue at 907 354-8631 if you with to withdraw.
The Northern Lights 300 sled dog race starts Friday, January 24, 2014 at Happy Trails Kennels (HTK) in Big Lake, Alaska. The proposed trail is HTK to Yentna via Willow Swamp (~100 miles), Yentna to Finger Lake (~75 miles), Finger Lake – Yentna (~75 miles), Yentna to HTK (~45 miles). Six hour mandatory layovers at Yentna outbound and inbound and Finger Lake. Race rules and entry forms can be downloaded here.
Some changes to this year’s race:
• Sign up order will be start order.
• Entry fee must be paid by check or money order and applications must be mailed.
• Mandatory drivers’ meeting is Friday, race day, at 8:00am and race starts at noon.
• Mushers must supply their own Heet.
• All mushers will be equipped with a SPOT Tracker.
• There is no finishers’ banquet.
• Purse will be paid out evenly between all official finishers.
Please read the race rules carefully prior to signing up.
Information for Mushers and Musher Support
2014 Race plans are rolling along. Here’s some information that can help you with planning. Please read this carefully.
COMPLEMENTARY VETERINARY EXAM will be on Wednesday, January 22rd, at Happy Trails Kennels. Please arrive at HTK at assigned time by last name: A-I, 9:00am, J-Q, 10:30am; R-Z, 12:00pm. Mushers must provide proof of current vaccinations for distemper, parvo and rabies at time of vet check. Alternately mushers may present a certificate of pre-race exam conducted no earlier than one week prior to race start.
Dropped dog contact forms are due at vet check. Dog tags will be given only after dropped dog contact forms are turned in.
FOOD DROPS must be delivered to the Willow Airport between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 to be eligible for delivery to the checkpoints. The earlier in the day you can get them there, the better chance we can get them flown out in case weather socks in. Signs will be posted on Parks Hwy. All food must be clearly marked with the musher’s name and the checkpoint to which it is to be delivered. There is no limit on the number of drop bags, however, no bag can weigh more than 50 pounds. Mushers must supply their own Heet for each checkpoint. You may send your Heet in additional drop bags.
Martin has offered to haul one return bag per musher back to HTK from Yentna Station.
DROPPED DOGS: A $30.00 fee for each dog dropped will be collected when dog is picked up at HTK. Mushers must make arrangements for pick-up and care of dogs returned to Happy Trails. Mushers wishing to transport their own dropped dogs may do so. PLEASE LEAVE $ WITH YOUR HANDLERS FOR DROPPED DOGS.
MANDATORY DRIVERS’ MEETING will be held Friday, January 24, 2013 at 8:00 AM at Happy Trails Kennels (HTK). Mushers not present for roll call will launch three minutes after the last scheduled team. However, their official time will begin at their originally scheduled starting time. Please park your truck BEFORE the drivers’ meeting.
RACE START: Race starts at HTK at noon on Friday, January 24. There will be a plowed chute for each team. Race will launch from your truck. Each chute is long enough to park one support vehicle and truck or trailer. Pull support vehicle in first, then park truck/trailer so your truck is flush with main chute.
Complementary breakfast will be available at Happy Trails Kennels (HTK) beginning at 7:30.
Food at checkpoints:
Yentna – “We will have spaghetti, of course, probably stew, burgers for day time arrivals, and grilled cheese & soup. Prices range from $12.50 to $15.00. Sodas, candy, chips are $1.50.” Jean and Dan
Finger Lake: Best burritos and fixins known to mankind.
Hospitality Stop at Skwentna for those planning on camping between Yentna and Finger Lake: Bonnie and Steve Childs own a cabin on the river directly across from the Post Office. They have offered to open their cabin, provide stew, bread and hot drinks. Will pack down parking on the river and make a hole in the ice for water.
Please plan on bringing some cash to tip these hard working, gracious people.
2014 NL300 trail Mileage and description
If you are not used to “real mileage”, you might be getting a bit of a surprise on this trip. If the trail is slow, this 300 will take a long time. Remember, most of this trip is an out and back run. So, after the initial fifty mile loop, look back at every major intersection to get an idea how it will look on the way back!
HTK start to Yentna Station 107 miles
(Via cliff trail, Cow Lake, Red shirt Rolly lakes, Willow big Swamp, back towards Big Lake then right on the Smith trail to Iditarod on to Flat horn and up the river)
Yentna Station to Skwentna 33 miles
Skwentna to Finger Lake 40 miles
Finger Lake to Skwentna 40 miles
Skwentna to Yentna Station 33 miles
Yentna Station to HTK finish line 47 miles
Via the Big Su to Flat Horn Lake, Iditarod trail, Smith Trail to Big Lake
Outbound- Start to Skwentna…
Depart the kennel from the truck, out on the airstrip and follow the groomed, well-marked trail to a main trail, 30 foot wide. The first three miles are common trail near the start finish; it will also be “No mans land” for the return.
A “gee” and one mile later a “haw” are the only commands needed to get you to Little Cow Lake (calf lake). From here, a gentle right hand turn on little cow gets you to Cow Lake. On Cow Lake the trail again, gently veers to the right into a portage to Red Shirt Lake,(3 miles long) Exit on the north end, follow the only trail to South Rolly Lake.
Now you will get on the Nancy Lake Park road for only about ¼ mile and take a “haw” to the Willow Trail System.
North Rolly and Rolly pond are the next little lakes. The trail will Tee and you take a right onto the Willow Swamp Loop Trail ( marked and identified with yellow triangles.). You have come 25 miles. Follow the willow Swamp loop all the way around (counterclockwise) and then head straight(south) to the Big Swamp, also well-marked and labeled, this trail will bring you to the old Iron dog trail. Here the trail tees again, hang a “haw” back towards Big Lake. Quick note about the Big Lake trails: if you see red triangular reflectors, you are going away from Big Lake, if you see green triangle reflectors, you are heading towards BL.
You will see some “trail 11” signs. Once you get to the trail 11 / trail 6 intersection, veer left and follow trail six towards Big Lake. This main trail will get you back almost all the way to Big Lake. Eventually, immediately after a steep gully, you will have to leave this nice rolling trail and make a hard right onto the ………
“Smith trail”. For logistical reasons, please don’t camp before you complete this loop, lots of awesome camp spots from now on. There will be a volunteer here. Give your name and number and follow this trail south. You have completed the fifty-mile loop; your return will take the continuation of the trail you now are turning off. (On the home stretch you will take a gee and within six miles the race will be over)
The Smith Trail heads south. In a mile you will cross the little Su river .Two lakes and another little Su crossing later you will turn right onto the Iditarod trail. There is a big sign directing you to Flat Horn Lake, go gee and then look back, this is a mayor turn on the return!
Flat Horn, dismal swamp and on up the Big Su is a major route, well marked.
The annual bottleneck and point of confusion is the confluence of the Yentna into the Big Su. Going out, the trail will veer to the left up the Yentna. Follow the markers, but also look back and try to remember this intersection. (More on the return)
Yentna river to Yentna Station and on up to Skwentna is all straightforward river running. Look at the directional travel, there often are various, but mostly parallel trails going up and down the rivers. Should there be a turn, it will be well marked.
Skwentna-Finger Lake Loop…
Skwentna to Finger Lake is a mostly overland trail, well marked forty miles that can feel like 60!
Return from Finger the same way.
Inbound- Skwentna, Yentna station and on down the Yentna river…
At the confluence of the Big Su and Yentna, make sure you veer right, if it is dark, head for the glow of Anchorage. If you see a green and white sign giving you a choice to go to Point McKenzie or Deshka Landing go to wards Point McKenzie!!!!! Down the Big Su a few more miles then exit the river to the left to go back to the Dismal Swamp, Flat Horn Lake and the Iditarod trail.
Two miles after the famous Nome sign, turn left up the “Smith Trail”(been here on the way out). You will cross the little Susitna River twice. A mile a after the second little Su River crossing, hang a right towards Big Lake, 6 miles to go. (This is where you came in on from the left on the initial fifty, you don’t have to do that loop again!
The right hand turn will take you down “dead dog hill” and straight into the Big Lake trail system. Stay on this main trail, in three miles you will see the “no mans land sign” and eventually hang a left towards the kennel. If it is dark, the kennel is lit up!