Back in Nome, Phil's 5-year-old daughter Hannah glanced out the window and announced that it was raining. "I don't think it's raining, honey," Phil replied. But as we opened the curtains, we saw a river of water gushing down the street. The stream was gathering in slushy eddies and freezing to the curbs in tiers of ice. A water pipe had burst in the cold and flooded the street. Children were outside splashing through the flood like they were playing in puddles during a summer rainstorm. The temperature was still well into the minus twenties.
I intended to say hello and see you soon, and then leave, so as to not interfere with their race. But I decided it couldn't hurt to shadow them for a short while and listen to the dispatches, not unlike listening to Beat on his sat phone. He talked excitedly about his adventures and gear adjustments he was already making in his mind. It was tough for me to break away — both because I was so happy to see him, and because walking was a more enjoyable activity for my chilled feet than pedaling. But Beat gently suggested that I was skirting that uncomfortable edge of support, so I bowed out.
Of course I couldn't help but linger long enough to take a few pictures on the way out.
Beat and Marco hoisted their sleds and stepped up there together at 7 p.m. on the dot, Sunday, March 24. A full 28 days, and a round calendar month, had passed since they launched from Knik Lake on the cloudy afternoon of February 24. To a few people who stopped on the street to congratulate them, they were "the guys who walked from Anchorage."