As you can see, there's no snow in Anchorage. Temperatures were in the 40s on Saturday. I've been trying to guess what the first part of the Iditarod Trail might be like — of course until you're right on top of it, it's almost impossible to say. My guess would be swampy, icy, and slushy for the first 50-75 miles, followed by new, wet snow until mile 110, and beyond there, perhaps a lot of new snow moved around by recent wind events. There have been reports of standing water and Sunday's forecast calls for rain, so I'm mentally preparing for what I think of as "Juneau misery" for the first day, and gearing up as best as I can with extra plastic bags, an extra couple of pairs of socks, and gaiters (which I didn't plan to bring, but I want to keep my overboots dry and avoid wearing out my Wiggy's waders on the first day of the trip.) Forty below gets all the glory, but it's easy to underestimate how cold you can become when it's 40 degrees and raining, and you're pedaling through standing water and slush spray for 12-plus hours.
Which means that I showed up in Anchorage hoping I'd cull some things from my bags, but instead added more. You pack your fears. I have a lot of fears.
But for the most part I'm happy with my set-up. I feel prepared to be alone and take care of myself in most any weather, including 40 below, and have most of what I need (besides food, water, and fuel) to be out in a remote, harsh place for a month if needed. The bike is not light, and I do not know how much it weighs (this is information I'd rather not know, to be honest. It won't really make a difference in what I bring, and it will just make me feel bad about myself. Much like any scale.) I did confirm I can pick it up and carry it at least a short distance. But Erik is a hefty beast:
I am excited to get started, though. No matter what, it will be an adventure, and full of the intense experiences that make up my best memories. I am taking it one mile at a time, with no expectations and a goal only to stay on the trail as long as I'm healthy, and come home uninjured.
The 2016 Iditarod Trail Invitational tracker is located at this link: http://trackleaders.com/iti16
There won't be many opportunities to check in from the trail, but I'll try to post an occasional update to my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jill.homer.1 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlaskaJill
Wish me luck. I will need it. :)