We can’t embed Iditarod’s trackers here, but the amazing MacB has helped us visualize each section of the trail. Check back here to see where Will will be heading next!
Skwentna to Deshka Landing
The Iditarod has never followed the 2021 route before, so the Iditarod has no descriptions of the checkpoints run in reverse. Instead, here is a rerun of these checkpoints in the original direction, Deshka Landing to Skwentna.
The trail begins on Willow Lake and winds through typical northern forests, consisting of alternating birch woods and spruce swamps. Most of the trail is flat to gently rolling hills. Most of the hills are around the Susitna River. The Yentna Station Checkpoint is located 18 miles upriver from the confluence of the Susitna and Yentna Rivers, at the Yentna Station Roadhouse, a long-time supporter and partner of the Iditarod that is also a wilderness lodge and bed & breakfast and a great place for spectators. Mushers pass through the Yentna Station Roadhouse checkpoint in a matter of hours due to being the first checkpoint off the road system! They will spread out from here.
From Yentna Station to Skwentna is all on the Yentna River, with the last few miles up the Skwentna River to the checkpoint. The river stays between well-defined banks for about five miles upstream from Yentna Station (a wilderness lodge and haven for mushers and snowmachiners, and a long time partner of the Iditarod since sometime around 1982!), and also for the last 15 miles into Skwentna. In the middle 15 miles it branches out into a maze of channels and sloughs, any of which can have a trail for local traffic. This is normally a fast run with no hills, provided the trail is in good shape; most teams make the leg in three to four and a half hours.