TAKOTNA, Alaska -- Montana musher Jessie Royer began a mandatory 24-hour layover in Takotna on Wednesday, the fourth day of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Royer, who grew up outside of Ennis and also has lived near Philipsburg and Darby, arrived in Takotna in third place at 3:12 a.m. (MST). As of 8 p.m. (MST), she was in 16th place as 12 mushers chose to take their layover at other places along the 1,000-mile trail.
A storm on Tuesday night left deep snow on the trail and moved several veteran mushers to take their layover early, according to reports. Every team is required to take a 24-hour layover during the event, which usually finishes in about nine days.
"Nice day in Takotna, good for resting dogs but not for running dogs," Royer texted 406mtsports.com Wednesday night. "Hope it cools off soon. Dogs feeling better but have a few that have sore muscles."
As of 6 p.m. Alaska time, the temperature in Takotna was 30 degrees -- about the same as across Montana. The huskies prefer running in weather 20 to 30 degrees cooler.
Royer has 14 of her 16 dogs in Takotna, a Native community of 52 in the Takotna River Valley in Alaska's interior. Dropped dogs are flown by the "Iditarod Air Force" Back to Anchorage, where they're looked after by prison inmates.
"Had to drop one of my main leaders Phazer in McGrath," Royer said. "My other main leader Ranger probably get dropped soon, too. Still have some good younger leaders."
Fellow Montanan Brett Bruggeman, a rookie from Great Falls, was in Takotna as well and listed in 32nd place.
The leader was Joar Leifseth Ulsom of Norway, who departed the Ophir checkpoint at 6:42 p.m. (MST) Wednesday. He has yet to take his layover.
The Iditarod is following its more remote southern route for the first time in five years.