Tales From the Trail
|A line of drop bags ready to be weighed and packed on pallets in the airplane hangar. (Photo: Courtsey of Hannah Moderow)|
February 7—Pre Race
Drop Bags, Part II
The drop bags are gone! This is a reason for celebration. Other than the gear I will pack in my dogsled at the start of the expedition, everything is on its way to the trail between Nenana and Nome. No more packaging raw meat. No more booties. No more cooking human food. We are many steps closer to takeoff.
Mom and I each packed 33 drop bags, which means we sent out 66 in total. You can do the math, too, but if you figure about 50 pounds per drop bag, that means we sent 3,300 pounds of gear. Two pickup trucks were needed to transport our gear.
We delivered the bags to an airplane hangar in Anchorage. Lifting 50-pound bags is no small task!
Serum Run expedition members worked together to weigh each bag to determine postage rates. The bags were then separated on different pallets according to their checkpoint locations. My job was to work with the postage meter, and ensure that each bag was tagged with the correct destination.
You may wonder how these bags are delivered to the villages along the way. The checkpoints are not accessible by road, so all of our drop bags will be sent by airplane. If you consider there are 14 mushers participating in the Serum Run, with roughly 1,650 pounds of gear each, that means we sent out over 23,000 pounds of gear!
It is hard to believe that the next time I see my drop bags, we will be under way on the Serum Run trail. All the hours spent packaging provisions will pay off when I pull into a checkpoint, and the dogs and I enjoy great food and gear replenishments.
Hannah Moderow is a musher and writer for Scholastic News Online.