It's a long haul between Ophir and the next waypoint, the town of Ruby. It's interesting that even though Mike isn't getting any physical benefit from towns and cabins along the way they are very real mental waypoints (of course, they are potential bailouts should things go awry).
Mike struggled to be able to come up with any flowing prose for this section of the trail. Interestingly, both Jill and I have failed to post anything about it too, though that is perhaps more a coincidence than a function of the trail or a lack of inspiration.
At this writing, Mike is nearing a waypoint of sorts, that of Sulatna Crossing. Just a river crossing, from all I know. By the end of tomorrow he should be to Ruby, and likely more than ready to being the next phase of the trail. (If you haven't seen it here is the tracker's projection chart, that predicts arrival times).
He posted this photo from the Ophir->Ruby leg,
saying that it was about as scenic as it got the entire time. Bummer. It was a very long 'low' point for him, so hopefully this year things are staying a little more positive.
One of the Iditarod photogs captured some nice shots of Mike.
In that last one he looks a little thin to me. He estimates that his daily caloric deficit will result in losing about a pound per day. Think about that for a second -- a pound a day! That's a loss of twelve pounds so far. Also, in 2008 (when the photo above was taken) he started about 10 pounds heavier than he did this year, so he at this point I'd say he's at "race weight" and then some. As he put it to me once, if he finishes this trip, he won't be winning any arm wrestling contests at the Nome Nugget.
Otherwise, all indications point to things going smoothly. He's putting in consistent hours and consistent speeds, and still is on pace to finish (just barely!) given his allotted 24 days of food and fuel. It's amazing to think of all that has gone on in our daily lives over the last ~13 days, and that Mike has been moving forward, completely supporting himself and with an unwavering determination, this entire time. Keep it up, Mike!