The 2012 Iditarod race is now well into the first week, and the leaders are getting close to the halfway point. When they reach the next checkpoint in McGrath, nine checkpoints from the start of the race in Anchorage, they will be 646 miles from the finish in Nome.
Mushers are required to take a 24-hour layoff during the race, and the preview of the current stage of the race from the official Iditarod website notes that the checkpoint after the stage between Nikolai and McGrath is a popular one for that layover.
The McGrath checkpoint in recent years has been in a house a couple of blocks east of the airport, right on the river. It has become a popular place for mushers to take their mandatory 24-hour layovers because of the excellent facilities there, including a 24-hour kitchen for mushers and staff.
The leading mushers left Nikolai on Tuesday night and should arrive in McGrath sometime on Wednesday. The current weather conditions aren't bad at all; it's warmer in Nikolai and McGrath than it is elsewhere along the race route. You can find the race map and checkpoints list here.
Coverage of the 2012 Iditarod can be found on the official website. With a subscription, one can track riders by way of GPS and watch video from the various checkpoints. For continued updates throughout the race, keep it with this StoryStream.