The 2014 Iditarod is set begin on Saturday, March 1. This year, 69 mushers and their 16 beloved dogs will make the journey from Anchorage to Nome -- a trip that spans across approximately 1,000 miles of snow and ice.
For those unfamiliar with the Alaskan countryside, here is a map of where the mushers will travel over the next week and a half. It's an even year (2014), so the northern route will be taken.
There are 24 checkpoints in total for the mushers and their dogs to rest. The clock does not start until the Willow checkpoint, as the first leg of the race serves as more of a welcoming ceremony for one of Alaska's greatest traditions than an actual competition. After that, everything is fair game.
With most of the rest stops anywhere from 50-to-100 miles apart from one another, a lot of strategy comes into play when determining when to rest and when to carry on. Rationing food and equipment is also key, especially if wintry conditions force the drivers to slow down across sheets of ice. Here is a look at what the mushers carry with them on their sleds.
With a first-place price of just over $50,000 up for grabs, we should be in for a terrific running of the 42nd Iditarod.