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Photos: Iditarod 2013 leaders in Anvik

Aaron Burmeister makes his way up the Yukon river on his way to Anvik. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Aaron Burmeister mushing along the Yukon river before Anvik. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jake Berkowitz nearing the Anvik checkpoint. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Aaron Burmeister passing the church on his way into Anvik. The village rings the church bell when the first musher arrives. This year that was Martin Buser. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Jake Berkowitz passes by an old truck on his way into Anvik. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Martin Buser readying his team to push up the Yukon river. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Aaron Burmeister snacking his team in Anvik. He pushed through to Grayling, where he declared his 8-hour rest. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Lance Mackey arriving at the Anvik checkpoint. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
One of Lance Mackey's dogs rests under a blanket of hay. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
4-time Iditarod champions Lance Mackey, left, and Martin Buser talk about the trail conditions and their dogs at the Anvik checkpoint. Mackey had just arrived, and Buser was getting ready to leave after finishing his 8-hour rest. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Martin Buser massaging his dogs before leaving Anvik. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Norwegian rookie Joar Liefseth Ulsom wearing homemade rain boots in the Anvik checkpoint. Warm weather, and even rain, has been a constant presence during this Iditarod. March 8, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Early Friday, the leaders of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race gathered in Anvik, the first checkpoint on the mighty Yukon River after tough push from the abandoned gold-mining town of Iditarod. The 2013 race was turning into a poster child for global warming as snow melted, the trail worsened and mushers stripped down extra layers of clothing.

Norwegian rookie Joar Liefseth Ulsom wore homemade rain boots, essentially plastic bags over his boots, as he went through his chores in the Anvik checkpoint. Nearly a shoo-in for rookie of the year, Ulsom is running a fabulous race, consistently among the Top 10.

By 2 p.m., 17 mushers had arrived in Anvik, and the top five were already in Grayling, one checkpoint beyond Anvik.

Big Lake veteran Martin Buser continued to lead. Not only was he at the front of the pack, out of Grayling at 12:52 p.m., but he was the only musher among the top 14 to have completed his mandatory eight-hour rest on the Yukon, something all mushers must do between Anvik and Kaltag, the final Yukon River checkpoint before the trail turns west and heads for the Bering Sea coast.

Before Buser left Anvik, he and another four-time champion, Lance Mackey of Fairbanks compared notes on how the race was proceeding. Mackey was in 11th place Friday afternoon, with a dozen dogs still in his team.

Once all the mushers finish their Yukon River layovers, it will be easier to tell who's actually ahead -- and by how much.

For more updates, check out Alaska Dispatch's Iditablog