Dear friends and family,
We here at home are trying very hard to stick to our schedule and get the things done that we need to, but we are also feeling very connected to what Brandon is going through in Alaska. The kids have rarely been apart from Brandon for this long. It’s been one week so far. Our youngest, Lily (age 11), is feeling the most emotional about it. When I spoke with Brandon this morning, I mentioned that if he could find time to call home later when the kids were home from school that would be great because the kids would like to speak with him. He called at 6:00pm this evening and was able to talk to the kids and that really lifted their spirits.
Brandon arrived at the Puntilla/Rainy Pass Lodge checkpoint (mile 165) last night at about 8:00pm. He said that it had been a very snowy day on Wednesday. He ate, slept for a few hours and then left Puntilla at 2:30am to get an early start on the next 45 mile section of trail. I spoke with him this morning when he was traveling over Rainy Pass and he said it was cold and windy. He described the landscape as “like walking on the moon.” He said it was just a large, white, flat snow field and there were no references for direction.
He arrived at the Rohn checkpoint (mile 210) tonight just after 5:00pm. The Rohn checkpoint is just a heated tent, but there should be some food and he will rest for a bit, reorganize his gear, and he said he will not stay at this checkpoint long. He wants to head back out on the trail and will bivy down (get into his sleeping bag inside of an outer sack for protection) along the trail when necessary if he gets too tired. There is also a B.L.M. shelter cabin 50 miles past Rohn that he can rest in if he needs to. Nikolai is the next checkpoint (mile 300) that he is headed to and that is going to be a long 90 mile stretch with temperatures that are currently around 10°. Temperatures along this stretch easily can dip below zero, but so far the weather has been mild and cooperative. We will continue to pray for this.
He said he hasn’t seen any wildlife at all. Bears aren’t too much of a concern because they are hibernating, and in the 10 years that this race has existed no bears or wolves have ever been sighted. Moose tend to be the biggest problem, but he hasn’t encountered any. He is NOT carrying a gun, though he was strongly counseled by some of you to carry one 🙂 He doesn’t feel it is at all necessary.
He asked me to relay this message to you all: On Tuesday he arrived at the Finger Lake checkpoint after what was a very rough day, and he was feeling discouraged, frustrated, and doubting himself. When I told him about the message board on Wednesday morning before heading back out on the trail, he was able to read those messages and they instantly uplifted him. He wanted me to tell all of you who have left messages, THANK YOU! He hasn’t been able to read any more messages since, but he will be able to read them at the next checkpoint at mile 300. He will surely need a boost after this long stretch and to finish out the last 50 miles. Please continue to leave him messages! http://2013iti.websitetoolbox.com/post/Brandon-Lott-6227224
Thank you again, for all of your love, support, and prayers. We are grateful!
With love and gratitude,
P.S. One thing that Brandon loves about finishing Ultra Marathons are the belt buckles that are awarded to finishers. As you can imagine, he has quite the collection at this point. Unfortunately, the ITI doesn’t award any prizes at all, so I decided to purchase a belt buckle to present to him.