When I first volunteered for the Iditarod in 2012 I was sent to the Koyuk Checkpoint as a Checker. While there I saw the scene below and recorded it. I used a blurry, overcast photo to help me finish this sketch. The image didn’t match how I felt about Koyuk, so I added color and blue sky.
This year (2013) I was again located in Koyuk (with an amazing crew by the way). Patti Martin, a teacher for Koyuk, would shuffle the checkpoint volunteers back and forth on her ATV to take showers at Malemute High School. I was blown away when we crest the hill and this exact view was literally staring me in the face with the same lighting and colors. The six sided roofed building is the church. I’ve also attached a crude map of the the west end of Koyuk locating the checkpoint, and the church I sketched.
Karen Ramstead who has run the Iditarod many times as a musher, was the checkpoint judge at Koyuk this year. She has written an excellent post on her blog, North Wapiti Kennels, about the “Anatomy of a Checkpoint” If you would like to know more about how a checkpoint operates I encourage you to click on the link provided and check it out.