No less than 20 teams, including King, were there lined up like caterpillars-- all mindful of the fact that Lance Mackey won the last two Iditarods after taking his 24-hour layover there.
"I had every intention of going past here. The dogs were able, but you know, with the temperature here, I'm sure it's just as cold or worse the farther we got down the trail. And I don't know if that's beneficial to running them at 40 or 50 below," Mackey said.
Frigid temperatures create a firm surface, but they also level the playing field. Most contending teams have been traveling at 8-9 miles an hour. That's why Mackey isn't concerned about losing sight of teams that bypass their layover until further along the trail.
"It seems like the teams are pretty equal caliber and speed. It's the guy who's making the least amount of mistakes and can outsmart the rest of us, basically, is who's going to win this race" Mackey
Also resting was Sven Haltmann of Fairbanks. A man with only two career finishes sat alongside Iditarod heavyweights, having arrived in Takotna four minutes in front of Mackey.
"I'm feeling outstanding; couldn't be better company around me. Some of the best long distance teams in the state of Alaska, or in America, and I'm right among them. I feel great," Haltmann said.
Those emotions may certainly change over the next 500 miles. Strategizing in The Last Great Race has only just begun.
As for Jeff King, race fans may have been lamenting his 12th place finish a year ago. Keep in mind, the last time he finished that low, he won the next year.
Contact Kevin Wells at email@example.com and follow @KTUUSports on Twitter.