Thank you to all sponsors and fans for your support and encouragement. Without you, not only would Evening Star Kennel been absent from the 2010 Yukon Quest, but this incredible sport and these wonderful dogs would become a thing of distant memory. I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I hope that you have enjoyed following this amazing event.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dawson City Checkpoint - waiting...

     Good day from this picturesque, historic goldmining village on the banks of the Yukon River!  We are still waiting and following Katie's progress via the live tracking feature.  This creates alot of speculation as to how fast she may be travelling and when we should expect her to this point we think it may be as soon as 5:30 this afternoon, maybe sooner we shall see.  Bart De Marie just arrived a short time ago and as I am posting this Peter Fleck just pulled in to the check.  Live tracker says she is 20 miles out.
     This is the fun part- the waiting, the anticipation!  The live tracking has been wonderful, but it is not exact and still leaves room for error.  We want to be on standby to provide the optimal assistance for the team. It looks as if we won't be sitting around camp or the check in the dark as she is making a really good run today. 
     I was trying to post some handler stories earlier today and the page on the computer I was using at the B&B shut down without saving. (Crap!)  So let me try again.
     Since the start of the race the pace of the mushers has sorted itself out.  The front half is comprised of alot of veterans and very competetive teams setting a burning pace.  If you have been following you have seen that they have broken some records this year.  There is a middle group that is a day (give or take) behind the front runners and then another group running about the same rate together.  As a result we often find ourselves with the same group of handlers at the check points.  You get to know these folks pretty well.  Everyone is so nice, and from such diverse realms with one common denominator - the mushing.  The dogs.  The sport. I don't want to single anyone out because I don't want to overlook anyone - certainly don't want to do any name dropping.  For example: Alex handling for Dave Dalton or Megan and Jenn with Terry Williams or Darryl travelling with Cindy Barrand...Brooke and I have had the pleasure of spending time with Stefaan De Marie, brother of Bart and their friend/handler Marc.  The De Marie brothers are from Saskatchewan where they have a kennel.  They are from Belgium originally;  as is Marc - he is here for six months to assist with the kennels, run dogs and help with the races.  I believe Stefaan told me that he and his brother alternate on the training and racing of their teams.
     We arrived in Dawson about 7:30 on Wednesday evening.  We immediately checked in and arranged to pick up Katie's supplies that had been trucked in. There were nine check bags and five bales of straw. We offloaded them from the tractor trailer, went back inside for a moment and then pulled the truck around to pick up.  Brooke began arranging our trailer and I dropped dogs for a break. (Remember Detour and Herbert have been travelling with us...)  Suddenly a local woman came running up and informed us a large dog had absconded with one of our drop bags!   She and Brooke ran around for a bit hoping to locate the thief - but he is a town dog and was not to be found.  One happy town dog we imagine.  Fortunately, our Katie is very organized and we have a book that lists each bag and it's contents by number.  Brooke was able to repack a bag with all of the food that Katie will need on the trail with extra supplies we are carrying.  Boy, Brooke was pissed.  We didn't expect that.
     On a different track, since we were in Fairbanks Brooke has been talking about a bar in Dawson that is very well-known for a special cocktail.  The "SourToe".  She said we had to go there and join this special club...seems that sometime back in the 70's these folks found a severed frostbitten digit on the floor of a remote cabin and came up with the idea that people would love to pay for the honor of taking a shot of whiskey with the "Toe" floating in it.  There is a special ceremony and you have to sign the registry.  And if you successfully imbibe your beverage the "Toe" has to touch your lips!  This is a real, gnarly, human toe folks - I looked at it!  There are more than 40,000 people that are registered.
      So, last night Brooke and I stopped in for dinner and we were joined by a fellow named Jack from a town way north of here(!) by the name of Old Crow.  He was interesting but had been enjoying the bar all day if you know what I mean.  After a bit we were also joined by Stefaan and Marc and Darryl.  Some hardy souls in the bar took part in the "Society of the Toe" proceedings including Darryl and BROOKE!  No, I did not and will not be joining up with this group thank you very much.  Way too real for me!
     Somehow we coerced the guys into trying out the locals favorite spot; the Pit.  It was fairly quiet - but we had another round and got into a few more stories.  Stefaan was telling us about their accomodations in town.  The lady of the house is a friend of his sister-in-law or something.  She is not here this weekend but they were to make themselves at home as they wished.  She did caution that the dog was going to be left inside and Stefaan was a bit worried because they hadn't seen the dog.  We were joking around that he shouldn't worry about him going hungry as he was probably the scoundrel that made off with forty pounds of kibble and frozen meat in a drop-bag.  We were going over the story again and included the fact that the local lady said;  "It's probably So-and-so's dog; he runs around all the time!"
     The look on Stefaan's face was priceless - it was the owner's dog!  Right now I don't know if they have seen him yet.  I wouldn't worry too much about him - he is very resourceful!!!
    Okay, the tracker says she is ten miles out on the river now!  We can't wait to see her and how they are faring...Bear with us as we will be busy for awhile.  We will post photos - this takes some time as electronics are a bit challenging the closer you get to the North Pole!!!  Later!!!


  1. Thank you so much! What a great, great story. Checking your blog at this hour, I know that Katie's arrival time was before dark and please keep the local color coming. I have not yet driven to Dawson, but after that story, I must...and what was the name of the B&B?

    Linda in Fairbanks.

  2. Dressing up cardboard Love it! Love all the writing you girls are so very cool! Go Katie!! xoxoxxoMaggie