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.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Greetings from Yukon Quest - day one

Well, today was the big day...the one Katie has been planning for since last year.  It's really hard to fathom the logistics to pull it all together.  And so rewarding to see it come to fruition.
Brooke and I dropped dogs this morning (took them out of their boxes on the truck) and prepared their breakfast, according to Katie's schedule for the day.  Some of the dogs were playful and bouncy, others just ready to eat...Sneezy was quiet and watchful.  Not so unusual maybe- but then he started growling and staring across the hotel parking lot.  After a moment a MOOSE strolled into view!  It moseyed around the building across the way and then came toward the team!  Fortunately it was not at all interested in sixteen barking dogs.  It just browsed on a tree nearby and then cruised on along behind the local Denny's restaurant.  Just like "Northern Exposure"!!!  Hopefully this will be the only moose encounter Katie and the team will have on their journey...
Our morning flowed without furthur distraction and we soon found ourselves in the proper parking area. Finally it was time to line out the team.  Katie and Brooke had fitted everyone with booties, 'harness-rub' jackets and harnesses.  They led the dogs forward and hooked them up as follows:  leaders for the first leg:
Shiloh (Veteran of the Iditarod) and Margaret.  The next couple on the line:  Cleo and Goon.  Sneezy was paired with Whitney, Lightning and Annabelle, Voodoo and Margarita, Etna and Charlotte, followed by Boggle and Patron in the wheel position at the sled. 
They use a snow machine to keep the pace under control as the team has to negotiate a very crowded parking area of trucks, trailers and  other lined out dog teams. It might be a very hairy trip down the icy ramp to the river if that snow machine wasn't behind the sled to hold it back. 
Brooke was at the front of the team and had to jog along the entire quarter mile frozen river to the start!!  I had the good fortune to quickly jump on the back of the snow machine and ride to the start once we were down the ramp.
The start was very well organized - teams were led to the staging area and ALOT of volunteers helped to keep them under control...these are very well-behaved animals.  But, they are bred and trained to RUN and are enthusiastic about it.  Teams started every three minutes.  This allows for the musher's bio and history to be announced (and the wonderful sponsors).  There are alot of veteran racers and quite an impressive following - lots of appreciative fans.
Katie's team looked so good!  Bright and alert and pounding the harness - ready to go at her word...then the countdown and they were off!  I can only imagine how it must feel for Katie to realize the payoff for all her hard work and preparation - the payoff is the time on the trail...the beautiful scenery, the connection to the team...the quiet after the hullabaloo...the total dependency between musher and dogs...the total independance of the team...musher and dogs!  Amazing.  

Katie made it into Twin Bear checkpoint by 4p.m. Alaska time.  She reported that the trail was fast, hard and lacking snow.  She stayed at the checkpoint for about 3 3/4 hours leaving at 7:45p.m.  We all watched as she hit the dark trail and headed into the night. Katie is headed to the second checkpoint, Mile 101 on the Steese Highway.  She will break the run up into two runs.  She will camp out with the dogs on the trail for about six hours near the base of Rose Bud.  Rose Bud is a rather steep mountain climb.  Today people where talking about it and how it just keeps going up and up.  After Katie rest her team and herself they will start climbing Rose Bud in the early hours of the morning.  I bet the view from the top will be beautiful.  We will meet her at the Mile 101 check point.

Weather update:  today was in the teens pushing 20'F!  It felt like a heat wave.  The sunrises around 9a.m. and sets around 5p.m. so it really is not that dark.


  1. GO KATIE GO !!!! I just send pics to Brooke of the start I hope I got the e-mail right ;)

  2. Yee-haw!!! I was reading the blog aloud to Virginia this afternoon, you wouldn't believe her excitement as I scrolled down and she saw the picture of Katie. "KT" she yelled...amazing the people she remembers.

    Anita, thanks so much for sharing it is hard to be so far away and have no clue what is going on. Brooke, send along the pics of the start.
    Love you all and stay warm, Alli