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.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over the River and thru the Bush!

     Today is Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Brooke and I are in Pelly Crossing.  Another beautiful ride surrounded by breath-taking vistas.  The scenery is phenomenal.  Once again I can only imagine what Katie must be experiencing from the trail.  We have seen the Northern Lights several times and while we feel we are in remote locations there is still light pollution from the towns that washes out the colors.  The view that the mushers must have! 



     We arrived yesterday afternoon and did what handlers do best, waited on the teams.  We also ate and laughed and cared for the dogs on the truck and ...waited.  Katie's livetracker was not operating (Brooke is addicted to following by this method) so it becomes a guessing game as to when she may arrive.  You listen to the teams arriving ahead of her and assess their travel time and trail conditions, etc.  Bart De Marie came in about 2 am, followed by Peter Fleck and then Jenn Rafaeli and then just before 5 am YK time our team pulled in.  This was a good bit ahead of the time we estimated last night.  They (the team) made up about 2 hours on the folks that had gone from Dawson City ahead of her.
     So, I was sleeping when they pulled in but here is the report that Brooke has gleaned from Katie while she was bedding down her dogs.
     Katie chewed an entire pack of gum on the way here.  She doesn't ordinarily chew gum but has found that it does help keep her awake while on the runners.  I am really happy to hear that she is very pleased with the recovery of the team since she pulled into Dawson City.  They are motivated and she feels she 'got her team back' is so important!
     There is a condition out on the ice referred to as 'overflow'.  I have only learned about it on this trip - and Katie's dog have learned about it on this trip as well.  It is where water comes over the ice and may be deep or may be shallow but sometimes it is standing water.  The first encounter was just outside of Two Rivers...the very first checkpoint of the race.  Another musher that ended up in it, Kelly Griffin, described it as;  "an Olympic sized swimming pool..."  Bear in mind that they are travelling in the dark.  They do have very bright headlamps that shine ahead - but the team is on a line stretching more than 30 feet ahead of them.  At speed.  Those of you that ride horses know the accordion effect when one horse at the head of the line stops suddenly...or driving a car if you don't ride : )  So, there have been a couple of  overflow encounters along the way.  While the weather has been very warm for this time of year - it is not pleasant to go swimming or get your feet wet! 
    Sometimes the overflow is from melting snow crossing a down-slope.  It then refreezes into a slick glacier that these dogs aren't accustomed to either. Etna is a new fearless leader!  She confidently powered the team right across frozen overflow.  She earned some brownie points with this newly aquired skill!  Much to Katie's relief.
      On this leg she had  Etna in front for awhile and of course Whitney and Shiloh did alot of leading.  Katie mixes up the pairings she says so that no two dogs spend too much time together.
     The terrain is changing now.  While the just completed portion was described as hilly once they got past King Soloman's Dome, it will level out somewhat.  Lots of river ice to cover - travel along roads some, etc.
The amount of food Katie left Dawson City was enormous!  Her sledbag was stuffed tight and the weight of the food for the dogs changed the way the sled handled.  Big impact on the musher.
     Oh and by the way - the race was won yesterday!  Broke all kinds of records this year.  This is the first year ever that all teams have checked in to Dawson City with no scratches.  More teams are finishing with less dogs dropped.  This is really a science.
     Katie reports that the Northern Lights were so impressive last night that she felt like a tourist!  She had her eyes to the sky - one of the rewards for being on the trail in the middle of the night going over the river and through the bush!


  1. Thanks for the updates and also the recent photos

  2. Many thanks for the great comments and observations about the adventure you are all having. Wow, what a great experience for Katie and her dogs! We know Katie from here in Whitefish and wish her safe travels and happy sledding the rest of the trip. It's been really fun following the race and feeling the dynamics you have so elegantly shared. Again, thanks!
    John Otis and Cheryl Hyland