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.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stories from the Trail: Part 1

We started our 1000 mile journey in Fairbanks, AK on the Chena River downtown.  The crowd was spectacular and went on for miles.  I never got nervous, just anxious to get on the trail.  Tensions were high as we made last minute preparations and packed the sled in the staging area.  My mom, Beverly, was there for the start and I tried very hard to keep her from hearing some of the Quest horror stories or to learn to much about the typical extreme cold temps to be expected on the trail. 

We hooked up the team with the sled tied to the truck and then clipped onto a snowmobile for the 1/4 mile trip to the starting line.  My mom had already headed to the starting line with (I heard later) tears in her eyes.  Brooke ran with the leaders and Anita jumped on the snowmobile.  As we eased our way to the start, the dogs were screaming and jumping in anticipation.  This was not going to be another training run and they knew it. 

Shilo and Margaret held the line tight in the starting chute, focusing on the countdown to head down the trail.  As the countdown approached and hugs were given all around, a sense of relief came over me.  Finally, this is what all this was for. 

We wove our way through a crowd that seemed an unpenatrable wall, parting just in time.  I spent the first couple hundred yards talking to Margaret, hoping that her confidence would hold and not become a public spectacle.  Once she realized that the crowd would part, she put her head down and charged.  I stood both feet on my drag mat, hoping they would slow down.  This hot little dog team was not ready to go 10 mph.  They wanted to run as fast as they could.  I wanted to also but knew that they would never last like that.  1000 miles is a long way to go.

We quickly caught Gerry Willomitzer who had left 3 minutes earlier.  I tried to keep them behind him as a way to pace the pups, but he waved us by.  We ran down the river for 20 miles or so before heading through wooded trails to come out near Two Rivers.  There were people all along the way giving cookies, hotdogs, and much appreciated water. 

We came into the Twin Bears Campground, our first checkpoint, just behind Lance Mackey.  This was the only place we saw this 2010 2nd place and 4-time former Champion.  We rested for 4 hours.  Well, at least the dogs did.  I was too amped up like almost every other musher there to really sleep.  I visited with Brooke, Anita, and my mom for a bit before heading out into the night... the night the adventure truely began.

1 comment:

  1. Oh - HOORAY!

    A tale of the trail, play by play. Thank you so much for doing this.