Wow, a lot has happened over night for us! The whole handler crew is in Pelly Crossing checkpoint now enjoying the hospitality and gymnasium floor! The moon shone brightly again tonight, lighting up the landscape and giving the hills and mountains an eerie glow. It was cold overnight, even colder than Carmacks, at -30F.
On the drive up Mark and I were very lucky to see two Lynx across the road. I’d never seen one in the wild before so it was a real treat.
BLACK TEAM UPDATE
The whole team left Carmacks after completing their mandatory four hour rest plus time differential. They rested and ate well in the checkpoint and Allen got a little bit of sleep himself. They were literally howling to leave!
The team pulled into McCabe and, right to plan, Allen stayed for a couple of hours before heading on to Pelly Crossing. He was excited to get about seven minutes sleep! Thanks to the Kruse Family and volunteers for their wonderful hospitality, a warm room, good food and sleeping space for the mushers. They are huge supporters of the Yukon Quest and we appreciated their welcome on a chilly night.
The plan for Pelly was to bed the dogs down immediately and let them rest while he packed his sled and prepared for the 200 miles ahead before Dawson. The stay was short but giving the dogs that rest on straw topped them up rather than just parking on the side while he packed his supplies as he knew it would take some time. Allen took the opportunity to give the dogs another meal and grab a quick bite to eat himself plus dry and change his clothes.
There are a couple of hospitality/dog drop stops on this leg to Dawson at Stepping Stone and Scroggie Creek but the mushers cannot send out drop bags to those stops so have to take everything with them required for their camps. It’s at Pelly you see everyone leaving with sleds fully laden and packed to the gunnels.
Another important thing that happened at Pelly was the changing of the GPS tracker batteries! Thanks to Thom who was out there in -30F doing a job that required ungloved fingers! We appreciate it!
As mentioned in the earlier post, Allen left Daisy with us as she woke up with a sore back leg. She is resting in the truck. Her 13 team mates left after about 2.5 hours ready for their trek ahead.
RED TEAM UPDATE
It is a rare treat in the Yukon Quest for your team to come in or leave during the daylight. For some reason that is just how it seems to work out that most of the action happens in darkness. It was still light, in fact gorgeous setting sunlight as Aliy and the Red Team pulled into Carmacks.
Aliy said the team was doing great although she was concerned about Ernie, that he hadn’t eaten well on this trip so was keeping a watch on him in Carmacks. As it turned out she left him with Wendy as he didn’t eat much in the checkpoint.
Wendy said Aliy was singing to her team as she bootied them which seemed to perk everyone up and got them in the mood to leave.
Woody is coming through like a rock star leader and the most dependable. Aliy said she will likely keep him in lead for rest of the race. He left the checkpoint with Chena by his side, Tinder in swing then Scooter and Schmoe, Iron and Driver, Outlaw and Hotshot then Ginger and Violet. They howled and wagged as they went out.
The Red Team also stopped in McCabe Creek for a few hours and evidently the horses at the farm chased the team along the fence line for a while as they left. It really got the dogs up to go faster. They came trotting in to Pelly Crossing just a few minutes ago. Frosty faces and wagging tails galore. Aliy is in great spirits and happy with her team’s position of, currently, 2nd place.
They had encountered a bit of overflow just outside of Pelly which froze everyones boots up. She said the jumble ice on the river was a challenge but they managed to get through unscathed. Closer to the checkpoint was mogully from snow machine use and she felt her dogs got a bit frustrated the sled banged up and down and up and down.
The team will rest here for a few hours then they have an out-and-back loop up to Stepping Stone. They will finish back in Pelly Crossing later tonight.