The mushing trails throughout Alaska as well as the Yukon Territory are constantly changing. Mother Nature is a powerful force in both the summer and winter. Summer storms and flood will often wash out sections of trail and make them impassable the following winter. Winter freezing and thawing temperatures as well as overflow creates problems on many trails.

Mushing trails are like dirt roads through the backwoods – constantly changing and you never know what you are going to run across until you get there.

For that reason, most of the race routes are first looked at by trail breakers who drive snow machines along the entire trail. They can reroute sections, cut up downed trees and look over unsafe areas.

Ryne Olson, Tom Lesatz, Ketil Reitan and Aliy went east on the trail towards Angel Creek and the Yukon Quest ‘Two Rivers’ Checkpoint yesterday. The trail only needed one reroute and some brush cleaned out. The Chena River crossings are safe as well. The trail is now marked for the Two Rivers 200 passable for the Yukon Quest.

Later this weekend, more trail breakers will head north to Chatinika Lodge on the Steese Highway – the starting point for the Two Rivers 100/200 – and hopefully mark that route. The race trail section through the heart of Two Rivers will be looked at closer to Race Day.

Iditarod Trail Re Route

In other parts of Alaska, the Iditarod Trail Committee has deployed a ground crew of six to work the trail between Skwentna and Rainy Pass Checkpoints. They will also cut and mark a new trail section around the west side of Round Mountain.

Later this month, another team of six trail breakers will set and re-mark the trail between McGrath and Shageluk. It’s been 5 years and a few forest fires since the race last ran that section of trail.

Lots of work going on as well as dog mushing!

6 Responses

  • It must have been hard work cleaning up the trail!
    The SP Kennel dogs were probably disappointed that they missed out on that trip.

  • I have a hard enough time keeping my home trails free of fallen trees after a wind storm event….I cant imagine keeping miles and miles maintained! What a huge job….all the trail breakers get our heartfelt THANK YOU for all your hard work!

  • Yes- thank you to all of those who volunteer their time and energy and snow machines and gas and everything else to keep the trails clear. What a mess. I have a hard time, too, just clearing downed trees off of my trails in NE MN. It takes a village to make a dog sled race!
    Totally off topic here – but is there any way to train near Whitehorse? Like to train the team to “keep going fast because the end is near”? I can see training for a “last minute push” by Fairbanks. SPK is close to that trail. But what about the other end? I remember long ago reading about how certain racers would train out from Nome to teach the dogs to dig in along the coast. Does that happen for the Quest? Training teams to ‘speed up’ as they approach Whitehorse ?

  • If memory serves. there were times when SP Kennel did exactly that for the YQ into Whitehorse. I think it was after Allen and the Black Team got overtaken by Hugh??? I might be mis-remembering here!!!

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