Just after 11am Allen and his 14 canine team mates pulled into Braeburn in first position. Their run time over here from Carmacks was 11 hours, a huge improvement on the 12 hours in previous years so he will be really happy with that.
The team now has eight hours to rest and recuperate before the final 85 mile run to Whitehorse.
The checkpoint is on the west side of the Klondike Highway from the trail which means the teams have to cross over a major highway. Thanks to the amazing volunteers and the Highways and Public Works department for helping make it safe for our teams to cross.
It’s around +10F here and cloudy. Because the temperatures are rising fast, Allen wanted to rehydrate the dogs so as soon as he pulled in, instead of snacking on fat and beef right away, he gave them dishes of cool water with a sprinkle of crunchy kibble. They lapped it up happily then devoured their snacks. We were really happy to see them hydrate so readily.
Once Allen had finished bedding them down; removing booties and wrapping precautionary wrists; the vet team moved in and gave every dog a very thorough hands-on examination, the same as what they did in the pre-race checks (see this video).
Braeburn Lodge has quickly filled up since dawn. It is a comfortable drive for folks from Whitehorse and the food is legendary so there are lots of visitors and race fans.
Leigh and the team at Braeburn Lodge are working hard feeding everyone and keeping the coffee flowing. We are having a few issues with the power supply (and therefore, internet) but the kitchen is still humming along, cooking with propane and headlamps. They are very cheerful and full of great stories so everyone is having a great time here. You should all put a visit to Braeburn Lodge on your bucket list.
All the dogs are asleep now, hopefully dreaming of flying over Lake Lebarge at 10 miles an hour! Jeff will keep an eye on the team to ensure they are safe and sound.
Allen is eating a the biggest, musher-sized plate of meatballs and spaghetti I have ever seen! He’s looking forward to getting a nap is the warm, dry cabin accommodations. He’ll hang up all his gear to dry and hydrate himself over the break.
We were chatting to one of the Canadian Rangers who is part of the trail breaking crew. He told us that they have had to replace the trail markers a few times over Coglan Lake area as the wolves take them out. They rip them out of the snow and bite them in two!
A couple of hours before they are due to leave, Allen will give the team their big meal and start to walk them around to stretch out ready for their final run. He will pack his sled with his mandatory gear, snacks for the dogs and some contingency gear but very little else.
Lots more pictures once I get better wifi. As it was I have been wandering around the car park looking for cell service to hotspot off, like some sort of water diviner!