It was lovely to spend so much time at McCabe Creek this morning and enjoy the hospitality from the Kruse family.
Around 6.10am the team trotted into McCabe and the dogs did not immediately flop down ready for a rest, they were still milling around watching what Allen was doing, ready to continue if he asked. As soon as he brought their bale of straw over, however, they knew that meant a stop and they were quick to make their nests amongst the straw and curl up together.
Allen himself was is good spirits but pleased to be at McCabe with the prospect of a good rest for the team and for him. He gave each dog poultry skin snacks, which they all ate enthusiastically, took booties off and prepared their meal for later. There is no resupply at McCabe so he had brought everything with him to sustain the team.
One thing I particularly love to watch is Allen working with the dogs. We all know those inherent “dog people” that unconsciously stroke a dogs head or scratch their ears? While Allen was taking booties off, even though he was cold and tired and his fingers were frozen, he was tenderly petting and speaking to each dog as he went. That is what drew me to this sport more than anything. The relationship between mushers and their dogs.
Allen then came inside, hung all his clothing and mitts up in front of the wood stove, had a big bowl of stew and lay down on the mattress at the back of the room. He was asleep within moments. It was a nice, quiet place to be with just a couple vets, officials and the family. Everyone enjoyed a sleep for a few hours and woke feeling human again.
Allen rested the team for six hours and they certainly enjoyed their sleep also, especially for a time they were right in the sunshine sheltered amongst the trees and out buildings. Although it is still pretty chilly in this part of the world it is no where near as frigid as Dawson so the dogs were able to stretch out a little and relax. The truck thermometer told us it was around -30F.
McCabe farm has a few horses (you may remember Aliy’s story about the horses from last year’s YQ300) and once it got light Spark had a good view of them through the trees from his sleeping spot. He decided that he needed to keep an eye on them as he likely couldn’t figure out what they were and why none of us were concerned about them. Kodiak is decidedly in love with Spark on this race so wanted to keep guard with him but he was still sleepy. It was really comical to watch Kodiak sitting up, leaning on Spark and nodding off every now and again.
We carry dog cards with us to give out to children we see along the way and the Kruse grandchildren were fascinated with our team. They asked a lot of really great questions and Bridgett told them about each dog. Driver was a favourite!
After their nap, the team ate every scrap of their hot breakfast before heading back down the trail at 12:10pm. We are pleased to see them travelling at good speeds along the Yukon towards Carmacks. As we drove past the river we were able to see the some of the jumbled ice the trail team alerted the mushers to. The bergs are not huge but there are a lot of them so it will be a challenge picking their way through the trail.
We expect to see them this evening and they will most likely stay here a while to rest.
Here are a few portraits from McCabe: