So what do we do during the 36 hour layover for our team?

After their arrival, meal and massage we let the the dogs sleep. It’s still really cold in Dawson so they hunkered down under their blankets and slept soundly. Around hour eight we woke them for another warm and hydrating meal and got them up to pee and stretch. They were happy to get tucked back into their blankets, some even sharing blankets as they curled up together. Except Driver – that silly boy doesn’t like blankets so we have to sneak in after he’s asleep and put one over him.

Around noon we took each one for a walk around the camp ground to loosen up muscles then reapplied ointments and liniments. Our timing was perfect as the sun had raised up over the hills for a brief time and we got all the dogs out while it was shining.

This was also when the vet team took urine samples from the dogs to ensure no banned performance enhancing or pain killing substances are in their systems. They also got another big meal – number three so far.

Bridgett massages Felix’ wrists

The dogs are currently having another nap then we’ll offer another meal – number four – later this evening. The name of the game is get as much rest and as many fat and protein calories as we can into them so they are offered as much as they will eat of whatever they choose: three kinds of kibble, fat, meat or any combination of the above.

Settling in for another nap

As for Allen, he inadvertantly landed on a perfect human schedule. He will sleep two full nights in a bed and can eat at fairly “regular” hours. His routine is pretty similar to the dogs: eat, sleep and repeat.

Many thanks to the RCMP who have opened their workshop for the mushers to use while in Dawson!

We’ve been able to take Allen’s sled inside, thaw it out and check zippers, lines and sled runners. We have also hung up all the dog jackets, harnesses, leggings and T-shirts to ensure they are completely dry before putting them back on for departure.

It makes a huge difference to be able to get that gear inside especially if any repairs are needed. Fortunately the flux capacitor is in perfect working order so no need to visit the hardware store for anything.

The team leaves Dawson at 8:30am Friday, local time (there is a one hour time difference here than AK) so it means an early start for us as we head over to camp three hours prior. We’ll feed one more time, this time a watery meaty meal to get them super hydrated.

Dressing the dogs properly will be important because as soon as they leave Dawson they climb King Solomon’s Dome, the highest climb of the race. The trail is above the tree line for some time.

Unfortunately the forecast calls for this cold to continue with the added bonus of wind so we will put the dogs in their insulated jackets covered by wind breaker jackets, foxtails and leggings for those that need them.

The next checkpoint is 210 miles away in Pelly Crossing but there are two hospitality/dog drops along the way: Scroggie Creek and Stepping Stone. Allen will repack his sled with the straw and supplies he needs to camp along the way.

The trail breakers will leave two hours ahead of the team and they report that the trail is excellent. There is no drifting because there is not a lot of snow. There is a new wide cut-off trail that cuts off a big 180 degree turn at the top of the Dome and they report no water/glaciation on the trail.

After King Solomon’s Dome is the Black Hills and there is low snow conditions up there also. The trail crew reported lots of moose and wolves in the area.

Once they leave we will break down camp and pack it all back up into Hollywood, leaving the campsite back as it was.

When I say “What happens in Dawson, stays in Dawson” it is not just a saying. What I mean by that is the things we can do with the team – feeding, massage, dressing – we can’t do for the rest of the race, until they cross the finish line. 

12 Responses

  • This is probably one of my favorite posts, every year. Hoping everyone is having a good rest, getting plenty of food and hydration and gearing up for the rest of the race! Go SPK, GO!
    The Straw Ladies

  • I would be willing to bet dogs, mushers and handlers absolutely LOVE Dawson and what it means….food, rest, massage….whats not to love?

    Great post of the activities! And once again Brrrrr!!! My goodness! Mother Nature should cut you all some slack to a high of minus 10….but nope!

    Enjoy your stay! It will be time to leave before ya know it!

  • Glad the cold hasn’t affected the flux capacitor. That would not have been good! LOL

    Thanks for the updates. You all are the best. Keep warm.

  • Another fantastic report y’all! this special time with the teams is what makes this race so engaging, and humane for both musher and doggies.. and gives the handler so relief as they can tend to both and for a moment relieve their worries and give all the love and care they have on those that mean so much. thanks gang!

  • There is no mistaking Driver in that picture. I suspect he wanted everyone to know Driver made it to Dawson! Good boy Driver.
    Thank you for the awesome care you’re giving all the Black team members. You have your hands full, and that is wonderful.
    Pretty clear there are no issues with the flux capacitor.
    Yes, we love the Dawson update.

  • Moira, glad for that clarification on the “stays in Dawson” thing. Don’t want any ideas Vegas rules apply, although there IS gambling – sort of!

  • Thank you for the update of the Black team in Dawson! I’m glad to hear that all the athletes are doing well and getting a good rest before the departure tomorrow morning. GO BLACK TEAM!

  • I agree with Charlene – the Dawson Dog Camp Spa posts are something I always look forward to reading – the love and care for the dogs (and Allen) makes me so proud to be a SPK fan!

  • The SP Crew is amazing what they do! Thanks for all the great information on Allen and
    those wonderful dogs. They look very cozy. Get rest now and go get-um tomorrow SPK!

  • Ditto to all above.

    What a wonderful report. Hopefully there is snow as a base (unlike an Iditarod a couple of years ago).

    The 4-legged crew is making the most of their 36 hr layover – great job crew!!!

  • The 36 hour layover in Dawson is what makes the YQ such a special race. Thanks to the fantastic SPK handler team for such an awesome job on the dogs so Allen can recharge also. The temps sure seem brutal. Go Allen and Black Team. Special thanks to SPK handler crew.

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