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.
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.
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.