SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Monday, February 8, 2016

YQ: Circle City Update

Both handler crews are in Circle City!

Our drive over to Circle was beautiful but it can be a treacherous journey so we decided to do it before it got dark. We knew we would have a long wait at Circle for any mushers to come in but it was a good decision and we managed to catch some much needed sleep.

Circle checkpoint is based in the village Fire Hall. Olaf and his team make it as comfortable and welcoming as can be! The local school had made ‘welcome’ banners for each musher in the Quest and there was plenty of scrumptious food for everyone. Thanks team!

At 11.37pm, Allen and his Black Team trotted happily into the checkpoint. They had just spent around 70 miles on Birch Creek, not the most interesting part of the journey as they weaved and serpentined along the river. They camped along the way for a few hours and will have enjoyed their rest in the warmer temperatures (-5 – 0F) in this part of the trail compared to the -15F we had in Central during the day.

We had a chance to chat to Allen as he ate some meatloaf and he told us that the team did great over Eagle Summit. They were screaming as they went up the hill; the usual suspects: Schmoe and Mismo were joined by Dutch, Commando and a few others in the joy at climbing a big hill!

Eagle Summit was beautiful. He said he’s seen it with 30 mile an hour winds and blowing snow so it was a treat to enjoy a calm, beautiful day. The trail from Central on Birch Creek was “perfect” and he said he couldn’t ask for a better trail.

Allen will have a (very) short sleep here then once they leave here, we say goodbye to them until we meet again in Dawson city.

They travel through Slaven’s Roadhouse, Trout Creek Hospitality Stop then onto Eagle checkpoint. After Eagle is American Summit, all 3,420 feet of it then into Dawson City for the 36 hour layover.

These runs between Circle and Dawson are long and the mushers will likely be camping on the trail, getting to enjoy the intimacy with their dogs Aliy and Allen talked about prior to the race. They are travelling over historic trails and seeing parts of the world few people get to see.

This is also when the handler crews start their epic road journey. We must now go back down through Central, 101, Fairbanks right down to Whitehorse in the Yukon; turn left and head up the Klondike highway to Dawson. It’s always a race between dog team and dog truck at this time.

I will be stopping back at the kennel to unload the truck and pack it for Dawson so will get a chance to update then.


By all accounts the dogs are doing a great job. They tackled Eagle Summit eagerly and sloshed through wet overflow with no problems. They have all learned a LOT on this race and Aliy is pleased with how the two year olds in particular have handled being pushed a little.

Talk about picturesque campsites!!!

Currently Aliy and her 10 team mates are is on her way to Circle having left Central in great spirits (see the Dropped Dog updates for info about Chena and Spark). We are looking forward to seeing her and the team later this morning. The YQ300 mushers then to turn around, get back onto Birch Creek and return to Central for their finish.

Immediately after they finish and feed the team, Aliy, Wes and Wendy will jump in the truck, had back down the Steese Highway and meet the Dawson crew ready for the long drive to Canada. Aliy will fit some sleep somewhere in there too!


Anonymous said...

What GORGEOUS scenery, even just camping at the simple campsite!!!

Magnificent birch trees -I guess that is why it is called...Birch Creek - WOOF, WOOF!!!

And one more WOOF!!!

What an adventure!!!

Nessmuk said...

Gorgeous pictures!! Nice to hear Eagle was kind this year to the Teams! I will spend my work day with one eye on the tracker! Safe travels to everyone...go SPK !

Cindy Schaus said...

The campsite pictures are beautiful and it's nice to hear the 2 year olds are up for the task. Thanks so much for all the updates. I don't know how you all so it on limited sleep, mushers and crew! Drive and mush safe to your destinations.

Anonymous said...

Ohh so sad for Aliy and Sparkyyy! glad all are doing well tho, especially our mushers!

Steve Parker said...

Great updates and beautiful scenery. Keep on, keepin' on Red and Black teams.

Lourdes, VT said...

What a special lifestyle you all live! Love you all!!!

Anonymous said...

Aliy's campsites photos are crisply beautiful, especially so from the warmth of my family room. Best to both Black & Red Teams!

Anonymous said...

Really like the picture in the trees

Ali looks like she is doing very well.

I know Mac would say it is too early to tell what's going on, but Brent does look like he's in the lead. I like that Allen is close enough to be in the running.
Mac - would love your analysis of Aliy's race.

Marilyn cozzens said...

Magnificent scenery. Great to hear both mushers and teams are doing well. Thanks again for the wonderful post. Appreciate all you do to keep us updated. Go Allen & Black team on to Dawson. And go Aliy & Red team on to victory in YQ 300.

A-town's Becky said...

Breathtaking campsite!
Safe travels to all traveling by trail or truck.

Barbara Boucher said...

thanks for posting the pictures of that gorgeous campsite in addition to the updated team status. once again, Moira, you're doing am amazing job finding the time & energy to provide so much information for all of us hunched over our computers, waiting for the latest. thank you & all the support team for the excellent job you do!! gotta love SPK & the way you care for your fans!!

go teams!!

A-town's Becky said...

Looks like the Black team made great time into Slaven's Cabin, and are deserving of a much needed rest there.
Meanwhile Aliy and her Red team are making terrific time headed for the finish.
Go Violet, this is the final push, wooop wooop.

Judy in VA said...

I agree with Barbara's comments above! You're all doing such a wonderful job of keeping us posted. Pulling for the Red and Black teams, as always, and hoping for safe travels for all!

As for the campsite pics.....Whoa...what a sight (or site). No pun intended!

I DO have a silly question, though. It just occurred to me ..... Do the mushers have to have passports for this race as they cross in to Canada? If so, where do they check them? Dawson? Just wondering....and hoping someone here can answer. Thanks!

Margaret said...

RED TEAM is the bomb!!!

Anonymous said...


And what about up to date dog licenses in both countries?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'd bet that the Yukon Quest does have some rules - but the one that I found quickly is below (perhaps the one about passports is somewhere else):

"Statutory Compliance, #16:

"Any driver who violates a state, territorial national or international law while in the race may be disqualified if convicted. Hand guns are not allowed in Canada..."


Judy in VA said...

Margaret, thank you! I think you clarified the passport issue for me. Good point, too, about the dog licenses, etc.
As always, I wish all the SP Kennel athletes --2 and 4 legged--safe travels across two countries!
Mush on!

A-town's Becky said...

I know it's not over till it's over; but

Jesse left Circle on the final leg of the race,
over two hours ahead of Aliy and her Red team.
It looks like Aliy will have cut that lead in half at the finish.

Way to go Red Team. Way to go Violet! Way to go Lester, Boondocks, Daisy, Amber, Driver, Iron, Champ, Sandy, Chemo, Chena, and Spark!
Way to go Aliy too. I know you're working your tails off!!!

Who would have know this team of youngsters could have such a showing? Yep, Aliy knew ;-)

John Gomes said...

Quest mushers at mile 7 Saturday as they were leaving.