Woohoo! Run like the wind! And not like a light zephyr but a strong, storm force wind! We can't wait to see you at the finish line.
We said goodbye to Allen and his 13 team mates at 3.33am when they trotted off into the night on their final 95-100 mile run into Whitehorse. As expected, it was a little stop-start out of the chute as a few dogs decided they needed to pee, one after the other, but they got on the trail and are moving nicely now.
Earlier this morning Allen got up after a good, long sleep, had eggs for breakfast then went out to tend to his team. The routine for an 8 hour rest is a little different to a regular checkpoint in that he took extra time to walk each dog around for a while and give them a massage to warm up their muscles, giving them a chance to stretch out and empty their bowels and bladders (not all of them took that opportunity and decided the exit chute was the place to do it). After 8 hours the dogs can start to stiffen up a bit, much like we would in the same situation.
He also gave them another big, hearty meal and packed his sled, double checking he had all his mandatory gear and enough snacks and food to sustain them for the long run ahead.
While he was getting the team ready, both Brent and Matt were outside tending to their dogs also. All three men are fiercely competitive yet took the opportunity to wish each other well and share a few jokes. Matt told them he felt like an old man and Allen quipped back, "well, that's good 'cos I feel young". Brent laughed and said "I'm right in between."
The few of us that were out there with them were treated to an aurora show of white dancing light. Pretty impressive!
Allen was excited to get on the trail and give this team one more run. We figure now is the time for a rallying cry! Aliy recorded this in Dawson and it seems appropriate now so turn up the volume and enjoy!
The handler crew is having one last meal here at Braeburn Lodge before we head to Whitehorse to set up for their arrival this afternoon. Thanks to the wonderful team at the Lodge for being so welcoming and accommodating: cooking eggs at 1am, burgers at breakfast time, keeping the coffee topped up... and all with smiles on their faces. If you are passing through, make sure you stop by.