Chris and Bridgett went to see and feed all the dogs this morning. The Red Team is starting to get feisty and sassy. The Black Team has the youngsters up and ready and the 'more mature' members of the team are still enjoying their beds.
Allen is doing pretty well. He has a badly bruised leg from hitting a tree with some force early in the race but other than that he's looking great. Yesterday morning Allen was up early and he described his day: "I'm gonna eat for a little while, sleep for a little while, eat for a little while, sleep for a little. That sounds like the same agenda for his team.
As we sit together and enjoy each others company Allen and Aliy share stories from the trail with us.
Those who have been following along with us for a while will know that Allen is known for traveling light. He will take what he needs to keep him and his dog team well fed and safe but not much else. This year was a little different.
When we heard the weather forecast for the race Allen joked that he might have to pack his hip boots. They joke about taking a lot of things: coffee machine, camp stove, hip boots... We had no idea he actually did! Early in the race we heard reports of open water sections on the Happy River. Allen said he put his hip boots on at Rainy Pass when they were told of the water. The water was rushing and Allen said the sound of it was what the dogs didn't like. He and Mike Williams Jnr arrived at about the same time and helped each other through then, because it was night time they could see lights coming, Allen said he would alert the coming mushers to stop before the water so he could just grab their leaders and lead them through. He mentioned he could have sold those hip boots for a LOT of money and more fool us for laughing at him for taking them.
Aliy tells a story about what happened to her in the same water crossing. There was a small island in the middle so it was effectively two crossings. She got her dogs over in a big tangled ball and started to line them out at the other end and noticed one missing. Willie was standing on the island looking very sorry for himself. She called him, encouraged him, reasoned with him but he was convinced that water was evil and he needed to stay on the island. She had to wade back through the water to carry him to the other side.
Quito led the Black Team team for the entire race. Allen said you could not tell she was almost 10 years old - she was the first to jump up when he asked the team if they were ready and ran as well as she had ever run. He said she did enjoy the longer rests however and was an excellent leader and mentor to the young dogs Junior and Chena he rotated up in lead with her. She really is the best dog in the world.
I'll try to capture more stories to share with you.