As we sat around then dinner table last night at the Downtown Hotel we asked Allen about the trail so far and what's to come.
Allen talked some more about how much he enjoyed the scenery atop King Solomon's Dome. He described as they climbed and climbed they got above the misty cloud as if they were in an airplane. He could see the tops of the highest peaks and the mist made it look like there were lakes between. As they were up on top of the world the sun was beginning to set so there was a stunning alpen glow on the peaks. He said he wished he had a camera so he could share it with us all but it was one of those moments and sights that he will always remember. To be on the back of a dogsled with his dogs enjoying that view was something special.
Allen also talked a little about the sleep deprivation and how he would fall asleep on the sled at times. He said coming into Scroggie was the worst. He would be ski-poling and his body just wanted to take micro-sleeps while still moving. Tree branches were hitting him in the head and waking him up! He said he daren't sit down on his trail dragger or he would have been gone! The tiredness was caused by a combination of the cold, a degree of dehydration and, of course, the almost total lack of sleep. The hard work he does keeping is fitness up all year helps to cope with that level of sleep deprivation.
Bridgett asked him his favourite part of the next run, from Dawson to Eagle. He said, without a doubt it is getting up over the top of American Summit. The trail is right on top of the mountain and for about four miles you can see forever. It is above the tree line and you can feel the brunt of any weather while up there but catch it on a still day and it is beautiful.
The forecast is for cold for the next few days going into Eagle and Circle City. -50F is not out of the question, especially as they travel on the rivers. We have equipment and clothing for the dogs so that they will be protected from those temperatures and Allen will pack extra food and snacks as they will burn more calories in the cold. In the cold the dogs will eat more turkey skins and fatty meats rather than when it is warm and they prefer salmon and lean meat. He, himself, will need to keep hydrated and be more aware of keeping is hands and feet dry.
Aliy talked about what it is like mushing in those temperatures. She said in the cold you can't do things without always thinking about it. Chemical hand warmers have to be on an inside pocket or else they just freeze up, your water thermos needs special attention to ensure it doesn't solidify - hydration is important at those temperatures. Dog ointments and ligament need to be on an inside pocket to be usable and there needs to be enough calories in both dog and human food to continue to function efficiently.
It wouldn't be the Quest without at least a few challenges!
* Received this from the crew before they left Dawson.