Allen left Chistochina at 8:45pm after a 5 hour 52 minute rest with all 12 dogs. ChaCha and Skittles lead the team out after eating 2 good meals and a nice rest. Aliy left a few minutes before Allen at 8:39pm also with all 12 dogs. Her veterans rested well during their stop, but the younger dogs were a little confused about the whole thing.
They are now running up out of the valley and into the hills where they will spend the night in the higher elevations working their way through the “foot hills” of the Alaska Range. After crossing the Richardson Highway at Summit Lake in the early morning hours, they will work their way across several lakes and low hills, dropping in elevation into the next checkpoint, the Paxson Roadhouse. Paxson is the eastern end point for the Denali Highway that crosses through the Alaska Range to Cantwell (famous in the movie “Into the Wild” out now).
Reports have the trail fast and hard ¼ to ½ of the way and “pretty good” the rest of the way into Paxson. The river crossing up in the hills has less overflow than it has in recent years. Fastest times from Chistochina to Paxson are around 7 ½ hours, so depending on trail conditions Aliy and Allen will both be reaching Paxson between 4:30am and 7am AST. It could be longer if the good conditions have been exaggerated.
Bridgett has confirmed that the two top competitors Lance Mackey and Sigrid Ekran have amazing teams. Lance only stayed 3 ½ hours in Chisto before heading off into the hills. Sigrid stayed a little over 5 hours. Both team looked strong heading out with all their dogs. Brent Sass’s team didn’t rest well at Chistochina, but are a very strong team as well and worth keeping an eye on. He left Chisto at 8:21pm after about 5 hours.