Friday, February 7, 2014
YQ: Handler Crew Arrives in Pelly Crossing
Since leaving Dawson the teams have climbed over King Solomon's Dome and we heard there was fresh snow up there which would make it slower and more difficult. Next up are the notorious Black Hills which are continuous ascents and descents - it's not mountainous above the tree-line but the continuous nature of the ups and downs make it challenging. Talking to Aliy about this part of the trail she said you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere then you come across active gold-mine claims where there is heavy equipment and dredges that you mush right by. You can really tell that this part of the country is focussed on gold mining - not just in its history but currently as well.
Once out of the Black Hills they drop onto the Pelly River and the first lights of civilisation are at Stepping Stone, where there are always very happy, welcoming people. It has been a hospitality stop on the Quest for many years and is incredibly hard to go passed without stopping as they have burritos, ice-cream and lasagna - anything the musher wants PLUS warm beds - so you never know whether the musher planned to stop there or got sucked into the hospitality!
It is then just 34 miles to Pelly crossing; the trail either travels along the river or the road depending on the conditions, this year it is travelling along the road. We expect Allen and the team later today and we are just now getting the lay of the land at this checkpoint so we are ready for them to arrive. We are all missing the dogs having spent an intense 36 hours with them - we can't wait to see them (oh, and Allen too!)
FYI: Pelly Crossing lies where the Klondike Highway crosses the Pelly River (hence Pelly-Crossing) and is the home of the Selkirk First Nation (thanks wikipedia!).