The Black team came into Braeburn lunging and yelling to keep going at 10.58pm. Coming into a checkpoint is where you get to see Chica really animated and, although I was a bit away from the team as they pulled in (Ray met them at the check-in spot to guide them to their park spot), I could hear Waylon’s frog-like croak-bark from where I was standing. The team looked great and we were very happy to see them.
Once parked Allen did his checkpoint arrival routine of snacking the dogs, giving them straw beds and then removing booties. He also took time to rub them down with Algyval, add extra jackets and throw blankets so they could sleep comfortably. It didn’t take long for the team to go from "lunging and yelling" to curled up and sleeping – such is the experience of this team. They have the checkpoint routine down and know what it means when they get on straw.
Ray and I alternated time outside watching over the team. We don’t have to do it, and at -40 degrees it’s not such an easy thing to do; standing outside watching a sleeping dog team, but it helps Allen rest easier in a busy checkpoint.
One reward for us was a spectacular Aurora light show – dancing across the sky. What a treat! Another reward was returning to either Braeburn Lodge for a plate-sized cinnamon bun or into the warm truck for a quick sleep.
Allen said the trail was great and the dogs all worked well. They kept a good pace and he was really pleased with their run time to Braeburn.
The team took their first mandatory six hour stop in Braeburn - plus the time differential. The differential is the extra time teams must make up to account for their starting positions, i.e. because Allen left in position #1, he had an extra 1.25 hours to wait for him to be square with Hugh Neff who left in position #26.
Allen’s checkpoint leaving routine included giving the team a big bowl of warm kibble and fat meal, more massages, packing the sled with all necessary equipment, food and clothing for the run to Carmacks, then finally, dressing and bootie-ing. Once the dogs were up off the straw, they shook themselves off, stretched, pee-ed and were ready to head down the trail, 73-odd miles to Carmacks.
It was dark the entire time we were in Braeburn so there is not much in the way of pictures. We are now at the Carmacks checkpoint and we will try to catch up on some rest before we welcome Allen and the Black team later today.
Red Team Update
Aliy and her young Red Team came into Braeburn at 2:43am. Her checkpoint arrival routine is similar to Allen’s and I managed to catch up with her very briefly as she passed by me on her way to getting some rest. She looked in great spirits and said it’s all good! I will get more information to you about the Red Team as soon as I can.