YQ: Circle City Update

Both handler crews are in Circle City!

Our drive over to Circle was beautiful but it can be a treacherous journey so we decided to do it before it got dark. We knew we would have a long wait at Circle for any mushers to come in but it was a good decision and we managed to catch some much needed sleep.

Circle checkpoint is based in the village Fire Hall. Olaf and his team make it as comfortable and welcoming as can be! The local school had made ‘welcome’ banners for each musher in the Quest and there was plenty of scrumptious food for everyone. Thanks team!

At 11.37pm, Allen and his Black Team trotted happily into the checkpoint. They had just spent around 70 miles on Birch Creek, not the most interesting part of the journey as they weaved and serpentined along the river. They camped along the way for a few hours and will have enjoyed their rest in the warmer temperatures (-5 – 0F) in this part of the trail compared to the -15F we had in Central during the day.

We had a chance to chat to Allen as he ate some meatloaf and he told us that the team did great over Eagle Summit. They were screaming as they went up the hill; the usual suspects: Schmoe and Mismo were joined by Dutch, Commando and a few others in the joy at climbing a big hill!

Eagle Summit was beautiful. He said he’s seen it with 30 mile an hour winds and blowing snow so it was a treat to enjoy a calm, beautiful day. The trail from Central on Birch Creek was “perfect” and he said he couldn’t ask for a better trail.

Allen will have a (very) short sleep here then once they leave here, we say goodbye to them until we meet again in Dawson city.

They travel through Slaven’s Roadhouse, Trout Creek Hospitality Stop then onto Eagle checkpoint. After Eagle is American Summit, all 3,420 feet of it then into Dawson City for the 36 hour layover.

These runs between Circle and Dawson are long and the mushers will likely be camping on the trail, getting to enjoy the intimacy with their dogs Aliy and Allen talked about prior to the race. They are travelling over historic trails and seeing parts of the world few people get to see.

This is also when the handler crews start their epic road journey. We must now go back down through Central, 101, Fairbanks right down to Whitehorse in the Yukon; turn left and head up the Klondike highway to Dawson. It’s always a race between dog team and dog truck at this time.

I will be stopping back at the kennel to unload the truck and pack it for Dawson so will get a chance to update then.


By all accounts the dogs are doing a great job. They tackled Eagle Summit eagerly and sloshed through wet overflow with no problems. They have all learned a LOT on this race and Aliy is pleased with how the two year olds in particular have handled being pushed a little.

Talk about picturesque campsites!!!

Currently Aliy and her 10 team mates are is on her way to Circle having left Central in great spirits (see the Dropped Dog updates for info about Chena and Spark). We are looking forward to seeing her and the team later this morning. The YQ300 mushers then to turn around, get back onto Birch Creek and return to Central for their finish.

Immediately after they finish and feed the team, Aliy, Wes and Wendy will jump in the truck, had back down the Steese Highway and meet the Dawson crew ready for the long drive to Canada. Aliy will fit some sleep somewhere in there too!