The Black Team handler team is currently in Central having just seen Allen and the gang come and go through the checkpoint. They have a long road to Circle and it is short by road miles so we are holed up here for a couple hours (I think the others are thinking: Superbowl!) to get some good food and a little down time. It’s a good chance to catch up with what has happened so far.
As expected Allen and team “blew through” Two Rivers checkpoint, staying only long enough to pick up some supplies and check in and back out again. They then ran into the night to climb 3,640ft Rosebud. It was a beautiful night, clear and starry with dancing auroras overhead. Musher after musher coming off the trail said how ‘amazing’ or ‘stunning’ it was to climb up seemingly almost into the lights.
The team arrived just before 4am and, unfortunately I am not able to upload any video but when you see it you’ll see, several of the dogs were slamming in their harnesses especially Mac who was screaming and lunging. They quickly found a park and Allen set to with his checkpoint chores of snacking the dogs on some salmon and beef snacks, laying out the straw for them to snuggle into and taking all booties off. He put a few blankets on those who needed them and let them be for a while, while he prepared their big kibble and meat meal for later. He then went through his drop bags and packed and organized himself to leave in a few hours.
When he came inside for an amazing feed of scrambled eggs and bacon (lots and lots of bacon) cooked lovingly by Dallas for the mushers, we noticed he was a little more frosted than the other mushers that had come in. There had been some two foot deep overflow in one section and evidently as Allen lifted his feet to try to keep his feet dry he got tangled in one of his ropes and toppled over, right into the freezing water! He wasn’t completely saturated but he said “I got a little bit wet”.
He was really pleased with how the team is going and said he is still riding his drag mat to keep them at a reasonable pace. The trails are hard and he doesn’t want to go too fast at this early stage and risk ‘hard trail injuries’ such as sore wrists and shoulders.
Allen then went off to the musher cabin for a quick sleep and to dry out his gear while we kept watch over the team in shifts. It was a real treat to be out there while the lights were swaying overhead, the stars twinkled and the smoke from the woodstoves in the cabins drifted across the checkpoint.
At one point the next door team started howling and, wouldn’t you know, Schmoe joined in! Apart from then, they all seemed to sleep pretty soundly.
After a sleep Allen set about his exit routine. He fed the dogs their big meal, which they finished off in short order, then dressed them ready for their climb up and over Eagle Summit on the way to Central. The sun started rising about that time and the surrounding hills glowed pink. Allen was looking forward to climbing up and enjoying the view.
Teams were to see out a mandatory four hour rest plus their time differential at either Mile 101 or Central, so Allen saw it out in 101. Their stay was a little over five hours.
After we cleaned up his camp spot (raking up the straw, removing trash and surplus supplies) we drove the 33-odd road miles to Central. The road flanks Eagle Summit so we could get a real sense of just how big the climb is!
Bridgett, Scotty, Jennifer and Jen took snow machines up Eagle Summit and have said they have some great photos and video to share. I’ll get that to you as soon as I can. I can’t wait to see it as it was an absolutely stunning day.
Around midday, Allen and his team of screaming and yelling dogs pulled into Central checkpoint. He didn’t park, rather pulled to the side of the trail and restocked his sled with dogfood and snacks as well as some personal gear for himself. He also took with him half a bale of straw so we expect they will camp on their way to Circle City, around 75 miles away.
RED TEAM UPDATE - YUKON QUEST 300
I haven’t had much of a chance to see or speak to Aliy yet. Seems they camped at the same place Allen did just before the Two Rivers checkpoint and followed suit by blowing through, stopping to replenish supplies and check in and out.
Their campsite in 101 was very picturesque! She stopped there for a few hours (you can probably tell that info better than I as I don’t have ready access to the leaderboard nor a tracker) before embarking on their climb over Eagle Summit! We are waiting in Central so we can see can see her team arrive.