Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yukon Quest Day 2: Mile 101

Mile 101 continued

As the morning drew on numerous teams arrived: Sebastian, Wayne Hall, Michelle, Gerry, Kelly and Hans. We were all parked down on the glare ice while Hans got lost on the highway which ended up being a blessing since his team was now in the ideal parking spot next to the mushers sleeping cabin and off the cold ice. Lance and I took the opportunity while resting to not only enjoy some tasty vittles (bacon, eggs, chilli, etc.) served up by Peter Kamper and his always great outfit of friends at 101 but to spend some quality time with the pooches as well. One by one we'd take each dog off the main line and go for a short walk to loosen them up. We were parked to the side of the main contingent of teams thus not upsetting them from resting. All Lance's pooches are basically one family except for Scotch, a golden lab/husky mix whose bright color stands out among the more typical darker husky fur of the other pooches.

After over 7 hours of rest we prepared to head up over the notorious Eagle Summit. Hans, Kelly, and Sebastian had already departed by now, around these parts no one should ever be in a hurry. Unfortunately trying to even leave 101 was dangerous as the glare ice left little traction. The leaders became confused as we did a 180 and were now heading straight at Lance's team - we were out of control. Numerous officials and veternarians were up on the hill watching though none offered any assistance. Fortunately Lance swung our front end around, though the dogs confusion escalated, "How do we get out of here boss?" Thankfully Tamra came flying out of nowhere to help straighten things out before anyone became seriously hurt. Mile 101 being a dog drop only - handlers are not allowed to help teams get in or out to their parking spot. She would later tell me that the officials had penalized us for her actions and were now not allowing her to help bring dogs in or out of the next few checkpoints. C'mon now fellas - where were you at the time? - helping or just trying to cause trouble? It's bad enough when one of the officials is someone you once competed against every year. Someone I once highly respected but to have this man constantly whispering remarks in your ear as well as messing with your lady - what ever happened to the 'code of the north' on the Quest trail that Frank Turner so often talked about in the past? Though this was a petty infraction in hindsight is shows a general lact of respect by Quest personnel. Don't they realize we have our lives invested in these dogs? Everyday, sun up to sun down? Tamra should have received a reward for her effort. Penalize someone for saving our dogs and others from getting hurt? What the.....?

Once again down the trail, Lance followed behind us as we embarked for the summit - it was time to party - Northern style.

to be continued...


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