To backtrack a little, Dave and the Gang arrived in Dawson City at 3:03 AM on February 12. The trail brings incoming teams right downtown Dawson to check in before they run across the Yukon River to the campground. This year, the mandatory rest has been reduced to 24 hours – other mandatory rests have been extended along the rest of the trail. Jen and Kirsten arrived well before Dave to build a comfy campsite for the team. Handlers are allowed to construct an open ended shelter that is lined with lots of straw for the dogs to bed down in.
During this 24 hour rest, handlers help feed, massage, and otherwise care of the dogs. Vets will examine the team and often take urine samples from the dogs for drug testing. Dave and other mushers are able to get a GOOD sleep, several hours, while their gear thaws out and handlers take care of the team. Once Dave was up and at ’em yesterday, some minor repairs were made to his sled while harnesses and dog coats were washed.
The Dawson City checkpoint is a really great characteristic of
the Yukon Quest. At this point in the race, handlers have started traveling in groups, mirroring the progress of the teams they are supporting. Before teams arrive, building the camp is the priority. After that, it’s a waiting game. Dawson City’s a fun town that opens its
doors for the Quest pack every February.