I just got off duty from day 1 of a 14 day tour. As expected it was relatively busy.
It was also relatively busy in Whitehorse and the Yukon Quest finish line. Sonny Linder finished his race at 10:14 this morning, with a official corrected time of 9 days, 21 hours and 5 minutes, more than 2 hours ahead of Sebastian Schnuelles record last year.
Arriving in 7th place was Josh Cadzow, who has been nicknamed "Heart Throb" by Facebook fans. The race's only Alaskan Native musher finished his race at 1:18 this afternoon, for an official time of 10 days, 0 hours and 3 minutes. Josh has won the race for Rookie of the Year and the rather bashful young man dedicated his race to the people of his home town of Fort Yukon.
As a historical note, Fort Yukon was established as a Hudson's Bay Company trading post by Alexander Murray in 1847. I've read Murray's journals thoroughly and can assure you that he and his superiors were very much aware that they were 'trespassing' on territory claimed by Russia. One can make a logical argument that the Gwitch'n people in the vicinity of Fort Yukon may have been the first Indians (as opposed to Eskimos) to mush dogs in Alaska, so Josh is continuing a very long tradition among his people.
Brent Sass was the eighth musher to cross the finish line, bringing the minimum allowed team of six dogs over the finish line at 4:01 for an official corrected time of 10 days, 2 hours and 52 minutes.
Now we are waiting for the ninth musher, and frankly I'm all but gnawing at my fingernails. Although her SPOT unit and live tracker system seem to be communicating, the data indicates that my friend and favorite beertender Abbie West has been stalled on the Tahkini River, only a few miles from Whitehorse, for several hours. My over-active imagination can come up with a few scenarios to explain the delay, but none are pleasant. The most recent data shows her finally on the Yukon for the final 10 miles or so into town, but she's barely slogging along at only 2 to 2 1/2 miles per hour. I'm guessing that she is afoot, leading her team up the river.
Meanwhile, Normand Casavant is somewhere on the trail with a SPOT unit that isn't functioning. There is a chance that he could pass Abbie to take the ninth position. Even if Abbie has to spend the next 5 or 6 hours hiking, she should probably be able to make a top-10 finish, which is respectable in ANYBODY'S book.