I crawled out of bed, brewed a pot of coffee and settled in front of the computer to learn that all three of our front-runners, Lance Mackey, Hugh Neff and Hans Gatt, are resting their dogs at the Carmacks checkpoint. Lance and Hugh are still racing neck and neck with Lance arriving at 5:08 and Hugh at 5:10. Hans was only 12 minutes behind Hugh, so he is certainly still in the running for first place.
In the race for fourth place, Zach Steer has about an hour and 23 minutes over Ken Anderson. Zach left Pelly Crossing at 7:01 and Ken followed at 8:24. Sonny Lindner left Stepping Stone hospitality stop at 5:20. The Live Tracker indicates that Brent Sass is in and out of Stepping Stone, but the leader board doesn't yet show his times, so he has passed Abbie West in the process. The Quest Facebook page notes that Brent darted in and out of the checkpoint at Pelly Crossing about 15 minutes ago.
Abbie is at Stepping Stone, resting her dogs. The Live Tracker indicates that Josh Cadzow is either just arriving or soon will be arriving at Stepping Stone, so Abbie put a fair amount of time and distance on Josh in the race for Rookie of the Year.
According to the YQ Facebook page, there is speculation in Carmacks that the winning team may cross the finish line as early as tomorrow afternoon, breaking the all time record of 9 days, 23 hours and 20 minutes set by Sebastian Schnuelle just last year.
When the mushers leave Carmacks they will be running toward the last checkpoint of the race, at Braeburn, YT. The trail is described as primarily going over "bush trails" with some challenging short hills and a lot of on and off river running. About 25 miles from Carmacks they enter the Chain of Lakes segment, where there are lots of portages between lakes, and the potential of overflow on the lakes themselves. The mushers have a mandatory 8 hour lay-over at Braeburn before running the last 100 miles into Whitehorse.