I got a good start on my income tax return this morning, and then made a quick trip to town to do all those little "return to work" errands that I wouldn't have been able to do Monday because of the President's Day holiday (which I very nearly forgot). The major items were my monthly haircut and to pick up my medications from the pharmacy. The town run was followed by a quick trip to the post office, which I probably won't see again before I leave for work on Tuesday morning.
Let's get to the race. Things are really pretty exciting out there on the trail. Hans Gatt, Hugh Neff and Lance Mackey all apparently made the run over King Solomon's Nome and over the Black Hills to Scroggy Creek in one single, face-paced leg. The leader-board shows Hans arrived at 6:35 this evening, exactly 12 hours after leaving Dawson City at a very impressive average speed of 8.3 mph. That's moving right along in that hilly terrain.
The Live Tracker appears to show Hugh arriving now, and Lance no more than a mile or two away.
Zach Steer and Ken Anderson left right on time, at 2:03 and 2:05 this afternoon. The Live Trackers shows them well away from the dome and making good progress, no more than 3 miles apart. Brent Sass left Dawson at 5:25, Sonny Lindner at 5:40, Abbie West at 7:55 and Josh Cadzow at 9:55. According to a post on the Yukon Quest's official Facebook page Josh had only 8 dogs on the gangline, so he apparently elected to drop yearling Larry, who had grown overly tired on the trip from Eagle into Dawson City. Josh will be followed in about an hour by Gerry Willomitzer, making up our "Top 10" thus far.
When our race leaders leave Scroggie Creek dog-drop, they will traveling on mining roads with few recognizable landmarks, though Jane Cr. Summit is about half-way. A few miles before Stepping Stone they will trot past Pelly Farms and drop onto the Pelly River, which they will follow all the way to the Pelly Crossing checkpoint, only 240 miles from Whitehorse.
The long range weather forecast for Whitehorse is very similar to the forecast here in Two Rivers, with warmer than normal temperatures prevailing. This may prompt the mushers to try to time their runs so that the dogs are resting during the heat of the day. It could certainly become a considerable factor in the ultimate outcome of the race.