Saturday, February 12, 2011

YQ Morning - The Long March Down River

Good morning.  I trust you slept well and are enjoying a delightful Saturday morning.  Here in the White Mountains the temperature has dropped significantly.  It's currently minus-14 here at my workplace, minus-16 near home in Two Rivers, and minus-11 at Eagle.  It looks like the wind has diminished considerably along the Yukon River, which I'm sure the front-runners in the Yukon Quest greatly appreciate.  The regional forecast for today is calling for temperatures to continue dropping, snow to face away and for winds to pick up later in the day and tonight.  The longer range forecast is calling for a series of storm fronts to come through.  Forecasters are referring to it as "an active system", that is likely to produce waves of snow, wind and all that other wintertime stuff.   

Out on the Quest trail, it looks like Hugh Neff has been camping about 25 miles shy of Slaven's Cabin for the past four hours or so.  He's followed by a big group of mushers including Brent Sass, Hans Gatt, Ken Anderson, Sebastian Schnuelle and Allen Moore some 40 miles back.  They also appear to be resting their teams at the moment.  Dan Kaduce is approaching that group, and is currently about 10 miles upriver from them, moving at about 6 1/2 miles per hour. 

Kelly Griffin and Josh Cadzow are both in the Eagle Checkpoint.  Clint Warnke, who had returned to Eagle after a sort of false start yesterday, decided to scratch from the race, making a total of 5 scratches and 1 withdrawal and leaving 19 teams in the running.

An article in this morning's Fairbanks Daily News-Miner describes the ordeal that Hans Gatt and the other front-runners endured while trying to cross American Summit during the storm.  Hans had to abort his first attempt at the crossing and wait for other mushers to come along.  It sounds like things were not far astray from how I'd imagined them yesterday evening.  Brent Sass said "I’ve never been in a storm that bad, with the wind blowing that hard, ever.  The wind was blowing so hard in our faces and you had to rely totally on your lead dog.”  By the way, the article includes a great photo of Brent's team arriving in Eagle, with his famous leader Silver right up front, wearing a big doggy grin.

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