Thus far today I've moved some snow with the tractor so I can pull my truck into the yard and more easily load or drop off dogs, and I've done some odds and ends out in the kennel. Poor Chinook has some sort of infection affecting the right side of his head so I've put him on a course of antibiotics to see if we can't clear it up in short order. I've eaten a bit of lunch and it's time for a YQ update.
My friend Mike Ellis apparently lost control of his sled where water has frozen to ice on the side of a hill. Mushers refer to it as "side hill overflow" or "side hill glacier", but the technical term for the phenomenon is aufice. Aufice is a German word that literally means up-ice. It forms when water seeps from between layers of soil and rock into the open, usually on the side of a hill. It isn't always easy to see, and even if you can see it, it isn't always easy to bypass. According to a post on his Team Tsiga Siberians facebook page, Mike encountered a side hill glacier, the sled slipped out from under him, and he fell onto his left shoulder, dislocating it. He has scratched from the race at the Central checkpoint. It's a sad thing for Mike and all of his friends and fans. His team was very near the Top-10 when he crashed.
Nine of our Top-10 teams thus far have left Circle City, en route to Eagle.
The distance chart on the Quest website gives the distance between Circle City and Eagle as 159 miles. so they won't arrive until sometime tomorrow. Trail conditions on the river can vary from year to year from super-highway smooth to a incredibly rough due to jumble ice. When a river freezes, water flow typically continues beneath the ice, exerting pressure on it. If the ice fractures, pieces of ice torn free by the river's current will collide with stationary or slower-moving pieces. After becoming stuck in place, the loosened pieces of ice refreeze irregularly, causing a rough, or jumbled, surface. I haven't heard any recent reports on river conditions, so can't really comment on what they are likely to encounter this year.
My coffee cup is drained, so it's time for me to get back to work. Perhaps I'll post more later on today.