back now, I can see the ‘wheels on the cart’ begin to rattle a
little here in Eagle Island, but at the time I was jazzed by a solid
run in and by all the excitement in the checkpoint.
mushers heading in both directions here, I was awed to be hanging out
around the likes of Martin Buser, Rick Swenson, and others.
snacking my dogs I headed down to find my drop bags and got hung up
playing spectator for a few minutes as I watched John Baker’s team
come in, heading back to Kaltag. John was running a number of dogs
that belong to Jamie Nelson, dogs that I had got to know while
training with Jamie last fall, so I watched to see them and whispered
a ‘Hello’ from the sidelines to her favorite dog. Charge furiously
wagged his tail at the mention of his name.
of the things I really like about John is how he always retains his
manners and quiet, friendly demeanor out on the trail. Honestly, some
mushers do fall apart with the lack of sleep and stress of racing. Not
John, he is always so courteous to the volunteers and officials in the
checkpoints. Very inspiring!
got back to my team and got them all fed and bedded down for a nap.
The comings and goings of so many teams didn’t seem to faze my guys
at all and they napped well. Me – not so well. Eagle Island is
definitely one of the more rustic checkpoints on the race – just a
few tents set up on the ice of the Yukon. They had a couple tents for
mushers to sleep in, but the wind was flapping around the tents,
mushers were coming and going, and those that were sleeping were,
mostly, snoring – it just didn’t look like a comfy place to crash,
so I puttered around my team and hung out in the warm Checkpoint tent
for the duration of my break. Early in the morning, after making
several visits to the ‘outhouse’ (a small tent with a bucket and a
toilet seat) because of an unsettled stomach, we headed down the river
were lots of other teams on the river, both coming and going. My team
moved steady, although not as solidly has their run yesterday. I had
been in a bit of a quandary as to whether to go straight through to
Grayling, or whether to take a break out on the trail. The wind had
been blowing all morning, but the sun beat down on us too! When I came
to a sheltered spot about 20 miles from the Checkpoint and found
several other teams camped there, I decided to do the same. In
hindsight, I think I should have pushed on – but run and learn!!!
getting the dogs settled in, I had to make an emergency climb up the
riverbank to find a little privacy. I was glad that this camping spot
offered that option. My stomach was still really unsettled.
pass the time I read my book some, napped a bit, visited with other
mushers I was camped with and a few heading back the other direction.
Gallea had worked out a nice run/rest schedule that he and a few
others were going to stick to for the rest of the river. He asked if
I’d like to travel with them. I thanked him for the offer, but
declined, as I felt the best routine for my Siberians was a bit
different then their plan.
4 in the afternoon we hit the trail again. Unfortunately, it was not
with tremendous enthusiasm, in fact, it was with very little
enthusiasm. I was somewhat puzzled, as the dogs should have come back
strong after their rest - maybe it was the heat. I put my foot down on
the drag track to get their minds back on their jobs and tried not to
be too discouraged.
was glad to finally head up the bank into the friendly village of