Knik 200 (Andy)
At 9 h we have to be on the Knik Lake and at 11 h the first team of 54 is going out on the trail. The weather is good and with -10°C quite warm.
My Team: Spook - Chevy ¦ Coon - Marmot ¦ Franky - Jack ¦ Eagle - Uno ¦ Otto - K2 ¦ Paws - Libby
To get an idea Sab noted for me the following mileages of the trail:
13 Miles – to the Nome tripod
25 Miles – to the river (Big Su Crossing)
13 Miles – to Yentna
35 Miles – to the Checkpoint
I get my team ready on the frozen lake - Sab has to remember me to also kuddel the dogs because I'm so nervos - and start at 11:54 h.
The first kilometers we follow a bumpy, icy trail through the woods with a lot of crossing trails and so we have to be carrefull to stay on the right trail. Unfortunately I couldn't see the Nome tripod which should appear after 16 miles,where I wanted to take a picture - it seemed so that someone has stolen the plaque.
Some time later a loose Husky with the harness on passed me and made the leader for a while and than when we was passed by another team he made the leader for this team. Later I heared that the musher in question got his dog back near the Checkpoint and had to load him in the sled because he was so exhausted.
After 3 hours I passed the Big Su Crossing und now we are following the river. Only short time later Sab passed me but he had some problems to get away from me. A while later I saw the first teams camping, but our plan was to make the way in one stretch.
In Yentna we already don't have daylight and we got a little bit to far on the right of the trail and so my dogs wanted to go to the Lodge, but with some leftturns we came back on the right trail. Only few later it began snowing and I had to concentrate to see all the markers. Suddenly there was a lot of markers pointing to the right and only one marker in some distance pointing to the left. Unfortunately I couldn't see if these are K200-markers but my instinct said that the trail should go to the left because nobody said anything that the trail will leave the river. In this moment another musher ist coming - but she don't know more. And than there is the next musher und he passed directly on the left trail und so my decision is made I'm also following this trail. Somebody had changed the markers several times because in the Checkpoint I hear from different mushers that they had put the markers on the right trail.
We passed each other several times but after some time the others wouldn't pass me anymore and so I had to find the trail. From time to time I had to get the snow out of my eyes and from my headlamp to see anything.
After about 9:30 hours we have done the 145 km and reached the Checkpoint Skwentna - they only wish I have is to lay done a little bit. But before I have to make a bed of stroh for the dogs, prepare a warm meal for them, etc. - fortunately it stopped snowing. After a good hour everything is done and I can go in to eat something and try to sleep a little bit.
I can not sleep and at 3:45 I begin to prepare myself to go out on the trail again. Unfortunately I made I little mistake on my startingtime in so I got out at 4:45, about 25 minutes to late.
The first part of the trail was not the same than the incoming and after some time I saw a cross, which means that you shouldn't follow this trail. After inspection the environnement my conclusion was that this cross is for the incoming mushers and so I followed the trail - only few after I saw the first K200-markers appearing. Some kilometers later I suddenly saw a cooler on the trail and few after a set of dog dishes - maybe somebody has forgotten to load it in the sled after a stop or had to load a dog and hadn't enough place for the rest.
Short before Yentna I saw the first teams of this day which passed me, but some time later I could repass the team. Before the Big Su Crossing Uno began limping and I had to load her in the sled before we are coming to these bumpy trail. I fixed her in the sled bag and closed it to make sure that she stays inside. As the trail gots really bumpy Uno looked out of the sled bag I couldn't get her down again and so I had to look at her. I was afraid that she tries to get out when I cann't get an hand from the handelbar. On the following kilometers a got halluzinations because I always saw another dog limping, but fortunately they didn't.
Some miles before the finish I saw a two moose on one of the trails we are crossing - unfortunately I could see them only for a very short times because of course I couldn't stop.
After more than 11 hours we reached the finish and all dogs where in a good shape. The dogs got something to eat, they can go in there boxes, the sled was ranged on the top of the truck and than we go to eat something - this time everything is going quite fast because Sab and Pierre are doing a lot of the work for me.
At 19 h we are going to the musher banquet - there is also something to eat and they announce the winners.
Sab made it on the 12 place and I toke the 27th – and so my first qualification race is finished with success.