On the trail - Dawson City - Steward River
I had a good nights sleep at John’s place. Mike did not show up on Sat morning to pick me up, this Dawson thing was really not going well, thankfully John drove me to the dogs. Next time, if there is one, I will only have one handler, too many handlers were here this time and that confused things more than anything. Unfortunately I did not talk to any vets before leaving Dawson. There was none to be found at their vetcheck and my leaving time fast approached at 7 p.m. The dogs looked good, but I am certain we overfed them, too many meals, feeding them each 6 hrs. I looked through the vet book and decided to leave with all 12 dogs again, quite a surprise to me to still have such a large team.
I have to admit that Dawson kicked me out of rhythm, so I believe it does the dogs, they finally get accustomed to the long working days before all for sudden resting for 36 hrs. My head was not quite there, so I realized at the „starting line„ that I forgot to put a blanket on Libby, the blanket was back at camp.... well too late. The team left nicely, we were gliding along town where a few spectators waved a good bye. My sled was very heavy, I think I managed to pack even more than leaving Eagle. In Dawson I was tossing the idea to slow down the pace, to get to see a bit more along the trail and not just rush rush and freeze. Now that I was leaving, I was not too sure if that would be a good plan after all, well I decided to take it by ear and the how it goes. The trail along the Hunker Road gradually climbs, so no wonder the team seemed slow to me. After some 2 hrs Frank Turner passed me, not really improving my feeling that the team moves slow. After talking to Thomas Tetz I decided to run all the way to the Indian River bridge approx an 8 hr run. So as usual I stopped after 4 hrs to snack, but nobody ate. O.k. I really overfed in Dawson. Hydration was still good, so no real worries other than all the weight in the sled. It is a long nice downhill from King Solomon Dome. We were lucky with the weather calm and perfect temperatures. We passed a very inviting sign after about 5 hrs, I think it is Mark Pearson’s place, hot water..., good reststop. At about 2 in the morning (after 7 hrs) I passed Frank again who pulled over to camp. About 30 minutes later I could see the Indian River Bridge and some headlight there, must have been Dan and Dave. I decided to stay up a little hill short before the bridge, maybe it is a bit warmer there. It took me 7.30 hrs. to get there. After pulling over ( I carried straw for the dogs ) I made another feeding mistake and offering the dogs the „ missed snacks „ which they of course took, but that took their appetite away for the meal I tied to give them later. Mad at myself I crawled in my sleeping bag besides the trail. I decided to cut some rest and leave after only 6.30 hrs rest getting me out at 9 a.m. not quite perfect running towards the heat of the day. Very to my surprise Frank already passed me at 7.30, I guess he had the same rest idea. My morning meal the dogs still took somewhat reluctantly.
At the bridge I caught up to Thomas and John, my dogs a bit reluctant to pass them. They warned me of a long uphill ahead, which indeed was long. In retrospect I should have run part of that last night, especially after being faster than I thought, next time eh? There was quite a serious of hills ahead, up and down, for long stretches till we finally came all the way up Eureka Dome. It was hot, very hot and Peter Ledwidge camped in a beautiful spot right up top. It was definitely better to rest than to run in the heat, but after only 3.5hrs running way too early to stop. At least the fish snack went over well this time. Nobody was limping and only Libby’s cut needed constant attention. My goal was to run to Stepping Stone. There is an amazing number of mining camps on the following downhill stretch, all kind of vehicles parked all over the place and even some nice cabins but many old trailers. Here I thought to run this long stretch in pure Wilderness, not quite. I always like to run unknown territory it keeps my mind busy to take in the new stuff. Some hours into the run while snacking again John passed me and we ran within sight of each other into Steward River. Coming onto the Steward River the scenery changed, bigger trees, quite a lot of snow and just a beautiful landscape. Added was the bonus to un in the setting sun, casting everything in a nice light. This was definitely the longest run yet with taking me 8.45, another reason why I should have run a bit more the night before. Dan, Frank and Dave Dalton were also there. Here the race was about to change for me.