Team and Trail
Long distance sled dog races, or just trips by dogteam... My goal with this blog is simply to help support the history, spirit, passion and love for dog teams and the trails they run.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Kleedehn Still Leading, Neff Close Behind

Brent Sass leaving Circle City, photo by Helen Hegener
February 22, 2009; 1630 AKST (Circle City, Alaska) - William Kleedehn and Hugh Neff arrived at Central Checkpoint this afternoon within three minutes of one another. The two have been consistently near the top of the leader board since the race started eight days ago, but to be within three minutes of each other at this stage of the race will make for an incredible finish.

There's a Central checkpoint photo and more of this race update at the Northern Light Media Journal.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

"300 Miles of Mushers"

Updates from the Yukon Quest site this morning:

Yukon Quest mushers and their dog teams will soon be stretched across nearly 300 miles of trail.

The 5 front runners are in and out of Eagle Checkpoint, on their way to Slaven's Roadhouse and should reach Circle City some time close to midnight Saturday.

Check the race site for complete information on the mushers' positions. And from another race update:

By late Friday evening both Slaven's Roadhouse, the next stop for the front runners, and Circle Checkpoint, the first checkpoint on the Alaska road system, were populated with Yukon Quest Judges and Veterinary Team members awaiting the arrival of the first teams. While teams are not anticipated to arrive in Circle until midnight Saturday, unpredictable weather conditions made it prudent to position Race Personnel at the earliest possible opportunity.

Saturday's reported clearing weather should allow race organizers to complete the flights delayed by Friday's weather system, and the accumulating snowfall should continue to improve trail conditions for Yukon Quest mushers and their dog teams.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Five Quest Mushers Scratched

With Josh Cadzow's return to the Dawson City checkpoint this morning, five Yukon Quest mushers have now scratched from the race: Jean-Denis Britten, Jerry Joinson, Hans Gatt, David Dalton and now rookie favorite Josh Cadzow of Fort Yukon. Twenty-four mushers are still headed for Fairbanks.

Photo by John Hagen.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Yukon Quest Continues

It's time for Team and Trail to pick up on the Yukon Quest, which started on February 14th in Whitehorse, and is heading for Fairbanks, 1,000 miles away. The teams are just coming off their mandatory 36 hour rests in Dawson City, and the big news as they get back on the trail again is three time Quest champion Hans Gatt's not joining them. He scratched from this race to refocus his efforts on the upcoming Iditarod. Details at the Yukon Quest site, Northern Light Media Journal, and no doubt many other sources.

Photo by John Hagen.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Klondike 300 Slideshow

It was such a lovely day today I drove up to Willow's Eagle Quest Lodge at Deshka Landing and took a few quick photos of a couple of the teams going through. Nothing fancy, no close-up shots here, and almost as many "interesting tree shots" as sled dog teams. But for what it's worth, here's the slideshow. (Note the link goes to the album; click the slideshow link for the show. You can control the time onscreen, or pause the photos.)

For current musher standings check the website.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Klondike 300

The Klondike 300, originally scheduled for January 17 but delayed by adverse weather conditions, starts at 10 am Saturday, February 7 at the Tug Bar, at the end of the Knik-Goose Bay Road, south of Wasilla, Alaska. The mushers currently entered are, in starting order: Carmen Perezchino, Abby West, Louise Bissonnett, Kristy Berington, Ray Redington Jr., Cym Smyth, Ryan Redington, Steve Geiger, Jessie Royer, Aaron Burmeister, Benedict Beisch, DeeDee Jonrowe, Jim Lanier, Emil Churchin, Lance Mackey, Nancy Yoshida, and Jan Steve. For complete information about the mushers and the race visit the race website.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Texan Coming North

There's a Texan coming back to Alaska in March... Sarida Steed-Bradley is returning for this year's Iditarod after 37 years away from Alaska. To say she's excited would be an understatement; reading her weblog, Return to Alaska, A Journey North, gives some small indication of what this trip will mean for her:
Alaska has called me back. Over the past year and many months I've found my thoughts and dreams turning north as if magnetised like a compass needle. I'm almost ready to go.
And later, she reveals part of the greater impetus behind her pilgrimage:
Phil had just recently been discharged from the Army. He was back at Gramma and Grandpaw's house for a few weeks to gather his hunting and fishing gear, visit family, see friends and prepare to move. His decision had not gone over well with the family and we had hastened up the road from Austin for a weekend visit before he left. Why Alaska, for crying out loud? Nothing anyone said could change his mind, because Alaska had claimed his heart.
Sarida already has some wonderful stuff on her blog, like all the mushers drawn for the 1972 Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage, and a lovely photo of the beautiful full color patch she designed for Lance Mackey's inimitable lead dog, Larry. She shares some of her hopes for her trip, like seeing the Aurora Borealis again, and some marvelous re-writings of favorite old Alaskan-oriented songs. Get to know this lady from Texas now, and follow along as she traces her roots back into the North Country.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Commentary by Joe May

There's a very interesting commentary by Joe May at the Don Bowers site, and as usual, Joe's writing is stellar:
The mushers of this years Bowers race will use trails, knowledge, and skills that developed and evolved here in the upper valley by those unique characters. I thought it a fine gesture to recognize them and the time they defined….good history is so easy lost.

Joe's right about the good history, and with many years on the trail, he's one who should know. Click over and read what he has to say.