More Mushers Arrive in Dawson, Sass Ready to Depart But Officials Warn of Moose Ahead

Sled dog team and musher in orange parka run down snowy chute.

Activity picked up in Dawson City this afternoon with three more teams stopping at the halfway checkpoint to begin their 36 hours of rest. Rob Cooke and Richie Beattie pulled into Dawson together with Cooke just a moment ahead at 12:17pm, followed by Beattie at 12:18pm in Alaska time. Pat Noddin joined the pack in Dawson at 2:29pm AKST.

While teams undergo their mandatory 36 hour layover, they received an update from Canadian rangers on what to expect ahead. The official trail report says the trail is in “excellent” shape with more than the average amount of snow and few instances of jumble ice. Rangers do warn mushers of some overflow but mostly to watch out for wildlife. The 200 miles between Dawson City and the next official checkpoint, Pelly Crossing, are reportedly seeing heavy moose traffic.

But Ryne Olson’s team is already used to that. She told KUAC that before Dawson, her team saw lots of wildlife activity.

“Mostly caribou. The team loved it! They thought it was great fun to chase them along the river. If anything it got them all fired up.”

The time in Dawson is critical for dogs to eat and get some rest, but also to undergo a mandatory veterinarian check to make sure they’re in good shape for the rest of the race. Teams have over 105 miles to go from Dawson to Scroggie Creek and that’s only a dog drop.

As of this update, only three teams have yet to reach Dawson, Olivia Webster still maintains the Red Lantern. Last year, she scratched in Dawson.

At the front, first position Brent Sass left Dawson City at 4:43pm AK time, the very moment his 36 hour layover finished. Michelle Phillips, in second position, completes her mandatory 36 hours at 5:54pm AK time.

Tune into KNOM hotlines over the weekend to hear current standings on the leaderboard.

Image at top: A musher arrives into the Dawson City checkpoint on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. Photo from Seth Adams, Yukon Quest. Used with permission.