2015 Dalton Gang Quest Team!
Dave and the Gang rolled into Fairbanks just before midnight on February 18th to capture an 11th place finish after 11 days, 13 hours, and 13 minutes traveling from Whitehorse to Fairbanks. With 10 dogs in the team, the Gang completed the final leg of the Yukon Quest in 11 hours. Lee Lowry – longtime friend of the Dalton Gang – and handlers Jen Kirsten met him at the finish line with a snack for team and a Budweiser for the musher.
Kirsten, Dave, Jen
Lee and Dave
Sounds like the Aurora was really rocking last night – Dave said his next is sore from staring at the sky all the way into Two Rivers! Jen said the Northern Lights were out all night long…sounds like everyone got quite a show.
This year, two of the Seven Dwarfs have been shining throughout the duration of this 1000 mile race. Grumpy has been this years “most delightful surprise”. He’s always ready to go and is proving to be an exceptional leader. Happy has also been stepping up and leading quite a bit along the way and has demonstrated a strong and positive attitude on this years Quest.
On a different note, Norm injured a pad and is being left at Two Rivers. Regardless of this little injury, Norm has been working hard and having fun. Looks like Dave will finish 10 dogs strong!
Time in estimate based on tracker status……114 miles to go!
Dave is 6 miles out from Mile 101 Checkpoint after leaving Central this morning at 10:00 with 11 dogs on the line. Woody joined Kirsten and Jen in the dog truck – sounds like his spirits had dropped a little. Dave and Mike Ellis left Central together so they could tackle Eagle Summit together. Trail reports say that it’s close to 30 degrees ABOVE at the top with some gusts of wind.
Dave should be at Mile 101 very soon – that’s 878 miles further down the trail, and the second to last checkpoint. Kirsten and Jen are waiting for the Gang at 101 and report beautiful blue skies!
Ninety six hours and 24 minutes after leaving Dawson City on February 13 at 3:04, Dave and the Gang rolled into Circle City this morning at 6:54 am. It’s over 300 miles from Dawson to Circle with the remote village of Eagle as the only checkpoint that is not handler supported.
“Dave and dogs looked great coming into Circle! Good timing too… 8.5 hrs/60 miles from Slavens. Grumpy has a bit of frostbite on his flank. Dave says he check it more when he gets to Central and if it hasn’t improved then he will drop him. When Dave came in to the firehall, chef Joe asked how he wanted his steak and eggs cooked. Being pampered now also here biscuits and gravy and broccoli quiche. Dave immediately complimented Mike the main trail breaker for the nice trail coming in. It is rough with lots of zig zagging trying to find the smoothest path through the many miles of jumble ice but Dave said he’s seen worse. Dave came in in the dark so I’ll get some more pics when he wakes up and starts getting the dogs ready. New rule this year, when musher is by his team no handlers are allowed in dog parking area. That’s why we haven’t been able to get close-ups. More later…” – Jen
Mushers were required to take a 6 hour rest at their checkpoint of choice between Circle, Central, and Mile 101. Dave left Circle 6 hours and 15 minutes after arriving this morning in 9th place!
The Gang arrives in Dawson City in the early morning hours of February 12th!
To backtrack a little, Dave and the Gang arrived in Dawson City at 3:03 AM on February 12. The trail brings incoming teams right downtown Dawson to check in before they run across the Yukon River to the campground. This year, the mandatory rest has been reduced to 24 hours – other mandatory rests have been extended along the rest of the trail. Jen and Kirsten arrived well before Dave to build a comfy campsite for the team. Handlers are allowed to construct an open ended shelter that is lined with lots of straw for the dogs to bed down in.
During this 24 hour rest, handlers help feed, massage, and otherwise care of the dogs. Vets will examine the team and often take urine samples from the dogs for drug testing. Dave and other mushers are able to get a GOOD sleep, several hours, while their gear thaws out and handlers take care of the team. Once Dave was up and at ’em yesterday, some minor repairs were made to his sled while harnesses and dog coats were washed.
The Dawson City checkpoint is a really great characteristic of
the Yukon Quest. At this point in the race, handlers have started traveling in groups, mirroring the progress of the teams they are supporting. Before teams arrive, building the camp is the priority. After that, it’s a waiting game. Dawson City’s a fun town that opens its
doors for the Quest pack every February.
250 miles into the race – 12 dogs – 1 musher. So far, Dave’s been pretty excited about a new diet for the dogs that consists of more meat, and an array of vitamins and other nutrients. Dave must have passed 2 or 3 teams on his way. Stay tuned for updates from Jen and Kirsten (and chuck and kate).
YQ Handlers – left to right – Kirsten, Dave, Jen
This is Jen’s second time on the Quest Trail with Dave. She’s liven in Healy for 5 years and enjoys a small recreational dog team made up of retired Gang members! Her “favorite days of the year are sledding along the outskirts of the Alaska Range and camping with her hubby.”
Kirsten, originally from Montana, lives in Healy where she works in construction AND massage therapy with an emphasis on the lymphatic system in humans AND cats and dogs. Pretty neat. This is her first time handling on the Yukon Quest.