The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race

Saturday, February 2nd was the main event that my tour guests had come to see – the start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race!

The race was scheduled to start at 11:00, but the dog yard where all the mushers and dogs ge ready was open to the public from 09:00 until 10:00, so I dropped my guests off there as it opened, with the temperature at -36°C (-33°F).

The dog yard is both exciting and interesting. There’s a whole lot of preparation needed to leave on a 1,000-mile race, and each of the 30 mushers in this year’s Quest has his/her own methods.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Here are a few of the army of volunteers that help put this race together and make it run smoothly whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

Volunteers at the start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
The dogs have widely-varying reactions to the activity in the dog yard. Some are excited, some bored.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Once the dog yard closed, there were still good photo ops over the low fence.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
This particularly handsome team caught my eye, but I did a poor job this year of keeping track of who is who.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
By the 11:00 start time, there were over 1,000 people braving the cold to see the mushers off.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Matt Hall, with starting position and bib #7, on his way to Fairbanks the hard way. Although the Yukon Quest no longer promotes itself as “the toughest sled dog race in the world”, every fan of the sport knows that it is.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Olivia Webster, starting position and bib #15, starts her first Yukon Quest.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Brian Wilmshurst, from Dawson City, has starting position and bib #16. By this point, the crowd had thinned substantially due to the cold.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Hendrik Stachnau, starting position and bib #20, has come from Germany to run his first Yukon Quest.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
I had to leave before all the mushers had left, to move my van over to the spot where I would meet my guests. Somewhere in the start line crowd, my wife, Cathy, was still cheering on the mushers, but I couldn’t find her.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
I don’t know what this stand was selling, but there was a long line of people waiting for it. The fire sure looked good! 🙂

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
One of the final teams getting ready to move to the start line.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
We went for a nice warm lunch, then I drove the group out to the Takhini River to watch about a dozen teams go by. This provides a good look at the teams out in the wilderness. Cody Strathe, bib #28, appreciated the cheers.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
I’m not sure who this approaching musher is – his bib number wasn’t clear.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Yukon Quest rookie Chase Tingle, bib #22, glides past the endless, silent forests…

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
…and then into an area fogged by snow dust and the breath of previous mushers and dogs.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
Curt Perano from New Zealand, bib #29.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race
A final shot of Rob Cooke, bib #30, as he heads north, and then I took the group back to Whitehorse.

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race

Over the next 2 days, while the mushers made their way towards Dawson where we’d meet them again, our tour would drive and ferry around “the Golden Circle” from Whitehorse to Skagway and Haines and back to Whitehorse.




Comments

The start of the Yukon Quest 2019 sled dog race — 4 Comments

    • Thanks, Sascha. Now that the airline bumps have vanished, I can get into telling the story properly. We’re have lots of fun in Dawson, with the temperature now warmed up to -20C 🙂

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