Manley, the first teams have left. It was Peter Kaiser who came and went first, then followed by Mitch Seavey. Mitch’s dogs wanted to make a little detour to the local post office-gas station. Next through was Jessie Royer. Other mushers are still resting here. Some do the long walk to the local school, others like Thomaes Waerner come clearly prepared to camp out right here in the dog lot. Quite the bright coloured sleeping bag Thomas is sporting. Not even a single hair could be seen, he was sleeping all zipped up inside.
It is a beautiful sunny, yet cold morning here in town. The dogyard is well set up in 2 large separate yards of which one has been filled up completely by now. The first teams are exiting too. The second team in, Hugh Neff has left a few minutes behind Martin Buser. Very noticeably, Martin did not put a single bootie on his dogs. Maybe he knew something the rest of us do not know, but for these temperatures, that is a rather unconventional move. Hugh’s dogs were singing a nice tune, after Martin had left, clearly wanting to go too.
Aaron Burmeister was in good spirits, proceeded to drop one dog which stepped in a crack on the ice and has left the checkpoint too. Nicolas Petit seems to be taking his time to get ready. I just had the pleasure to meet his mom, who came over all they way from France. She seemed to take these temperatures in stride.
Watching Jeff King taking booties off his dogs, he had them all sleeping in groups of 4 dogs, to keep them a bit warmer. He commented how mother nature is playing a cruel joke of an mostly warm Alaska winter, which turns deep freeze right at the beginning of the Quest and Iditarod. At least this cold snap, later in the season, is a full 20 degrees warmer than in the Quest.
Enjoy the morning shots, will be working my way up the trail here in a bit. The machine is running, hunting down some fuel now! Sebastian