We arrived in Manley Hot Springs. It has been a place I long wanted to visit. Glad to be here, the temperature has dropped to about 10 below. Uploading from the trail is not that easy in those temperatures. About 7 miles out of Nenana, we passed a whole group of mushers camped out. Some of them, like Paul Gebhardt, have planned to camp again before Manley. The run over was 84 miles long, according to the speedometer. A VERY fun trail, specially the last 20 miles before Tolovana Roadhouse. Windy, twisty and fun for the dogs. Specially at night, this will be a hell of fun ride for the teams. Leaving the Roadhouse, the trail gets a bit wider, yet still very fun .
Martin Buser had camped out in a sneaky spot. We had entirely missed him pulled of behind a bunch of trees, if it would not have been for Thomas Waerner being camped down a bit further down. Watching his tem, looking back down the trail, we could see Martin’s team. He had a nice fire going, almost Brent Sass Yukon Quest style. He had speakers with music going. That gave his campspot an outright homey feeling. He must have been there quite a bit longer than Thomas, as Thomas was just putting his straw down. Michelle another mile down the trail was in the process of pulling her team off the trail. And they were having none of it. The dogs eager yipping and yapping to go. Once she spread a little bit of straw, off to the side of the trail, her team finally got the hint. At that time Michelle was in the lead. It is nice to see her so far up front. She put in a strong 70 mile run from the starting line. Her team looked great. He husband Ed Hopkins came in 3rd during the Yukon Quest this year. Both seem to be highly motivated to push a little harder! Go team Yukon!!
Currently Nicolas Petit is being followed by Aliy ZIrkle, they are getting close to Tolovana. On the way there the trail passes “ old Minto “, which today is used as a healing camp. Signs welcomed the mushers with warm water and advertising hot dogs…. 32 miles in the middle of nowhere! Not bad at all. Tolovana seemed to be occupied to for the night, as there were lights on. We got there just about darkness, passing a large group of snowmachiners, I think they are following Thomas Waerner. Aliy was camped short out of Nenana, and with her moving already again, she could not have stayed long. At the time she told me, that she would camp again before Manely, but I pretty much expect her to come straight here, as the trail is very fast, and a bit shorter than advertised. Time will tell.
Manley is ready. The school children wrote nice welcome signs. The checkpoint is up and running and the doglot is set up, It looks great. I finally got to meet my trail informant Tom Huntington in person! Very nice!
Time to get a nap before the teams file in. Enjoy the shots from the run up here…
Happy trails Sebastian