Disclaimer: I tried to keep the pictures to a minimum,but there are still a lot. Sorry (not sorry).
I was excited to learn that the dog teams in the Yukon Quest came down the river right by our house. Standing in the middle of a frozen river while watching dog sleds go by? It doesn't get much more Alaskan than that, people. Tuesday morning, I texted my friend J to see if she wanted to go with me to watch the winner, Matt Hall, come down the river on his way to the finish line. My text message basically said "I've never done this before so I don't really know what I am doing, but it should be an adventure. Oh and dress for snow!" Surprisingly, she came anyway. We drove to a bridge less than a mile away, parked, and walked onto the river through knee-deep snow.
This was our view while we waited.
My brave (and probably a little crazy) friend J. If I had received that text from a friend, I think I would have stayed home!
The 2017 Yukon Quest winner. We were so close I could have reached out to touch him, but I was too busy taking pictures. He gave high fives to people as he went by.
Off he goes to the finish line
Wednesday brought 4 more mushers down our way (a couple mushers passed through in the middle of the night, but there was no way I was waiting up for them). Torsten Kohnert came through our neighbourhood about 8:30am. I simply walked a few minutes down the street to the river. Then I climbed through knee deep snow again to get on the river. I barely settled in to wait when he came around the bend. I almost missed him! Interestingly enough, he is only one I saw seated.
A couple hours later another musher came by, but I missed her by less than 5 minutes. I thought I had more time, but she was hauling at speeds up to 11 miles an hour! I was determined not to miss the next one. Jessie Royer came by mid-afternoon. By this point I had the timing down pretty good so I was ready and waiting when she showed up.
The last musher of the day, Ryne Olson, came through about 8:40pm. I took Husband down to the river so he could see his first dog sled team (somebody has to work all day so I can stay home and track dog sleds). I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want the flash to distract the dogs. So instead of a cute picture of dogs, you get this cute picture of us.
Thursday I had to wait until 1pm to see the first team of the day come down the river. I took my friend's 5 year old with me to greet Dave Dalton as he passed by. The snow was tricky for the 5 year old's short legs. During our 3 minute walk to the river she kept huffing and puffing and exclaiming "Miss Michelle, I can't. I just can't." After a few encouraging words from me basically telling her to suck it up (Just kidding. I was laughing too hard to say anything), she made it through the snow like a champ. On the way back she said "Miss Michelle, that man waved at me. It was pretty awesome." Apparently the effort was worth it for her.
Thursday evening brought more mushers. I went to greet one more, Rob Cooke, just to make it an even 6. I only took cell phone pictures and those didn't turn out very good. And let's be honest, you're probably sick of looking at dog sled pictures.
A final note, it turns out I have a knack for tracking dog sled teams. I was able to predict when the teams would be reaching our point in the race with almost scary accuracy. I could look at a musher's online tracker a few hours out and know when they would hit our spot. I seconded guessed myself once or twice, and that led to some mad scrambles to get out the door. I am considering adding "expert dog sled tracker" to my resume. Who knew Alaska would bring out such a talent in me?