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  • 1stimestar
    Welcome to Checkpoint Mile 101, so named due to its location of 101 miles up the Steese Highway.

    The inside of the cook shack.

    The crew.

    Putting up the sign, getting set up.

    Drop bags. These are bags that the mushers send on ahead to be waiting for them at each checkpoint. They contain dog and people food, batteries for head lamps, runner plastics, dog booties, clean socks, dry glove liners, etc.

    Trail breakers taking a break. Trail breakers create and mark the trail. We also always have trail breakers assigned to us to help rescue mushers in case of emergencies.

    It's hard work and hard on the snow machines too.

    This is our location on the elevation map, right between Eagle Summit and Rosebud Summit, the two gnarliest summits on the race.

    We had a couple of nights with active lights.

    Lance Mackey, taking a nap in the sun with his dogs.

    The beard brigade. We had such an awesome crew this year.

    My newest volunteer patch, the yellow one, on the back of my fiddle case.


    Outgoing trail.

    Bacon is a staple at 101.

    Anyways, that's just a bit.

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  • 1stimestar
    Mushers are arriving in Dawson, the half way point. In previous years there was a 36 hour layover here. As of this year, the mandatory layover is 26 but with an extra mandatory layover required in Circle, Central, or 101. This is the only checkpoint where handlers can help the mushers. Normally handlers set up extensive camps for the dogs and care for them while the musher stays in town at the hotel. The handlers can create a covered space for the dogs but it can not be all the way enclosed. You can see our camp and a few others in my "Adventures in Handling" post from 2009 when I handled for Wayne Hall.

    4 mushers have scratched so far, including my fav, Matt Hall (son of previously mentioned friend.) But it looks like Brent is doing great so I am happy for him.

    There are still unconquered lands.
    I saw a bumper sticker not long ago that said 'Alaskans For Global Warming.' I had to laugh. I think there are 22 mushers somewhere in the Canadian Yukon who would gladly support that cause right now.
    The dwindling ‪#‎yukonquest‬ field has largely checked through Pelly Crossing, and is now making the 201 mile trek to Dawson City. Temperatures are reported to be in the -50 range.
    We don't count wind chill up here. At -45 (the lowest windchill charts go) even the 10 mph wind speed created by a dog team drops the effective temp to 72 below. Anyone who's ever traveled the Yukon knows there is a near constant wind.
    I say somewhere in the Yukon because we don't really know where the mushers are. They are carrying little GPS trackers, but there are places on this planet where GPS doesn't work. Where satellite phones say 'no signal.' Where you remember that no matter how many machines we put into space, how smart we can make a computer, or how many warplanes we can stack on a boat, humans are still not in control. We are very, very, very, small.
    Right now 22 mushers are feeling very small. Their world consists of the 10' beam cast by the LED headlight. It shows 12 little dog butts, concertedly scurrying towards some unknown destination. They have no idea where they are, and rarely see markers. They are relying entirely on those lead dogs to follow the trail, on those little trail markers to lead to somewhere, on the 3 AA batteries in that headlight to last until daylight, on these 24,506 goose feathers to keep their core temperature slightly above hypothermia. The only thing they can hope to control is to make their fingers hold onto that handlebar. Never let go. But at -72, they're not even in control of their fingers.
    Have you ever been in 50 below? Try to eat. A snickers bar might as well be a concrete block. A banana will drive a 20 penny nail into a plank. If spilled, freshly roasted coffee will freeze before it hits the ground. Same goes for bodily fluids.
    If you're frustrated watching the GPS trackers, don't worry, they're not telling the truth. Jeff King (I'm 99% sure) isn't still stopped, and all those other blips DO NOT accurately represent where the teams that carry the signal actually are. We'll know when they get to Dawson. Fortunately the Yukon Quest Facebook page is doing a phenomenal job posting updates.
    But Facebook doesn't work where those guys are either.

    Leave a comment:

  • 1stimestar
    started a topic Yukon Quest chat.

    Yukon Quest chat.

    Yes the Toughest Race on Earth started today in Whitehorse. I'll be going up to "my" checkpoint, Mile 101 on Thursday. Please feel free to follow the checkpoint adventures at

    Who is your favorite musher? This year mine is Matt Hall as he is the son of my friends and an awesome musher.


    As of tonight, Checkpoint Mile 101 has been opened up by assistant checkpoint manager Mike Bowman. If anybody needs help or a cup of coffee on the Steese Highway between 12 Mile Summit and Eagle Summit, please feel free to stop by.
    At this point the weather is good and no problems are anticipated. For emergencies (but only for that) we are for now connected to the outside world by Sat-Phone.
    Our checkpoint time table is as follows:
    02/8: Delivery of straw and food drop bags for mushers, cabin repairs and set up.
    02/11: Our communication manager Nathan Brisboise will arrive and open the communication cabin. He will stay until the last musher leaves.
    02/11: Hughes net technicians will arrive and set up our internet link to the outside world. Thanks for being such an awesome sponsor !!
    02/11 -12: An extra crew of trail breakers will arrive (not the ones who check the trail before the first musher) to go over the trail from Central over Eagle Summit down the Birch Creek drainage and up to Rosebud again to add markers and gather last minute trail reports. At least two trail breakers will then be stationed at 101 for trail care or emergencies until the last musher leaves.
    02/12: Georganne Hampton will arrive to officially open the Mile 101 cook shack, which she runs for 6 years now with Kelly Kamper. She will also bring with her the awesome food Ivory Jacks, a restaurant in the Goldstream Valley near Fairbanks provides for us to feed mushers. Ivory Jacks used to be a sponsor of our little dog drop when no one cared. They are still providing us with food for mushers at what has now become a checkpoint more than 15 years later. Thank you again, again and again ! smile emoticon
    O2/13: Kelly Kamper, the checkpoint manager Peter Kamper and all additional crew will arrive.
    02/14: Final set up of the checkpoint. Stews and soups will be prepared and the dog lot will be laid out.
    02/15: First musher will arrive. We anticipate this to happen in the early morning hours.
    The weather is supposed to warm up considerably over the next week and we will keep you posted on this page about weather/wind conditions at 101 and the surrounding Summits as soon as information becomes available.
    If you have questions, feel free to contact us.
    Happy Trails to all... smile emoticon
    Checkpoint Mile 101
    The crew

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