Cody Strathe was the fourth musher to make it into Dawson City Wednesday, and it was anything but an easy journey for the Ester, Alaska resident and his dog team.
“That river is mean,” said Strathe, as he pulled into the Dawson checkpoint at 6:55 pm. When asked to elaborate, he laughed, “That river is not nice. They’re throwing everything at us out there. Rough conditions, rough ice and open water, lots of wind… fun stuff.”
Like others who arrived before him, Strathe was very happy to have a 36-hour rest lying ahead.
“I’m ready for beer and pizza, and giving my dogs some massages because they deserve it.”
Just over four hours after Strathe arrived at the midway point of the race, rookie Matt Hall arrived in Dawson with a huge smile on his face and 10 happy dogs.
Contrary to what Strathe experienced, Hall said it was smooth sailing for him and his team from Eagle.
“What a nice run in that is,” he said upon arrival. “I’m having a great time.”
Hall said he was worried that he might have a hard time getting his team to leave their hometown of Eagle, but once he harnessed them up and got going they didn’t look back. Once they got close to Dawson, they ran even better.
“They saw the lights from a few miles back and just started running. They know what a checkpoint looks like!”
When asked if his dogs are looking forward to the 36-hour rest, he said he figures they think they're only going to get four, so they'll be excited when they find out they've got more rest in store.
“I’m going to go feed them a big meal. They’ve been eating like elephants the last few days.”
John Schandelmeier was the next musher expected into Dawson, early Thursday morning. He was expected in around 2 am PST.
While the Klondike city welcomed Strathe and Hall, Eagle was also busy Wednesday. Ken Anderson, Torsten Kohnert, Dave Dalton and Curt Perano all left Eagle in the afternoon on the 100-mile journey. Brian Wilmshurst, Mandy Nauman and Jerry Joinson arrived in Eagle between 8:00 and 8:30 pm.
Meanwhile, Hank DeBruin and Tony Angelo both left Slaven’s Roadhouse bound for Eagle. After a rest at Trout Creek Hospitality Stop, DeBruin was just a few miles out of Eagle by end of day. Angelo returned to Trout Creek after heading out behind DeBruin earlier, and remained there.
The lead pack of Brent Sass, Allen Moore and Hugh Neff began their mandatory 36-hour layover in Dawson. Sass can leave at 11:02 am Thursday, while Moore can hit the trail at 1:30 pm, and Neff will be good to go at 2:59 pm.