At the checkpoint, Karen repacked her sled, gave the dogs treats and generally got ready to go. As handlers, we waited for her to leave and then took her drop bags to the car and drove back to Willow.
Karen's Siberians rest while waiting to hit the trail again.
Rocket does the Rocket dance begging for a fish!
After Karen hits the trail, Keith and I return to Willow where I will wait until around midnight to go back to the Willow Community Center and await the arrival of the North Wapiti team.
After Karen's Don Bowers run and getting to bed at 3:30 am, both of us got up and were back to the Community Center by 8:45 am. We even dropped dogs before we left. Karen is such a good sport and agreed to be a timer for the women's race that was part of the Winter Carnival. This was a five mile race with two classes...women under 47 and the AARP class for women over 47. I had planned to run my team, but with the lack of sleep decided it was not in their best interest. So, Vern Halter made me the race marshall. LOL! Thanks to Bonnie Church, my job was really easy. I made sure everyone signed up, made the musher meeting and then announced times to the race as the teams prepared. It was really a fun race of five miles. Everyone finished in good time. And even though it was a short race, it was volunteers who made it happen. Without the guys who smoothed and marked the trail, the timers, the handlers and those who helped at the start chute, none of it would have happened. It's like this for every sled dog race. Those who do what they can so teams can get out and be on the trail. I thank all the volunteers time and again!
A head on pass in the Willow women's race. A team of Siberians finishing the race. Notice Denali sparkling in the background. These are the days we Alaskans love!
One last thank you. None of the races would be held without race sponsors. From individuals to small businesses, to corporate sponsors, all the money donated goes to make the race happen. Sponsors are needed in every size race. I try to make note of who sponsors and if it's a business I can use, I will. If I meet someone from that business, I make sure to thank them for helping keep this sport alive. Despite what some animal groups will say, I think MOST sled dogs lead better lives than any fat, backyard dog who is left out on a chain in boredom. Sled dogs are happy, noisy, boisterous creatures and I can't imagine a life without them. So, thanks to all of you who support this amazing sport and these wonderful dogs.