Yesterday, February 4th, Kate and I went down to the Chena River to watch the start of the Yukon Quest. The Yukon Quest is a 1000 mile international dog sled race that runs between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse YT. The starting location alternates year-to-year so we didn’t get to see it last year. In 2011 most of the teams came into Fairbanks at times when we were at work, so we didn’t see any of them. This year we managed to see all but the first few mushers leaving Fairbanks and it was pretty exciting. Crowds lined the Chena River from downtown to the Steese Highway bridge, thinning the further east you go. There was a ton of good energy in the air with barking dogs and cheering masses. The start took a little over an hour with mushers leaving the start gate in three minute intervals. The temperatures have warmed up significantly this week; it was about -12° F down on the river.
People lining the trail on the river and the bridges overhead. Even though there are a lot of people, it’s easy to spread out and find a front-row seat.
If you want to read more about the race, there’s a good summary on the Yukon Quest website.
I’ll upload some more pictures to flickr over the next few days, so check back!
Four-time Quest and four-time Iditarod winner Lance Mackey and his all rookie dog team. (Mackeys come back kennel)
I love the lead dog’s face! They really love to run.
UAF alumnus Sonny Lindner heading down the Chena River.
Tok resident Hugh Neff having fun at the race start