2010 Seeley Lake Sled Dog Race #4


We arrived at the Seeley Lake halfway checkpoint in the wee hours of the morning, approx 2:15 AM. We’d had a beautiful, technically clean, run over from the White Tail, something like four hours and two minutes. Not really too fast in the great scheme of things, but blazing by my standards. All in all, we had been on the trail for a little over 10 hours (counting a very brief rest at WTR)since the starting line.

Warren Palfrey had come in just a few minutes in front of me, and I found that I had made quite a lot of time on him.

I bedded the dogs down, and they ate like wild beasts. There were some sore nail beds in the group, and at the time, they didn’t seem like a big deal (I would learn otherwise during the miles ahead), so I treated them with an anti-bacterial (Neosporin) and left them all to get some sleep. I had already burned up 1.5 hours of my allotted 10.5, so my plan here was to give the dogs a good rest, but leave myself a decent chunk of time to spend back at WTR down-bound. The dogs could easily make the run back to Lincoln ‘straight through’, but in races with mandatory rest that comes in at the ideal amount for their respective length, that would be strategic suicide. I ended up taking 5:08.

While I was doing my chores, the checkpoint began to fill up. Charlotte Mooney, Rick Larson, John Barron, and Tom Thurston were some of the first to come in behind me. Mind you, at this point of the race, I still had no idea where any of us officially stood against one another. The first day/night cycle of any distance race can be very confusing in this regard, and I generally just focus on running my dogs and ignoring everybody else (I only focus on it here to help the readers understand a bit of what’s going on).

This was a bush checkpoint, and the only shelter was a large wood beamed pavilion meant for big outdoor cookouts. After I had been there for about an hour and a half, it started to rain, and within minutes it had become a full-fledged downpour. I ate a cold meal under the pavilion, then went back and laid down with my dogs under a tarp that I carry as part of my survival gear.

The dogs were not too happy about the rain & heat, but otherwise, they looked strong and healthy when I got them up a few hours later to feed them ‘breakfast’. It was pretty miserable; all of us, dogs and mushers alike, were soaked through to the bone. I make note of this, but I can assure you that I am not complaining; some of my very best races have been performed in extremely adverse conditions, and my dogs have all been tested in much worse than we were now experiencing. At this point, though I did not know for sure, I was very confident that I was in control of the race, and as I saddled up to leave the checkpoint, I saw that I was going to be physically first on the way back to Lincoln.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

Image of Jason bedding down his lead-dogs--courtesy of H. Barron

4 Responses to “2010 Seeley Lake Sled Dog Race #4”

  1. I like getting the race legs in separate posts… It adds to the suspense!

  2. Great post. I agree with Beth, it is a great way to chronicle the race.


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