The 100th Anniversary of the All Alaska Sweepstakes begins Wednesday morning (tomorrow) at 10:00am. Exciting! Jeff and his crew have been in Nome since Friday in preparation for the event. Chris, Kurt, Jason and Jeff spent the weekend out on the trail exploring and getting their bearings. It sounded like quite the adventure and they reported that the race will be “challenging”. The wind will be the critical key in the trail conditions for the race.
Jeff’s 14 dogs flew to Nome yesterday and are ready and raring to go.
At the turn of the century, beginning in 1908 and running annually until 1917, this race followed a well-worn trail between Nome and Candle; a trail that was used as a mail and supply route. However in 2008, there is not an established trail between these villages. The population of Candle is 1. The population of Council is 1 (down from 20,000 during the gold hay-day). His name is Art and he is 72 years old. Art was very welcoming to Jeff and the crew as they passed through there twice in their quest to acquaint themselves with this legendary race route. The checkpoints in between these flourishing metropolises are, to my knowledge, uninhabited. For the race, each checkpoint will be staffed with a race checker armed with a HAM radio, along with race judges and veterinarians passing through. The stellar cast of judges includes, but is not limited to, Mark Nordman and Joe May.
After the mushing meeting this afternoon, the Husky Homestead team is busily working on snowmachines, finalizing plans, packing and repacking. Jeff reported that Chris is in “attack mode” in preparation to lead the support crew’s charge on tomorrow’s trail. Both Chris and Jeff are getting massages to extinguish a few aches, by-products of the past weekend, and to loosen up for the trail ahead. There are still a list of unknowns concerning the race and logistics, but that is what adventures are made of!
It is 20 degrees, sunny and calm in Nome today. There are some rumblings of a storm moving in, but Jeff did not see it on any predictions that he could find. Their host family in Nome, Amy and Larry Smithheisler, have been welcoming and generous in their help and support. Jeff, Jason and Chris were surprised yesterday to be presented with hand-made skinning knives engraved with “All Alaska Sweepstakes 2008” by the artist himself. “Klondike” Kurt, among his many talents, created these heirloom knives for each of them to honor this truly Alaskan adventure. Very cool.