We arrived at Martin Buser’s Happy Trails Kennel about 8am this morning and the action was already in full swing! The kids were busily unloading the dogs, taking care of their feet, having their sled bags checked, getting their SPOT trackers pinned to their sleds, and getting their last minute advice and hugs and kisses.
I got the chance to check in with Nicole Forto and her dad Robert. Nicole is the Junior Rookie Musher my class has been following all year. She seemed calm, cool, and collected. She says is ready to go and really excited about her adventure. Her dad says he’s confident that she is ready to face this challenge. They let me get a good look at the two trackers. They were given the trackers in dog booties and had them pinned to the top of the sled bags with huge safety pins. One is pinned down near the brush bow and the second is up higher near the handlebar. The tracker near the handle bar has a panic switch. So if the kids feel like then are in trouble they can push it and someone will come out and check on them. To push the switch, you have to lift a tab, so it can’t accidentally be pushed.
Lacey Hart, Race Marshall, says that this part of the race, the start, was the hardest part. She says the rest of the race for her will be a lot of thinking and checking on things, but that this was the most active and stressful part! She’ll be flying out to Yentna Station soon. Because the front runners are expected to finish tomorrow before sunrise, she’ll be riding a snow machine back with the trail breakers so that she’ll make it to the finish line before the first mushers. She’s anxious to see the kids come in to Yentna this evening.
The start went off without a hitch! The setting was beautiful, the dogs were beautiful and the kids were all smiling!