Allen Moore regained the lead out of Stepping Stone Friday afternoon, hitting the trail to Pelly while Brent Sass and Hugh Neff continued to rest.
With an approximate seven-mile lead on Sass, Moore arrived in Pelly at 10:15 pm and parked his team for a breather. Asked if he was counting the checkpoints until the finish, Moore replied, “Three more to go!”
Sass stopped in Pelly at 11:20 pm, but only to grab some supplies and head back out on the trail. As he went through his drop bags he mentioned "Superman Hugh”, sparking the question of whether he’s looking over his shoulder.
“There comes a time when you just have to think about your own race, and that's what I’m doing now,” he stated.
As of midnight, Neff was just less than nine miles out of Pelly. Will he stick around or will he blow through?
The Three Amigos
Loud cheers greeted Jerry Joinson, Mandy Nauman and Brian Wilmshurst as they arrived in Dawson City Friday afternoon. The three of them had been travelling together for most of the journey from Circle.
Joinson was first into the checkpoint at 11:02 am. Like Curt Perano and Dave Dalton before him, he was not a fan of the tough trail conditions on the stretch from Eagle.
"That's a long river. I've never seen so much glare ice. Slippery...overflows and everything else. I'm glad to be here."
Nauman came down the chute just a few minutes later and talked about the teamwork between the three of them.
“We spent about five hours last night breaking trail,” she said, adding that they talk about dogs and joke around to keep the mood light while travelling. “It's fun. I definitely couldn't have done that by myself last night."
Dawson City musher Brian Wilmshurst pulled up in his hometown at 11:15 am. He said the three of them worked well together because they all have different strengths that they can utilize in tough situations.
His dogs are more familiar with the trail, since they train in the area. And he’ll be sure to reward them for their hard work. First on the agenda during his 36-hour layover was getting the dogs set up at the campground and making sure they were well fed.
Next up, he said, was a stop at infamous Dawson bar "The Pit" for a beer. Although food and a shower sounded good too.
“I’m really looking forward to a steak, beer, and a shower – but not necessarily in that order. A shower is actually up there on the list, because that is very needed soon,” he chuckled.
Nauman was also looking forward to the well-deserved 36 hours of rest. "I'm ready for a nap, and I want to brush my teeth!"
Meanwhile, Hank DeBruin was the 14th musher to the halfway point, with his team of 11 Siberians. Hank said he was more than happy to be off the river. He asked his wife, Tanya, where Tony Angelo was, and she told him he was still on his way in.
"You mean I'm not last this year?!" joked the former Red Lantern winner. He remains camped out at 40-mile, and was expected to head for Dawson early Saturday.
Strathe, Schandelmeier and Hall Start Second Half
Cody Strathe was the fourth musher to leave Dawson City, making his way down the Yukon River towards Scroggie Creek at 7:55 am with nine dogs.
Matt Hall was next at 12:01 pm, with a wave goodbye to his support crew. "See you in a couple hundred miles…that's a long way!"
Rounding out the list of departing mushers Friday was John Schandelmeier, who gave his 10 rookie dogs a pep talk before departing the yard at 2:11 pm.
Jerry Joinson’s Penalty Rescinded
Jerry Joinson received an extra boost as he arrived in Dawson. Race Marshal Doug Grilliot made the decision to rescind his eight-hour penalty, which was assessed in Circle for use of a replacement sled.
In this situation, mushers have the option to repair the sled with no penalty, or to use the replacement sled with an eight-hour penalty. At the time, Joinson was unaware of the repair option.