Day 4: Destination Dawson

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The Dawson City checkpoint was full of excitement today in anticipation of the first teams to arrive.

Brent Sass and his full team of 14 were first to be greeted by fans in Dawson at 11:24am this morning. Sass was surprised he was first to arrive, commenting on how he expected 10 mushers to pass him on his last camp spot. He will be the recipient of the Dawson City Award of 2oz of Klondike placer gold, should he go on to complete the race.

Michelle Phillips made her way into the chute at 11:51am putting her in second place. This being her first attempt at the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest in seven years, Phillips commented on how it was good to revisit the trail as she hadn’t travelled it in several years. Phillips was followed in at by Hans Gatt at 12:07pm, who is also back after a seven-year hiatus. When asked about King Solomon’s Dome, his team of 13 made easy work of it with Gatt stating they climb well.  

Allen Moore came into Dawson in fourth position commenting on how a lot of the teams are running close to each other due to the changes made to the race this year. “It’ll be interesting to see what the strategy is from here on,” says Moore. He says it’s a question of who can keep their dogs together, and who makes the best plan. “It’s all a gamble.”

Arriving to a crowd singing “happy birthday”, fifth place Paige Drobny is looking forward to celebrating her birthday for the first time in seven years by eating and sleeping. Every other year she has been out on the trail. When asked if she thinks she can catch up to the front runners, a confident Drobny stated, “anything’s possible – it’s the Yukon Quest!”

Denis Tremblay came through Dawson in sixth with his team of 13 at 3:44pm. Matt Hall followed at 5:43pm after running a conservative schedule into Dawson. Ryne Olson commented on the warmer conditions on the Dome when she arrived at 6:39pm. When asked about gaining some ground in the standings, Olson was quick to say there’s still a lot of trail ahead.

Torsten Kohnert and Nathanial Hamlyn arrived in Dawson back to back at 9:40pm and 9:43pm respectively, after travelling much of the trail together from Scroggie. Hamlyn said he is looking forward to the second half of the trail while Kohnert also acknowledges that there are still 500 miles to race.

Martin Apayauq Reitan was the last musher to make it into Dawson for the day at 11:37pm. Unlike the flat tundra and ice from his home of Kaktovik, Reitan’s team had some big hills to climb. He described the hills as fun and that his team did very well. He enjoyed seeing other mushers out on the trail, commenting on how “it’s nice to run into people sometimes.” During the 36-hour mandatory stay, he will be adding whale blubber to the team’s menu, afatty item he brought from his hometown.  

While teams have started arriving in Dawson, the majority of the teams are still out on the trail with current Red Lantern Lisbet Norris 27 miles outside of Scroggie. Tomorrow will be another busy day of arrivals into Dawson where teams will take a mandatory 36-hour rest.

Standings as of 11:59pm:

  1. Brent Sass
  2. Michelle Phillips
  3. Hans Gatt
  4. Allen Moore
  5. Paige Drobny
  6. Denis Tremblay
  7. Matt Hall
  8. Ryne Olson
  9. Torsten Kohnert
  10. Nathaniel Hamlyn
  11. Martin Apayauq Reitan
  12. Jessie Royer
  13. Cody Strathe
  14. Curt Perano
  15. Brian Wilmshurst
  16. Jason Biasetti
  17. Olivia Webster
  18. Deke Naaktgeboren
  19. Dave Dalton
  20. Rob Cooke
  21. Misha Wiljes
  22. Isabelle Travadon
  23. Hendrik Stachnau
  24. Andrew Pace
  25. Laura Allaway
  26. Chase Tingle
  27. Jim Lanier
  28. Remy Leduc
  29. Jimmy Lebling
  30. Lisbet Norris