I try to make these blogs something more profound than just a catalogue of events or a statement of the obvious. Sometimes that can be difficult as one of the things I aim to do is explain what this whole race thing is like whether you’re a Siberian husky lover or a complete outsider or like I was, halfway between. From that you’ll get the hint that this is a bit of a catalogue of events. I’ll try and add context though.
So I left the last blog back at home in the UK having made the decision to return to the Yukon in 2017. As I said last time the run in to this year’s race couldn’t have been more different for me to 2016. I had been extremely busy at work and travelling (in the UK) pretty much every day since New Year. So, unlike last year when everything was mapped out and planned, day by day, this year’s Yukon Quest fell on me, a bit like a small avalanche.
Even the day before I flew things were manic. We packed at 11:30 on Monday night, I was dealing with some crucial personal and business stuff on Tuesday morning at 10:00 and then at 11:30 I was on my way to the airport. Next stop Vancouver. Chris had passed through the day before and would be at Whitehorse two days before me and James has been there for a couple of weeks. Like last year I opted to spend a night in Vancouver. Like last year I planned to head up to some of those interesting breweries on the bay. Like last year I ended up sacrificing that for the hotel bar, a few local beers and chat with locals.
Wednesday morning it was back to the airport to join the line for my Air North flight where it was lovely to bump into Cara Bissonnette who is volunteering at Braeburn but will then be joining the Shaytaan team for the second half of the trail.
We were lucky to be flying to Whitehorse with the world’s best airline, Air North, celebrating its fortieth birthday that day. Unfortunately the upgrade of its service for its birthday specials crashed the check in system. Air North though know how to manage these things and a 90 minute check in queue can’t stop the fun. There was cake, cookies and true Yukon cancan dancers at the gate.
And on the plane proper food and coffee. Travel like it used to be.
Rob, Chris and James met us in Whitehorse and the adventure begins for 2017.
Wednesday evening was the pre race Meet the Mushers. That will be covered in my next blog. We’re heading slowly towards the start at 11:00 on Saturday morning and the start at Shipyards Park.