Field Notes: The Polar Field Services Newsletter

Are You Following the Yukon Quest?

“The toughest of the tough”

Under a blue sky and amidst a cheering throng, the 2012 Yukon Quest began in Fairbanks over the weekend. Photo: Faustine Mercer

The mother of all dog-sled races started this year in Fairbanks, where our Alaska staff lives. We get to watch over the shoulder of our Fairbanks team, all of whom know many of the mushers and their four-legged friends very, very well.

“Super weekend,” wrote Dana Moudra-Truffer, an Alaska science projects manager. “After the fifth coldest January on record, hordes of people showed up at the starting line of the Yukon Quest 1000-mile dog race on the river in downtown Fairbanks with temperatures a balmy -19F. Way cool to see all these people, including many, many that we knew.”

A team waits for its chance to get on the trail. Photo: Faustine Bernadac

Christie Haupert, our own extreme supergirl sportswoman, wrote about the Yukon Quest from her vantage point as a Fairbanksan and an accomplished wilderness athlete.

“Over the past 2 years I have developed a few friendships with people deeply involved in the race and so this time of year is really special. My connection to the race affords me the opportunity to see and hear the race through the perspective of the musher, the news reporter, the handler and the checkpoint volunteer. The race has grown its online presence and now anyone can not only see the dogs and the mushers along the trail, but now they can track them online with their SPOT beacons and read other fan comments, on Facebook. A special addition to the site for this year has been on-the-trail mushing reports from armchair musher Sebastian Schnulle, a former veteran YQ musher, who knows this race inside and out. The weather has thus far been nearly a non-issue. Reports are of warm bluebird days and crystal clear nights illuminated with a full moon and a dancing aurora. I can only imagine how incredibly peaceful and awesome it is to be out there all night long right now. I hope Brent Sass wins: it’s his year. Brent is a great story in itself—he will be highlighted, for sure. Year after year the YQ unfolds amazing drama, great characters—both human and dog, and a race that requires some of the tough of the tough to step up and be even tougher. And it’s only half over…I love it!”

Here’s the main Yukon Quest page:

With the right footwear, one can do anything. Go Yukon Quest! Photo: Faustine Bernadac

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