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This morning 15 dog mushers began their 1000-mile journey on the 2020 Yukon Quest. We watched them all off on their way to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory just as they left the start gate. It typically takes about a week-and-a-half to two weeks to complete.
The energy in this town is exciting on race day. Hundreds of people line the start gate and trail, this year starting at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitor Center. A fellow spectator commented to us that she never sees a turnout for anything in this town the same way as the Yukon Quest. I noted my agreement with her while Cat tried on the woman’s seal fur hat. It feels like half the town has turned out to cheer on the dogs and their mushers! Not bad considering the temperature was -30°F.
The Yukon Quests alternates start and end-points between Fairbanks and Whitehorse every year. The trail follows a historic transportation route from the gold-rush in the late 1800s. The Yukon Quest is considered to be a more difficult race than the much more popular Iditorad but doesn’t draw in as big of a field of contenders. Typically 1/3 of entrants don’t finish the Quest.
With only 15 mushers this year, this is the smallest attended race since it began in 1984. However, this didn’t seem to hinder Fairbanksans from braving the cold to show their support. Best of luck to all the mushers and the dogs!