For this Big Piney stage, the course was now only 27 miles. I was bummed to hear this since the fast teams would not loose as much time as they would have if the trail had been the original length, but I was looking forward to it anyway. I ran 9 dogs: Bella and Alice in lead, Emmett and Jasper in swing, Cessena, Khufu, and DiNozzo in team, and Kaycee and Ra in wheel. The dogs did awesome again and were just plowing through the deep snow and drifts like usual. The trail was great and beautiful, it was refreshing to be on a trail that I didn't have to ride the brake a lot to keep the dogs slowed down. 9 teams left in front of me, and I passed all but 3 on the trail. The run went by to fast, and I wish it would have been longer! I ended up finishing in 9th place overall.
After feeding and checking over the team, we loaded up and headed to Kemmerer where we had another great meal. We made sure to get to our host family early since we would have to get up extra early the next morning for the long drive to the trail head.
This trail would be about 45 miles, and I would again be leaving in about the middle of the teams. I ran 10 dogs again with Super Cub and McGee in lead, Bella and Alice in swing, Emmett, Jasper, Cessena, and Khufu in team, and Kaycee and Ra in wheel. The first part of the trail was across rolling fields, and the wind was blowing extremely hard. The wind had blown in the trail, so the first dog teams out had kind of made their own trail, which at times was very punchy. The wind eventually subsided and the rest of the trail to the turnaround was in pretty good shape. After turning around though, the wind picked up again with a vengeance and it began snowing. At times I could not even see the front four dogs on the team, and I definitely couldn't see the trail. I knew I could do nothing about it, so I just trusted the dogs to follow their noses and the trail. Despite the bad weather and visibility, I was actually pretty happy. I was a little worried about loosing the trail and getting lost, but I trusted fully in my dogs to get us back safely. We made it back in 9th place overall, and all the dogs were feeling good. We again loaded everyone up and headed down the road again.
Photos by: Chris Havener