It's time for the 25th running of the Yukon Quest! That's right, the toughest sled dog race on Earth (or any other planet, as far as we know) starts on Saturday morning.
John and I have become friends with people that are heavily involved in The Quest, and consequently been exploited as volunteers for the last few years. In 2007 John was one of the people breaking trail and setting trail markers over from Chena Hot Springs to Mile 101 on the Steese Highway. Me, I tend to keep the home fires burning. Literally. Saturday morning will find us with "fire sleds", braziers on skis, down at the starting line. Fire sleds are places for people to warm up and socialize. I expect we'll be popular because it's damned cold in the Tanana Valley this week. John will also likely end up helping out with getting dogs to the chute and keeping them untangled until the race marshall says 'GO!!!'.
I have no interest in being a musher, but I know some pretty nifty people that are into it. My favorite is Aliy Zirkle, not because she's a woman, not because she's attractive, and not because when she used to bartend to support her mushing habit she'd give me free drinks on my birthday. Nope. Aliy is my favorite because she's a nice, sincere, and funny. And she looks out for our mutual friend Kris, who's getting on in years and his health is questionable. Aliy is a class act, all around.