the last dog handlers headed out today from Dawson City...they have a long drive ahead of them: dogsleds follow the frozen river into Alaska, but drivers have to take the highway back to Whitehorse, then go around to Fairbanks, then drive back down towards the border (the connecting roads just aren't passable in winter). the vets & officials (& the media, at least the ones smart enough to check their departure times) were flown to the next checkpoint...a lovely little runway was set up on the ice, just below the town of Dawson--the tiny planes are equipped with skis, of course.
meanwhile, Lance Mackey & his comeback kennel are still several hours in the lead. they left Circle this morning--which means there are two difficult mountains left on the trail before the home stretch. last year, Eagle Summit was particularly gruelling...hopefully this year conditions will be clear!