No big changes to Quest

Yukon Quest race officials say it will follow usual route

Posted: Sunday, February 09, 2003

WHITEHORSE, Yukon - The Yukon Quest trail will mostly follow its traditional route on the Canadian side of the border.

"We had looked at another route out of Whitehorse, but fortunately, God must be a musher there," said Sgt. John Mitchell of the Canadian Rangers in Dawson City.

The thousand-mile race is to begin at 1 p.m. today in downtown Whitehorse and end when mushers reach Fairbanks.

The Canadian Rangers are part-time military reservists who provide a military presence in remote, isolated and coastal communities of Canada.

The Rangers prepare the Canadian side of the Quest trail. Although the winter has been unseasonably warm, Mitchell said, the Yukon River has frozen enough that the usual trail can be followed.

"Concurrent to that, the guys made it all the way through and into Braeburn, so that's fine into there," he said. "I mean, we do have low snow this year, but there's a 2-inch base."

Near Carmacks, the Rangers have cut an overland trail due to open water. Entering Carmacks, mushers travel on and off the Yukon River two or three times and the new trail will eliminate those sections, Mitchell said.

"The main change that I know about, at this time, will be that little section overland, and that's only two kilometers at the most," he said.

Mitchell does not believe the trail's status will change much over the next week unless the temperature is drastically warm.

The rough trail is broken from Pelly Crossing. The worst part of the trail appears to be the lower part of Scroggie Creek, he said.

"There's some rock faces there where some boulders came down and, of course, promptly froze themselves into the middle of the trail," Mitchell said. "It's kind of hard to do anything there."

Provided there's no major storm, the trail appears to be in good condition from there, he said.

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