Yukon Quest: Leaders expected to arrive in Dawson soon. Julie Estey Update.

Julie Estey’s many fans and friends want to know how the rookie musher is faring after scratching at the isolated Slaven’s Cabin late Wednesday afternoon with a bum knee and 11 dogs. Race Judge Patty Imus reports that Estey’s knee was splinted and iced Tuesday evening when she arrived with the injury. “It was not as swollen this morning,” she said from Eagle Checkpoint late Wednesday night, “but it didn’t afford her the ability to drive a sled over the ice.” Estey will overnight at Slaven’s Cabin and fly to Eagle in the morning with six of her dogs. The Yukon Quest will fly the other five dogs that Estey dropped at Slaven’s to Dawson City, YT, the half-way point of the race. Estey will be responsible for arranging her travel, and the transportation of her six dogs, out of Eagle. Estey’s husband and dog handler Todd got word of his wife’s predicament during the drive from Circle City to Dawson City. He is expected to arrive sometime Thursday with the dog truck and will care for the five dropped dogs.Dawson City 7 a.m. The Dawson City Checkpoint was bustling at 5 a.m. with media, spouses, handlers and Race Officials anticipating the possible arrival of the Yukon Quest’s two frontrunners, Lance Mackey and Ken Anderson. But it was around that time that word came in from Fortymile that the two had swung by without stopping. Fortymile is a hospitality stop and not a checkpoint, so race followers were lucky that the two stopped even for a second. Sebastian Jones, a volunteer who has been living either part-time or full-time at Fortymile for 15 years and has been hosting the hospitality stop during the Yukon Quest for as long, is manning the site alone. He has a big pot of chili, homemade buns, water for the dogs and a roaring fire ready for any musher who wishes to stop. Mackey made the run between Eagle and Dawson city in just over 23 hours in 2006, when the race ran in the same direction. It was based on that time that Yukon Quest watchers were anticipating a 7 a.m. arrival in Dawson City. Nobody knows why it is taking him so much longer this year. Race Marshal Doug Grilliot said the trail from Eagle to here is good, that the rough trail was put behind them when they left Eagle Wednesday morning. A second cluster of mushers shouldn’t be far behind. Brent Sass, Michelle Phillips, Hugh Neff and David Dalton left Eagle Checkpoint around lunchtime Wednesday. Another five mushers signed out of Eagle late last night or early this morning. Four remain at the Checkpoint. And one, the race’s youngest musher, 25-year-old Kyla Boivin, is on her way to Eagle; she checked out of Slaven’s Cabin Dog Drop at 6:22 Wednesday morning. The 2008 Yukon Quest has 16 mushers out of its original 24 still in the race. For an excellent account of the race from the ground and air, check out Ken Anderson and Gwenn Holdmann’s website at: www.windycreekkennel.comFor more excellent coverage, photos, and audio interviews visit: http://www.kuac.org/08yukon.html

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