Mark Gillett

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Posts Tagged ‘Yukon

Yukon Quest 2014 (or #yq2014 for those who speak in hash tags…)

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It finally got underway this morning with an on-time start of 11am. Snow was trucked in for the street start which was moved from the river last minute for safety reasons.. What an exercise! And the efficiency and organisation of this race is just incredible.

Once the mushers left by noon we hopped off and edited a few shots and then drove to Pleasant Valley Stores in Two Rivers – Such great names! – and we are now at the checkpoint editing, writing and uploading more stuff… You can find us on my Facebook, The Yukon Quest Official Facebook or probably just about anywhere to do with dogs on the internet.. Just search or hash tag search #yq2014

Here is a small gallery of shots from our arrival in Fairbanks.

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February 2, 2014 at 4:16 am

The Yukon Quest

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I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I find myself back in the Yukon having said I would probably miss this year. Its now the 5th year I’ve ventured and more and more the North seems to suck me back into the wilderness and beauty that it exudes.

The team this year is myself, Tom Barber and Heidi McGuire. Tom has been with me the last three trips I’ve made and Heidi I met in 2009 on the YAU. I can’t imagine better people to work with and combined with the OTC team and Yukon Quest team, I am really looking forward to the next two weeks of trail, fun, tiredness and usual battles to get the job done.

Yukon Quest 2012, Day3

The Thinking Musher

Already the curveballs have started and the main one has been the weather. The heaviest snow the Yukon has seen for years has all but been discarded by the spring like temperatures of the last week or so. The roads are near clear and the trail is very different. But this does not hold the Quest back. In fact it probably enhances it. Teams will have to be at their best to win this year. Now that the temperatures have fallen again, there will be ice, and possibly overflow. All great stuff for the thinking musher!

Its these conditions or changing conditions that make this such a great race. Like some of the desert stuff I cover, it can be very unpredictable, very demanding and a great challenge. If it were the same each year, how easy that would be to calculate? How boring would it be to follow? The North will always have its say whatever.

We drive up to Fairbanks tomorrow and a few nights of functions before the action start and then we set off back to Whitehorse. We will be posting videos and images along the route and your participation is vital. Comments, posts, opinions (not to strong of course) and questions on Facebook and Twitter.

Yukon Quest

My favourite

Give us your thoughts on who you want to win, or if you don’t mind.. Our stories will be unique as they always are as the trail will, Im sure, give us plenty to talk about.  Can Hugh Neff do it again or will Allen Moore pip him to the post. Or will we have a new winner this year? Will Normand be the darling of the race? Or will that go back to Brent Sass again.. Is it Brent’s year to hold that trophy?

Well, by the 10th Feb we should know the answers to those questions so here’s to the Yukon Quest 2014. Im toasting with a glass of red in the High Country Inn, Whitehorse!

See you on the trail

The 1000 Mile Yukon Quest Starts

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http://on.fb.me/12jgTbH

The Quest finally got underway today and it was warmer than any year I have attended… Out car read 1 degree on the way to Braeburn.

Here are a few photos and I will blog post stories as they emerge.. For today it was just important to get the first images out. We are now at Braeburn editing, posting and creating our first short video for the race….. The first mushers are due in around 11pm so it could be a long night… Posts coming…

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February 3, 2013 at 2:40 am

A Piece of My Heart

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I have never seen the moon as in I did in Yukon

I left Whitehorse two weeks back after spending three weeks following the Yukon Quest. Now I sit in a cafe working through images, planning for my next adventure, planning for the new business SuitCase Media & Productions. Well, not necessarily new but the growth of my business and who I actually am.

But this part of the world, North America, has really stolen a piece of my heart. The land, the skies and the people.. I fell in love with Alaska and the Yukon.

I have tried to put my finger on what it is as I have travelled to some pretty great places over the last 30 years. I have seen most of the world and many cultures… I have fallen in love with many places but on a different level. It’s almost like I was at home when following the Quest.

I love the way people live. Purchasing things that were necessary not as here in the malls where you can buy a gazillion things you don’t need. Clothes to fill your already full wardrobe, covers for your phone for which some people must have a separate wardrobe too, another pair of shoes for Wednesdays! All rubbish, all fashion but not necessary.

What I noticed in Alaska and Yukon was that everyone had a truck because they needed one. Needed it to carry the wood for the fire. A beautiful fire but a necessary one. Many have a skidoo for the same. They need it for their livelihood to to get about. Shops in the main street sell goods that are necessary and in Whitehorse the exceptions were goods for tourists which provides and income for the residents.

But more than this too there is a cosmopolitan feel to Whitehorse. People from around the world and all ages. A good youth culture and a feeling of modernity without brash flashiness. As I walked the streets during my last days it was beginning to warm up and I wanted to stay behind to witness Spring. To see the rivers break. I imagined getting back to Dawson to see the ice bridge break up and the hills come alive with the sun. And see the carnival atmosphere of the towns when Spring finally takes hold.

I did not stay, though, and am now in UK and off to Paris tomorrow. Then Barcelona on Tuesday. Both beautiful places that many people dream to visit so I am grateful for everything I have and everywhere I have been, and the piece of my heart I left in North America will still be there when I return. I hope that will be soon and I have many people I would like to meet up with again.

A final note is “good luck” to Lance,, Brent, Kristy and Hugh Neff in the Iditarod..  I don’t think I left anyone out.

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March 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

The Yukon Quest – A Goose Eve

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Here is a piece I recently wrote to finalise my Quest trip… I will repost it here in a few days too…

http://bit.ly/yq3NLS

Brent Sass and His Team

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I just watched Brent Sass preparing his dogs for the next leg of the Yukon Quest, from Peli Crossing to McCabe Creek. I watched in awe of how he is with his dogs…  He had a bag of booties and told someone how he bought 4000 of them before the race. 4000 at 85cents each… Thats a lot of cents! 

He then attended each dog taking the paws one by one and checking them for soreness or injury. Not just checking though, he took each paw and pushed gently checking between the claws. He then would kiss the dog and give it a hug, then slipping on a bootie and tying it carefully.. Each foot painstakingly checked and cared for. Each with a new bootie for the next leg of the journey and all to be repeated again very soon.

Brent shows his team the respect they are due for without them he would not figure in the race. If he did not care for them he would not be cared for by them. But more importantly if he did not care it would eventually bite in the rear in some way…

He chatted to some of the photographers with passion too. Never too busy to give of himself. Never too tired even though he had not sleep much for the last 8 days… Never too focussed that others don’t matter.

Brent is a kind of special competitor.

He is not alone, though as this race seems to breed special people and strong teams.. I have watched other in the same way and they are different from other sportsmen that are so often too obsessed with themselves and non caring. The Yukon Quest has some real stars.

Last night I watched Lance Mackey arrive at Stepping Stone, stop for a Burrito and  then checkout.. He had no reason to chat but did… But that is another story and my next….. The race continues…

The rest of Brents team… http://on.fb.me/AqJLtm

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February 13, 2012 at 1:06 am

Yukon Quest Latest Video

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February 11, 2012 at 2:14 am