Yukon Quest Vet Checks and Drop Bags

Immediately upon returning from Copper Basin, we jumped right into Yukon Quest preparation. Last Saturday, the drop bags were due. Today was the official day for vet checks! And in ONE WEEK, we’ll be hitting the trail in Whitehorse!

Drop Bags

Completing drop bags for a 1000-mile race is cause for a big celebration. The first hurdle in long distance racing has been overcome! Like everything, practice makes perfect, so with this being our third start from Whitehorse, I do have an Excel Spreadsheet already generated with lists of what to pack for each checkpoint. Each drop bag is labeled with the name of the checkpoint, my last name, and Bag # ___ of ___. Some checkpoints only need 2-3 drop bags. Others like Pelly, where we’re about to take off on 200 unsupported miles require 6 or Dawson, 8. Items included in drop bags might include:

  • Dog food (Inukshuk 32/32, Inukshuk 30/25, Red Paw)- I like to have variety, although the main kibble is the Inukshuk 32/32, which means it has 32% fat and 32% protein.

  • Fish snacks, beef snacks, BLT snacks, liver snacks, chicken skins snacks, snacks, snacks, snacks!

  • Probiotics and supplements

  • Dog Booties- sizes range from small (Fish, Perm, Katy) to medium (Wingman, Boone, Cooke) to large (Rucu, Goblin, Lefty)

Saeward’s creations

  • Human Food- This is where I need to give a BIG SHOUT OUT and THANK YOU to Saeward! Saeward made all of my meals for both the Copper Basin and Yukon Quest. That’s 30 delicious, calorie-packed, vacuum and seam-sealed meals that I can soak in the boiling cooker pot water to make out on the trail. Shepard’s pie, enchilada casserole, pasole, canadian bacon and egg bake, and french toast are on the menu. She also threw some homemade cookies in for dessert. Thank you!

  • Human Gear- fresh socks, neck gaitor (made by another person who needs a thank you- Lynne Witte!), work gloves, hand and toe warmers

  • Resupply Vet Packs comprised of extra wrist wraps, vet wrap, Algyval oil, pink ointment, and handwarmers

  • Runner Plastic- just like ski wax, there are different colors of runner plastics for different conditions. Since we never know what the conditions will be like two weeks away, we send out a bit of everything.

  • Tosses- fleece blankets to make the dogs extra comfortable

The video below is of Kalyn explaining all the different kinds of snacks we send on the trail. Kalyn single-handedly cut ALL THE SNACKS for both our Copper Basin teams and the Yukon Quest. This is a huge task with lots of time standing in the cold next to the meat saw. A VERY BIG THANK YOU to Kalyn for keeping the dogs happy and fed!

Vet Checks

Prior to the race, we selected 16 dogs to be thoroughly examined by volunteer veterinarians to make sure they’re healthy and ready for a 1000-mile race. Specific items the vets looked for were range of motion, , weight, temperature, heart and lungs, and overall body condition.

Which 16 athletes were brought to the vet checks?!

Perm, Katy, Jana, Goblin, Lefty, Rucu, Supai, Uno,

Wingman, CJ, Fish, King Louie, Badger, Cooke, Boone, Wombat

I’ll be selecting the final 14 from this crew of 16.

Dr. Cole checking Rucu


A sample sheet of 4 of the 16 dogs examined.

In the midst of all this, we’re still of course training and preparing! In addition to training runs, the dogs occasionally have a free day to romp about and just be dogs. Kalyn snapped some great photos on her last walkabout with the crew.


Fish and King Louie



Uno and Fenton


Supai and Lefty

View on a recent training run.