Guimond, Ledwidge and Cotter get turned around

DAWSON CITY Cor Guimond’s dogs are stuck at half throttle. And it’s frustrating, he said.


Cor Guimond’s dogs are stuck at half throttle.

And it’s frustrating, he said.

The Dawson musher was walking toward his dog camp on Sunday afternoon pulling his six-year-old granddaughter Emily behind him on a sled.

He’d gotten into Dawson at 9:32 p.m. on Saturday, more than two days after frontrunner Lance Mackey.

“I figured I’d be placing in the top five with this team,” he said.

“I’ve never been in last place before.

“I guess it goes to show, anything can happen.”

Guimond’s dogs are “traumatized by the whole thing,” he said.

“They’re tough, but not tough-minded.”

The jumble ice and the wind on Eagle Summit took a lot out of them mentally.

And he had to drop his two main leaders.

“I have some young leaders, but they’ve never run without a main leader,” he said.

And they’re having trouble.

On Sunday, his beautiful, big dogs were nestled in straw, on wool blankets in a tarp tent at the Dawson dog camp.

Guimond snuggled with each one, kissing them and covering them with more straw.

“Coming into town they were boogying,” once they realized where they were, he said.

“So I know they can do it — I just wish they’d show more incentive.”

Guimond lost some valuable training time when the mercury dipped below 50 for several weeks just before the race, and that didn’t help, he said.

Although his dogs are slower than they should be, Guimond was sticking with the middle of the pack until he left Fortymile, 77 kilometres from Dawson.

He took off just after five on Friday night, and should have arrived in Dawson at one or two in the morning, but it was starting to snow, and his young leaders kept falling off the trail.

After eight kilometres of this, Guimond walked ahead of the team for another five, trying to find the trail.

“I never even realized I was off the trail until I hit a bluff,” he said.

He hunkered down and camped. And when he woke up, there was 7.6 centimetres of snow on him and his team.

That’s when Ann Ledwidge, another Quest musher from Dawson, showed up.

The two locals decided to head back to the cabin at Fortymile, and in the morning, the cabin’s caretaker went out on a snowmachine and opened the trail.

Whitehorse musher Kyla Boivin was there when Guimond and Ledwidge arrived, but took off ahead of them.

“I should have just kept going,” said Guimond, who has replaced Boivin at the back of the pack.

“Now I’m racing Ann and Kyla.”

Dumping out her drop bags, Boivin was a few campsites down, dealing with exploding bags of kibble.

Larry “Cowboy” Smith was helping the 25-year-old musher pick up the strewn dog food.

Behind them, Hambone was watching the dinner preparations. The 10-year-old Cowboy Smith dog has run all six Quests with Boivin.

“And he’s finished every one,” she said.

This year, Boivin had to drop her main leader, Shoofi, after she stepped in a hole in the jumble ice.

So, like Guimond, she was down to running young leaders.

But Boivin’s were doing well.

“They’re magnificent to watch,” she said.

Her dogs were sore, and that slowed down Boivin’s race, but now they’re starting to pick up speed.

“I’m not sure if I can catch (Mike) Ellis, he’s 24 hours ahead of me,” she said.

“So it’s Cor, Ann and me, racing for 14th place — why not?”

Ledwidge just wants to get to Whitehorse in time for the banquet, she said.

Her husband, veteran musher Peter Ledwidge, was changing her sled runners at the dog camp on Sunday.

“No one else is getting my meal,” she said.

Although she only has seven dogs, Ledwidge isn’t too worried.

“They’re doing awesome,” she said.

“The problem is me — not the dogs.

“I might actually race through this second half,” she added with a laugh.

Ann’s replacing Peter, whose back acted up before the race.

“I thought it would be just like running dogs and camping,” she said.

“But it’s a lot tougher than I thought. It’s a mind game out there.”

Ann dropped a number of dogs early on, and by the time she left Circle, only 350 kilometres from Fairbanks, she was ready to turn around.

Out in the jumble ice on the Yukon River, she ended up with three dogs in her sled. “I didn’t even know you could fit that many dogs in an empty sled, let alone a loaded one,” she said.

At that point, she would have turned around.

“But I figured Peter was already headed back across the border,” she said.

“It took guts to keep going into the isolation.”

Every run, Ann is figuring something out and learning more.

And although she’s down to seven dogs, Ann’s not worried.

“They’re so strong, there’s nothing wrong with them,” she said.

“I want to finish.”

Cotter comes back

More than 18 hours after he left Dawson City, Bill Cotter returned to the gold rush town.

He got turned around and couldn’t find his way, said Quest spokesperson Juliann Fraser from Pelly Crossing.

Cotter initially left Dawson at 1:17 a.m. Sunday and returned around 8:30 p.m., said Fraser.

That’s roughly the time it takes most mushers to reach Scroggie Creek dog drop, 159 kilometres past Dawson.

Cotter plans to head back out on the trail sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Monday with the remaining three mushers, Guimond, Ledwidge and Boivin, she said.

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read