Somewhere between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska, Hugh Neff “started talking to God.”
The Annie Lake musher had stopped his team to put a bootie on a dog when the snow hook popped out.
“I reached for the handlebars, but I missed,” he said.
His team disappeared down the trail.
That’s when Neff struck up a conversation with the Almighty.
He walked down the trail for what seemed like an eternity.
Just under five kilometres later, he found his dogs.
The sled had flipped over, and they’d stopped.
“It was just another Hugh Neff moment,” he said.
In that same stretch, Dan Kaduce also spent some time chasing his team.
“We were climbing up American Summit,” he said.
It was dark.
“I was playing with my gloves when suddenly they saw something. It was a 15-mile-per-hour jerk, and boom, they took off.”
Kaduce didn’t say a word. He just started running.
“If you say something, they run faster,” he said. “You can tell I’ve lost my team before.”
Kaduce ran so fast he managed to get about three metres from the sled, but he couldn’t quite reach it.
“They were toying with me for about a quarter mile,” he said.
“Then I just closed my eyes and decided to give it all I could.”
When he opened them, he was still too far away from his team.
“So I just started walking uphill in the dark,” he said.
“I was quite scared for a couple of minutes – it was high stress.”
But the darkness was in his favour.
Kaduce’s team turned a corner and stopped.
“As soon as my headlamp was gone, they slowed down,” he said.
“I turned the corner and they were stopped, waiting for me.”
Before he lost his team Kaduce was just starting to get cold.
Running uphill solved that problem.
“I was imagining my team arriving (in Eagle) without me, saying, ‘He should be here in a couple of hours,’” he said.
Kaduce left Eagle in ninth place. (Genesee Keevil)