As soon as the dogs were taken care of, I hustled into the checkpoint and told the Ham radio operator of my stupid mistake in Cripple. I wanted him to radio the checkers and have them get the gun out of my mailbag. The radio guy just stared when I told him my tale. With a weak smile, I blamed it on my lack of sleep – feeling very much like an idiot. He tried to get the message through to Cripple, but the radio signal was bad and the message never got through. (My gun arrived safely back in Willow in my mailbag – still loaded!)
I briefly talked to Mark from Ruby, advising him to watch for Gus and Camilla. After a few hours sleep and another good meal for the dogs we set out to tackle the Yukon River.
The Yukon is nothing short of amazing, up to 1 mile across in places! We were shuffling along in the heat of the day again. We took frequent rest stops and at one point I stopped and tousled and played with the critters for awhile. I was messing around with leaders, trying to give Grover a break, and had settled upon Buddy and Chester as a good combination. Chester is young and has a tremendous ego. He doesn’t work well with many of the dogs up front – his swelled head seems to irate many of them and they just flatly refuse to work with him, but he seemed to click with Buddy and the two of them worked well together on the river. That is until Buddy began to limp. I ended up having to put him in the bag – very much against his wishes. He struggled and complained as I loaded him into the sled. To make matter worse, I was having trouble finding a combination of leaders that had been working as well as those two. Finally, I ended up with Grover back up in front with Doc. Buddy resigned himself to riding, but he serenaded us along with low, pitiful and continuous howling from the sled.
Again Lynda Plettner passed me just outside of the checkpoint. As usual, she was cheerful and her dogs were traveling quickly and happily down the trail. I came into Galena, once again, just behind her.