One of the checkers was giving back massages to the mushers. Pedro's groans of pleasure echoed all our feelings at this special treat!
A couple of the dogs weren't eating really well. They were all taking their snacks (in fact, I still had to count my fingers after handing food to most of them) and would pick at their meals, but they weren't diving into the bowls as per usual. I took extra time snuggling, massaging, and whispering loving words in all their ears. That really seemed to do the trick, but for the first time this Race, the dogs left the checkpoint badly. As I had been training all season, I put my foot down on the brake and let them work through it - just like training, they popped out of their funk in no time. It seemed like we were making really good time for the short trip over to Anvik. I was in a great humor, that is, until I saw a sign that said 'Anvik - 9 miles'. They had to be kidding or just plain wrong. There was NO WAY Anvik was that far away. As I passed each successive sign counting down the mileage, it became less and less likely that they were wrong. By the time I hit the Yukon, fatigue and frustration had taken over. At one time, I had thought about going right through Anvik, but that didn't seem wise now - if the dogs were moving as slowly as our times showed, maybe they needed more rest. I definitely needed a mental pick me up.