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On the Yukon, in good spirits: Katherine Keith

Katherine Keith in Ruby

Katherine Keith chats with the media during a layover in Ruby on Friday.

“I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it,” Katherine Keith says.

“The fun part for me is just realizing that I get to take a dog team across the state of Alaska, and I’m (just) about the luckiest person in the world, you know?”

With good weather, “beautiful” trail, and a dog team – pulled from John Baker’s kennel – that seems to be performing very well for her, Keith was in a characteristically good mood when she spoke with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen in Ruby.

Although the run/rest schedule that she’d worked out in training has been a bit tiring on her dogs in the actual race, Keith told Laureli that she’s expecting easier, more well-suited runs heading onto the Norton Sound coast (Unalakleet and onwards), with the trail hard and fast and the checkpoints relatively close together.

“(I’m) just trying to do the best dog care that I can,” she says, “so that I can continue to take the 13 (dogs currently in her string) with me to Nome.”

Katherine Keith in Ruby

Katherine Keith cooks alongside her team in Ruby on Friday.

As for Nome itself, Keith actually has a specific date and time that she’d like to arrive, and in Ruby, she told KNOM she’s actually ahead of that schedule – by 45 minutes. Whether that schedule will equate into a high-placing finish, of course, remains to be seen, and it’s largely dependent upon how her highly competitive fellow mushers perform over the next 72 hours.

Final standings aren’t everything, however, and at least for the time being, Keith seems both content, and committed, to simply savor the experience of being on the trail. “I’m just hoping… that the team sticks together getting to Nome, and we all have a good time of it.”

Hear Katherine Keith in Ruby:

 

As of 9:30 Saturday morning, Katherine Keith is in 29th position. With both her 8-hour Yukon layover and 24-hour layover  completed, she pulled into the Galena checkpoint at 4:07am with her 13 dogs.