Half of the mushers signed up for the 35th running of the Yukon Quest have completed their journey as the race came to a close late Thursday.
Four mushers arrived at Shipyards Park in the evening to end their 1,000-mile race.
Veteran Dave Dalton – who first finished the Quest in 1988 – came to the finish line in 10th spot. This was the 22nd Quest finish for the musher from Healy, Alaska.
Dalton placed as high as third back in 2008 and 2004. Having signed up for the last 15 consecutive Quests, Dalton has already stated he will be back in 2019.
The long-time musher was followed by 26-year-old rookie Riley Dyche with eight dogs, who finished the race in a total time of 12 days, five hours and 55
Two Yukoners rounded out the group, with veteran Rob Cooke finishing his fifth Quest with his team of Siberian Huskies in 12th place.
He finished 59 minutes after Dyche, who passed him on the way into Whitehorse on the final run.
Cooke, who has run the Quest several times as well as the Iditarod, said this was the toughest 1,000-mile he’s raced due in large part to the brutal cold at the beginning of the race.
About four hours after Cooke, Nathaniel Hamlyn, a 23-year-old rookie from Whitehorse, became the last finisher at 11:46 p.m. in a time of 12 days, 11 hours and 13 minutes.
Hamlyn finished the race with seven dogs after being forced to drop four early in the race following Rosebud Summit.
Hamlyn is the Red Lantern Award recipient as the last official finisher of the race in 13th place.
The other 13 mushers scratched from the race or were withdrawn.
Whitehorse rookie Claudia Wickert just scratched Thursday morning after trying to make the final trip into Whitehorse.
First-half front-runner Paige Drobny also scratched after Dawson.
With the racing over, celebrations will begin over the weekend for the mushers.
A free public Meet the Mushers event will be held at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre from 6:00 to 10:00 tonight.
Then the official awards will be handed out Saturday evening at the Finish Banquet, including the Sportsmanship Award and Veterinarian’s Choice.