So Monson admits that he was running third on the last day of the Yukon Quest with a fresh team and a good shot at winning. The first team crossed a frozen creek and cracked the ice. The second team crossed, and now the ice was weak. Monson's team broke through, and he and the dogs got soaked. "It was pretty cold," he says.
"Forty below," Butcher says.
"Fortunately it had warmed up from 60 below," says Monson. He threw himself into the snow and rolled around to get dry (snow is very dry in extremely cold temperatures and absorbs moisture), then chipped the ice off himself, got a gasoline stove out of the drenched sled and heated food for the dogs and a drink for himself. Then he and his dogs got back into the race. They finished eight minutes behind the winner.
During several hours of conversation, neither Butcher nor Monson had stopped working. Nor do they stop now, as a long Alaska summer afternoon winds down past 10 p.m. It is suppertime, but only for huskies, and as the visitor bumps down the dirt track to the main road, they begin stirring dog food in large tubs, with spades.