Days of little or no sleep, freezing temperatures and even some river crossings with dangerous ice conditions were just too hard to resist, Jerry Joinson had to go back and do it all again.
The Yukon Quest sled dog race from Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon is 1,000 miles of pure animal determination – human and dog.
Joinson had completed the race back in 2011 under some extreme temperatures (-50 C) and after losing a lead dog before the race from a dog fight.
He had said he was going to take it easy and build a greenhouse for his wife Lisa.
But that is not what happened.
Instead, three years later, the couple had teamed up to both enter into the Yukon Quest race, Lisa entering into the Yukon Quest 300, a 300-mile race which gives a taste of the race without the extended endurance aspect.
Jerry himself had once again gone for the 1,000-mile gruelling test of stamina, both physical and mental – his race in 2011 saw him having hallucinations from lack of sleep.
So far, Joinson had irreparably damaged his sled between Central and Circle, Alaska and was given an eight-hour penalty to be served at the next mandatory stop for changing out his sled. The time penalty is required by the rules when a musher replaces his or her sled.
This means Joinson would be spending 44 hours at the Dawson City, Yukon stopover, a required 36-hour stop for most mushers.
However, the very next day, Joinson received another penalty, for not leaving enough food for a dropped dog, and was given another two hours penalty on his time.
Mushers who drop dogs at checkpoints are required to leave four pounds of food with each dropped dog.
Joinson was in twelfth position among the 15 mushers still in the race as of Feb. 5.
Lisa Joinson had not finished her 300-mile race, for as yet unknown reasons.
Unusually warm temperatures and freezing rain just before the race start date led to hard and icy conditions on the trails and changes to the route to circumvent open water and dangerous ice at the usual river crossings.
One of the most difficult portions of the race, the American Summit, a 3,400-foot steep section currently considered impassable.
Eagle Summit, which gave Joinson trouble in 2011 due to his bad knees, is still in the route, and is described as having rocky and icy patches. Two fellow mushers helped Joinson over the Summit during his 2011 race, leading his dogs and pushing his sled while he just managed the summit on his own due to knee problems.