Much had changed in Montana during the weeks I was gone. Night time low temperatures were below zero. There had been several snowfalls in excess of six inches and one snowfall with winds so fast that the snow was blowing sideways, causing a whiteout. The dogs were now running fifty miles and were much tougher.
Doug met me at the airport in one of the two red Dodge pickups he had won at the Iditarod. He had John Stewart with him. John was the son of a friend from Scotland, who had gotten dogs from Doug and was running a dogsled touring business in Scotland. John had been raised around these dogs and had won several European sprint and short races. He was also a Commercial Diver who worked on the oil platforms in the North Sea. He is an athletic, red haired, 24 year old fellow. He had recently completed training for the first of three levels of diving and wanted to complete the third level, that would qualify him as a saturation diver. The would allow him to travel anywhere in the world to dive and command a very healthy salary. John had trained with Hans Gatt in Canada the year before and come to Montana to train with Doug, run the Seeley Lake 200 mile qualifying race and apply to run the Iditarod in 2010.