Well I have not disappeared in some icy gully along the trail..... , at least only temporarily. Made it White Mountain about 11 a.m. Leaving Koyuk I passed Hans Gatt, Kelly Maixner and Hugh Neff, all traveling well. It was too dark to take pictures. My nice LED light disappeared on the way to Nikolai already, must be sitting in Dalzell Gorge somewhere, so no point of stopping when I passed these guys.
Once I got to Elim, there was indeed nothing for us at the checkpoint, the door was locked. Aaron Burmeisters team was parked out front, but nobody around, I guess one of the locals gave him a place to warm up. The trail over had been hard and fast, actually quite a few white flakes on this part. The road into Elim, which usually has a huge snow berm, was pretty much just 3 inches of hardpack. Crazy. Leaving Elim we took the long way, as the ice on the bay was not safe. The little the trail goes over the bay, its obvious the ice is young, all smooth and flat. Finally I came upon a team I could take some pictures of, Joar Leifseth Ulsom working up a storm going up Little McKinley. There was still a decent snow cover on that side. Once cresting the top the outlook was bleak. All brown, no snow just a bumpy trail down the tundra. Sure a rough ride for the musher to go down.
At the bottom of the shelter cabin I could see some movement. That movement turned out to be my Two Rivers neighbor Sonny Lindner. First I was worried to see him, but than realized quickly all is well. Sonny was in a good mood, taking care of his dogs. He felt with the lack of snow he wanted to stop and cook them a meal and get more fluids into the team. He had his cooker going the soup was almost ready when I pulled in. Even what looks like snow ( white ) is just ice. The only way to melt it is to chop chunks up so they fit in the cooker. Crazy. Sonny said he could hear me from a long ways away, clonking along like a garbage truck. We chatted for a while and once it was time to feed “ the monster “ I left, as they will eat better when there is no distractions around. A little more clonking and some sandbars to cross and the trail spilled onto Golovin Bay.
The internet is spotty here in White Mountain too, so I try this update than continue with the rest of the trip. For you followers, we try to get you updates as good as we can… but at times in these remote places technology does not quite cooperate….