Greetings from the shores of beautiful Lake Louise, Alaska. Where is Lake
Louise, Alaska, you ask; and what the heck am I doing there??? Well, it
happened like this......
Tuesday after the Knik 200 the weather in Alaska went 'south' - literally. The
temperates jumped to the mid to high 30's and rain started falling. The trails
were in good enough condition that one day of rain wasn't going to do too much
damage - but day after day of that weather DESTROYED them. In no time the only
thing covering dirt on the ground was ice - which made it virtually impossible
to run the team with either a sled or a 4 wheeler. I was okay with that for the
first while, after all, a good rest after Knik wasn't going to hurt anyone, but
once things stretched to over a week, I began to panic.
To add to my panic, on Saturday I got a phone call from Iditarod advising
mushers that they were considering moving the re-start to Fairbanks because of
trail conditions. Tentative new mileages and checkpoints were given, but with
the disclaimer that nothing was final until Tuesday - and, yes, food drops were
still due Wednesday. Well, that gave me something to focus my energy on - I
could redo my drop bags and race plan to accomodate this new route.
That night Mark and all my food drop stuff arrived. He had a good drive up,
despite an hour delay at the border as they decided whether or not they were
going to let my Iditarod meat supply for the dogs into the US. Seems they
didn't believe that one dog team could use that much meat and feared we were
going to sell some in the US. (A note to all you Canadians heading up for
Iditarod - don't pack any beef tripe in your suitcase, it is a highly regulated
item - right up their with automatic weapons, it seems). Anyway Mark and I
discussed my state of panic and we decided to work on food drops on Sunday and
Monday to get that out of the way before looking for somewhere to truck the
dogs to run.
If I do say so myself, we had the food drops well planned and organized and
everything went very smoothly. On Sunday afternoon we trucked all the bags of
meat over to Underdog Feeds, owned by Natalie's son, JP and his wife, and
loaded it into their freezer so we were sure everything would be hard frozen
before it went to Iditarod on Wednesday. Monday we did up all the kibble,
equipment and personally supplies.
Now, with drop bags done, on Tuesday we got to run dogs!!! We trucked 1 1/2
hours up to Petersville Road with Junior Iditarod musher, Lynzie Baachus and
her Dad, Ken. It rained for most of the drive up and while we were hooking up,
but eventually the rain switched to a wet snow. It was a nice run, though all
of us were soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the trucks.
On Wednesday Mark and I trucked all my food drops into Anchorage and turned
them over to Iditarod. I send out a whooping 2058 lbs of stuff. I guess most
mushers send about 1700 lbs or so, but I always overpack to make sure I can
deal with any situation that arises out there. In 2000 I send out over 2100 lbs
and in 2001, just over 2000 lbs.
Food drops done, on Thursday we trucked out to Wolverine Lodge on Lake Louise,
where we heard the snow was good. Lake Louise is about 160 miles down the Glenn
Highway towards Glennallen. It is one of the checkpoints on the Copper Basin
Race. Rumors were true - the trails were terrific. We weren't the only mushers
to take advantage of them either - Martin Buser, Cim Smyth, Lynda Plettner, and
others were already settled in out on the Lake. On Thursday we got a nice 24
mile run in and then on Friday, our planned 50 mile run turned into a 70 mile
one (really we weren't lost, just a little misplaced....but that is a story for
another day). We headed back to Willow on Friday night, turning the trails back
over to the hundreds of snowmachiners that invade the place for the weekend (I
must say though, that the snowmachiners in this area are the politest that
we've ever run into!!!).
Today we came back out to the lodge and we will stay here until Thursday.
Wolverine Lodge offers guest free internet access, so hopefully I can get some
more posts in over the next few days. The dogs are living out of the truck while we are here - so I must run so that
we can 'drop' them.