DAY 14 – Saturday 5th March
We managed to make 15 miles today. As we left Sheep’s Creek we went straight into a class 4 rapid, the worst so far. A lot of broken and collapsed ice, my sledge and I fell partly into a sink hole with the rapids running underneath me.
It took 3 people to move each sledge with ropes and pulleys almost vertically up the collapsed ice slopes of the rapids. We are exhausted, it took us 2 hours to get through. The dogs are very tired and hate the overflow, so if you sledge too near the edge, they try to climb out of the wet onto the bank.
We left the river twice to avoid a lot of bad overflow which held us back all day. We made very slow progress till about 3.30pm, then we made the rest of the miles to Joe Creek, which is a beautiful place. We had a very cold night.
DAY 15 – Sunday 6th Feb
– 40ºC Sunny
It takes about 3 ½ hours from waking to get going, feeding the dogs and ourselves, breaking camp etc. Hitting ice off the sledges takes about ¾ hour, and it takes at least 10 mins to get each boot on because they are frozen solid, and have to be defrosted over the Primus stove.
Finally we set off and straight away we got into heavy overflow; this continued all day except for when we left the river, but then we were into deep snow so that made very slow progress as well.
We are now out of the canyon so no more collapsed ice and no more tricky elevation changes. The countryside is getting wider with the mountains set further back. We made slow progress all day, only making 14 miles.
DAY 16 – Monday 7th March
– 45ºC Suddenly very cold last night
At last we had a really good run, making the 22 miles to the border. We crossed an ice field, which is a massive lake all frozen solid. Lots of cracking and groaning in the ice under us as we sledged along, which is always worrying as you don’t want to go through and get wet!
On the border we ran into a lot of willow trees and deep snow. It took 2 ½ hours to make the last 2 miles but we finally made the border.
DAY 17 – Tuesday 8th March
We met up with Earl Rolf who had come up from the south and spent the day re-supplying from the air drop, fixing stuff and checking over the dogs.
DAY 18 – Wednesday 9th March
Today we are going up into the mountains, 26 miles straight uphill, and we will camp on the top. Now that we are more southerly trees are beginning to grow and we can use firewood, but as we get into higher elevations the trees stop growing. It will be a two day run up the mountain till we can get more firewood, so we are taking a bit with us. It is 52 miles to the top of Lewis Creek. It has clouded over with a bit of snow now.
We want to push on as hard as we can as I am worried about the condition of the Yukon River when we get to it.