Up on the Firth River we saw some magnificent Dall sheep quite close by (Dall sheep are the northernmost wild sheep in the world) and had a black wolf running in front of us for ¼ mile, very unusual, he was looking back at us all the time wondering what we were doing there! We also surprised a herd of musk ox and they ran off for about 200 yds, and then corralled together with their backsides pointing inwards. Because they can’t run very fast they take this stand when threatened and head butt anything that comes near them.
DAY 18 – Wednesday 9th March
We had a long day slogging 34 miles up hill to the top of the mountain 3,500ft up and camped on top of the plateau. Very cold and windy, it is too high for trees so no protection. We met up with Earl, Ramona and Mike, camped together and had a rest day.
DAY 19 – Thursday 10th March
– 41ºC, inc. windchill of – 21ºC. Snowed all day
Ramona and Mike left early in the morning, they had been there for a week already waiting for us, so headed straight home. It’s dangerous to be up there on your own, so they had been keeping Earl company. We are now running on trail that Earl has made for us. This is what Amundsen would have been doing most of the time.
We had another long day, 37 miles to get down to Heimo and Edna’s home where we are stopping and will have a day’s rest. We went off the top of the divide down to Lois Creek which was like a roller coaster as it is narrow and very windy. The creek is more like a stream and there is no risk of overflow so we just whizzed down snaking in and out. Then we were onto the Colleen River, which has a lot of deep snow but the overflow wasn’t too bad. Heimo and Edna have lived up here for 41 years, trapping and raising their children, 300 miles from any civilization! Edna is cooking us a magnificent dinner of moose, potatoes and gravy! It will be a welcome change to the packet food we have been having so far.
DAY 20 – Friday 11th March
– 20º plus a lot of wind. Overcast
We have approximately another 530 miles to go. Our only concern is what condition the Yukon River is between Fort Yukon and Circle as we get further south. We are half way through. I think the rest now is going to be a hard slog, bumpy bits, overflow and deep snow.