17th March, 2016

1 year ago  •  By  •  16 Comments

EXPEDITION DIARY

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Comments 16

  1. Mervin Joe
    Good Morning Tim and Crew, hope all is good with you guys, and safe travels.
  2. Thanks for the very interesting update from the IAF team. We are glad to hear that it is possible to take a day of rest! Thanks for the great images too. Readers of the blog may be interested in this article from Yale University on food insecurity for the Inuit caused by climate change. Some of the climatic issues that the team has encountered are confirmed in Yale's web article this week. http://e360.yale.edu/feature/arctic_heat_threatens_indigenous_life_climate_change/2974/
    • Dawn Hall Powell
      Wayne and crew, you have set out for a wonderful excursion and need to take in all the good with bad. You are all making history! I can't express how proud I am of my brother, Wayne, to always test himself to the fullest. Good luck guys, this is an awesome experience and I look forward to reading all your logs. Dawn Hall Powell
  3. Rupert Edwards
    Tim The fauna sound more interesting than back in Ellerby st where we occasionally see or are woken by a fox and curse the occasional dog turd. No black wolf nor musk ox in sight and sunsets not so grand either Best Rupert
  4. Jane Oakley
    IAF Team - well done - amazing so far and I think you are ahead of the original schedule. I have been following you and your local weather conditions as best I can. There is even a local weather forecast for John Herberts Village - but now I will switch to Fort Yukon, as believe you will be there in a couple of days time. Does moose taste a bit like venison? Lovely hearing about your wildlife encounters. Onwards .... safely.
    • Moose is a wonderful meat and not in the least like the venison that I have had. Have never had a gamey tasting moose.
  5. Eden
    Hello grandpa Hope you are well I can see some snowy sledges, some lovely snowy hills I have been tracking you everything is good but their maybe will be a struggle but don't worry you are a super hero you are amazing if you can get this far it is amazing I promise you you should believe me love you soooooooo much Eden!!
  6. Jim Boyde
    Wonderful journey through wonderful back country in Alaska and Canada. And yes, very few travelers these days. Are Heimo and Edna the trappers spoken about in the book, The Last Frontier? What of Howling Dog and Frozen Calf? Safe journeys dogs and drivers. Cheers, Jim.
  7. Tim all quite facinating,but sooo tough,I look forward to your blogs. Best of luck for the rest of this magnificent journey . Julia
  8. Mary Graham
    Must make you wonder if you'll ever be over the overflow! All of you and all your dogs are doing amazingly well on some very difficult trail (well, wasn't even any trail until you met Earl, was there?) Stay safe and I look forward to the next instalment of this wonderful adventure. And I promise I will never moan about overflow again... Take care, Musher Mary
  9. Mick Farley
    We are sending you and the gang our very best wishes, we enjoy following you on your amazing journey. thank you for keeping us up to date with your adventures take care, keep warm, Mick
  10. Andy & Rosie Holmes
    Dear Tim, Fantastic. Really it all sounds amazing and we love your blog and photos. We have been reading this as a family and remain deeply impressed - 500 miles to go..wow... keep it going and we are all cheering you on. Andy, Rosie, Nico & Fede xx
  11. Kate Charnley
    Last leg of the journey coming up! Hope it goes really well and that the river treats you all kindly. I wonder if any of the Yukon Quest Trail will still be there. Take care. Kate
    • Hi Kate, They are presently on the Quest trail. Best trail they have had the entire trip!
  12. Fred Klingener
    At the time of Amundsen's journey, the most heavily traveled and supported route to the Porcupine was probably the historical Hudson's Bay Company route up the Peel tributaries from Fort MacPherson and over the divide to the Bell. Was the Firth route as well traveled and supported in 1908? Who would have used it? Whalers? Probably not. RCMP? Maybe. HBC? They didn't get there until later.
    • Tim will get with you after the expedition to answer your question.