25th September 2015 – Recce Trip to Eagle
This is my 3rd blog, it will hopefully help build a picture of the preparations for the expedition Wayne, Graham and I are going to make from Herschel Island to Eagle, replicating Amundsen’s 1905 journey.
Following on from the last blog after my stay in Inuvik, I flew back through Vancouver, Seattle and Fairbanks to Eagle on the Yukon River, where I met the other two team members;
Wayne Hall, a highly experienced musher (sledge driver) and dog handler who is providing all the dogs and sledges for the expedition.
Graham Burke, a New Zealander who is the third member of the sledging team.
Graham and I stayed at Wayne and Scarlett’s cabin outside Eagle. Graham had flown all the way from Wellington in New Zealand specifically to meet up and train with us. We all sledged together through deep snow, steep river banks, hills and over flow (where the river rises above the ice level). Heavy loads were deliberately used on the sledges so as to simulate some of the problems we may encounter on our journey.
We met up with Earl Rolf who is the fourth member of the expedition. Earl will be running supplies for us on the Alaskan side of the border with his snow machine. We talked through the logistics for transport and dog food caches, also ran through safety procedures and weighed all the equipment.
It is essential we keep our load to a minimum for both the flight into Herschel Island from Inuvik (1800lb per flight) and to ensure the sledges are not overloaded for the trail to Eagle. It’s really important to find a balance between your equipment, food and the comfortable pulling power of the dog team over such a lengthy journey.