Have been staying at Wayne and Scarlet’s for a few days sorting stuff, loading sledges etc. Every one up here knows about the expedition. Most of the Quest runners are now following us. All the kids are following us and doing projects around the trip!
DAY 1 – Sunday 21st Feb
-25c rising to -10c clear sunny skies
Set off from Wayne and Scarlet’s cabin around 10.00am to sledge 27 miles up the Yukon. Easy sledging, though a lot of open water on the river. Slept the night on the floor of a self-built cabin. Had some technical issues with the equipment but Pat Oakley in Canada – our technical base – has been fantastic with support, we now should be on the map!
DAY 2 – Monday 22nd Feb
-20c rising to -10c clear sunny
Left around 10am to sledge 33 miles to ’40 Mile’ village. The river Yukon is much faster running than I thought it would be, there is a lot of open water on the river and some nasty slush ice overflow. Smashed my knee on some ice when I caught an inside edge on an ice crack and the sledge flipped. Saw two herds of Caribou, one running across in front of the dogs. Arrived at Earl’s cabin late in the day.
DAY 3 – Tuesday 23rd Feb
-25c sunny to start. -10c later, cloudy lots of wind (wind chill -15c)
Left 40 Mile village at 10am and sledged 20 miles uphill to approx. 3800’ at the top of the “World Highway”. The trail was blown out in places and we had a very interesting traverse with a drop off to manoeuvre where we turned the sledges three times! Sledged on until dark, then stopped on the trail around 7pm to feed the dogs, using the Primus stoves to melt the snow for their food. We then lay down by our sledges to sleep for 4 hours, but there was a strong wind so we got going after 2 hours and sledged all night to Dawson arriving at 4.00am. Total distance was 68 miles. We put the dogs out on pickets and slept for a few hours on the sledges.
DAY 4 – Wednesday 24th Feb
Brian Wilmshurst, who will be trucking us to Inuvik in the Northern Territories, arrived at 7.15am and we fed the dogs, drove into town and had a good breakfast as we hadn’t eaten since Tues morning!
Staying at Brian’s place tonight. The Dempster highway to Inuvik has been closed for three days at Eagle Flats due to snow drifts and gales. We are a day ahead of schedule so it will hopefully reopen tomorrow. Plan is to head off and if it’s still closed we can sleep in the truck tomorrow night and hopefully get to Inuvik on Friday morning at worst.
You can follow us on our website using the map tracking our progress