DAY 5 – Thursday 25th Feb
We were very lucky to be able to drive up to Inuvik from Dawson on the Dempster Highway. It was closed for three days before we set off, delaying us by a day, and closed again behind us and is still closed. There is a particular section called Hurricane Alley just north of Eagle Plains where the wind and snow gets really bad. Driving the highway makes you realise just how big this country is. The drive was about 9 hours and 450 miles on a graded dirt road with frozen ice on it. The scenery is mind-blowingly beautiful. Saw caribou. We stopped at Eagle Plains truck stop for lunch, refuelled and gave the dogs a bit of a run.
We arrived in Inuvik around 9.00 pm.
DAY 6 – Friday 26th Feb – Inuvik
Spent the day getting last minute things and feeding the dogs. Some are a little sick from picking up a bug from the Yukon Quest Race dogs that had been along our route to Dawson before us.
DAY 7 – SAT 27th Feb – Inuvik
-23c sunny and light breeze, -35c with the wind chill
We went out to the airport hangar to weigh the loads for the flight to Herschel. Met with the ground crew and pilot to talk through the load splits. It all went easily as they already had my manifest with all the weights and instructions for splitting the load between the two flights.
It is getting lighter by 15 minutes a day. The weather is meant to stay sunny so we may be OK for getting both flights in tomorrow. If it gets cloudy we have to abort the flight and try again the next day. Each flight is about an hour for the 185 mile flight to Herschel Island, North West of Inuvik.
DAY 8 – Sunday 28th Feb
We went out to the airport at 10.00 am for the flight. The light was good so we took the first flight to Herschel, the ground wind was 35 mph and -25c! A lot of airborne blizzard snow. We managed both flights into Herschel and are now ready to start our Amundsen expedition!
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT. This is where it really begins. We are getting a daily increase in followers especially from mushers who understand what we are taking on. Earl, who will be meeting us on the USA border, has made it up to the mouth of the Coleen, so the Yukon and the Porcupine are passable at the moment. This is great news and a relief as the reports on the river conditions ahead of us we’re not good. Pat has been amazing with the technical and logistical support.