Thursday, April 10, 2014

The long trail to Umiat

Goggle selfie with Ben's help. Left Toolik on a sunny cold afternoon. Four machines, eight weighty sleds.

Stopped at Toolikhenge, as Guido called it. Throw a caribou skin over these rocks, you're set.

The riding was fantastic until we stopped near a shelter cabin. Chris noticed his machine was listing to the right.

Using this magic green wire, a four-foot steel rod, lots of hose clamps and a nylon ratchet strap, the boys somehow made the machine drivable.

Rollin' on, we saw farthest north river otter slip n' slide.

The Anaktuvuk River fire of a few years ago, with a tundra scar bigger than eastern counties, sprouts grass.

Had to cross a few snowy dips. With our double sleds loaded down, we transitted some of them very slowly.

Enjoyed the far north sunset at about 10 p.m. We were still a long way from the barn. But Ben got us on the ice road that connects The Dalton Highway to Umiat when we really needed headlights to see. There followed a few hours of ultra endurance snowmachining. As the air cooled to its low of -27F, we saw the lights of this little oil-exploration/science research camp from 20 miles out. We buzzed into Umiat at 1 a.m., never so happy to see the inside of a cold Navy Quonset hut.

Chris Arp and Ben Jones, this morning. They already have a welder here working on the sno-go, along with a few Plan Bs.

Guido Grosse enjoys the Umiat wireless.

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