Thursday, January 10, 2008

Yentna River Ride

Bill and I rode from Point McKenzie to Flathorn Lake and up the trail across the Dismal Swamp and on all the way up the Yentna River to Luce's.
The trail is in great shape all the way right now with some softer sections on the river and less snow than usual for this time of the year.
The Knik 200 sled dog race had started the day before and we met some of the last teams in the race returning to Knik. We enjoyed a burger at Luce's and after spending the night we headed back down the trail to Point McKenzie early at dawn. On the Susitna River we saw two wolves in a distance on the jumbled up ice. This year the rivers froze more jumbled than other years, it is fun to ride through it on a bike. Looking at some of the tracks that some of the mushers had left behind jumping off ice ridges, I don't think they enjoyed it quite as much as I did. By the time we got to Flathorn Lake we got into a snow swirl for a while pushing across the lake since I thought I wanted to push the bike some so I wouldn't forget what that was like. The trails have just been too good for biking so far. In 2006 I pushed my bike pretty much from Puntilla to McGrath, 170 miles. The year before I estimated that we had only pushed the bikes for 30 or 40 miles. That was on Snowcat rims with the Geax Sedona tires, now I have a Fatbike with bigger rims and tires. I have really enjoyed having the bigger tires, I can ride softer trails.
There was one spot on the Susitna River where the trail had fallen in and our tracks from the day before had disappeared. The river was blocked off and flagged, now there was only an 18 inch wide ice bridge of trail left to cross. Dave Luce said that he sees the first snowmachiners usually by mid November. This year the rivers froze much later and nobody traveled on the rivers until mid December.
Every time we go out on the trail it is like a new place and I could never get tired of it.
The morning light out there on the river was special, in the race it has been dark both times on that section of trail, I didn't get to see much.
Now I know the river section isn't quite as monotonous and boring as I thought.


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