It seems we just cant stay away, the team and I just recently completed our second trip into Eagle this winter. Our group consisted of three dog teams and a snow machine. Matt and Alyssa from Smokin' Aces Kennel joined us via dog team(25 dogs between them) and Robert drove the snow machine while I ran a team of 13 dogs. We started our adventure by trucking the dogs over the Steese highway to Circle, once in Circle we loaded the sleds, harnessed the dogs and hit the trail mid-afternoon on monday February fourth, from there we ran about 60 miles up the Yukon River via the Yukon Quest trail to the historical Slaven's Roadhouse located in the Yukon Charley Rivers National preserve.
The old road house is now used as a public use stop for travelers along the river. We spent about twelve hours there resting the dogs and getting some sleep, we had a nice visit with a couple of the park rangers who were there to get the building ready to be a dog drop as the Yukon Quest went through. From there we traveled up the river to a friends cabin near the mouth of the Nation River, another long run which was just over 50 miles. After another nice rest and a visit with some friends we headed on up to Eagle, a shorter day of only 47 or so miles to travel.
We spent about a week in Eagle visiting friends and family and running some of the local trails. We also volunteered at the Yukon Quest checkpoint which was a lot of fun and like every year is a big event in the small town bringing everyone together and breaking up the monotony of the long cold winter.
We decided to travel back down the river separately until slaves road house. We would meet up there to do the final run into Circle together. Robert and I did the 100 mile run from Eagle to Slaven's with only a 2.5 hour break about half way. We used the run as training for the upcoming Two Rivers 200 race. We ended up spending about 24 hours at Slaven's on our return trip, it is so beautiful there and we all really enjoyed the long rest and just hanging out with good friends. There was an awesome display of northern lights in the sky the night we arrived, it was so incredible you didn't know where to look, it would be completely dark one minute and then all of a sudden the lights raced across the sky in a brilliant display of greens and pinks. The lights were so bright at their peak they lit up the country side, and you could see as well as if there had been a full moon instead of a small sliver of one.
We did the final leg of the trip from Slaven's to Circle at night leaving at one in the morning and arriving in Circle at about 8 AM. The run into Circle was fairly uneventful, we saw one moose up on the bank a few miles below Slaven's, and then encountered some cold, windy and drifted sections of trail, nothing uncommon for river travel though. Arriving in Circle around day break gave us time to drive home over Eagle Summit in the daylight when the snow plows were out, which was nice since the wind was blowing and the road was drifting in.
Over all the trip was amazing and the dogs were awesome, it is amazing to see the difference in the level of maturity and trail experience in the yearlings now as compared to when we started the Top of The World 350 Race back in late December. They have gone from barely knowing what camping out is to being pros at it.
Below are some pictures from the trip, I hope you enjoy them.
|Traveling through the Historic Fort Egbert in Eagle. Eagle has more|
museum square footage than any where else in Alaska.
To learn more about the rich history of Eagle please visit the historical
societies web site www.eaglehistoricalsociety.com
|Several miles below Eagle heading back towards Circle.|
|Nearing Eagle with the distinct |
Eagle Bluff in the foreground.
|Stopping for a quick snack break near the confluence|
of the Yukon and Tatonduk Rivers. Jackal is in single lead
with Matrix and Bp behind her in what we call the "swing"
position. It is the swing dogs job to help turn the team.
|One of the many rock formations found along the Yukon River.|
|Jana and Drummer resting at the Nation River.|
|Jana hitching a ride in the sled for a couple of hours.|
|Mountains not far up river from Circle.|
|All three teams in front of the fire hall in Circle waiting to leave for Eagle.|
To learn more about the Yukon Quest please visit their website at www.yukonquest.com