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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sledge Isle (half attempt)



Yesterday I went for a half hearted attempt to ride to Sledge Island. The island sits about 20 miles, as the crow flies, west of Nome and about 5 miles off shore. Normally, this is not a place one can ride or  snow machine to because the current is too strong to hold ice. I wouldn't think to ride there except some folks I know snow machined there the weekend before, something only a handful of people (I know of) have done. I doubt anyone has ridden a bike there, hence the attempt. 


Unfortunately I didn't plan well. Partly, because to do it right I needed about 8 hrs to play with and I only had 4 and partly because I never thought I would get far on the ice. I thought if there was at least a trail and hard packed part of the way, I could work a little extra time if I were close to the island. As it turned out the snow crust was great going out but as the sun came out the snow softened. It turned into a real grind about 15 miles out. It already was almost 2 hrs in so I turned around not about 6-7 miles from the island. I kick myself for not going earlier and giving it a serious chance as I probably won't have another . I doubt the ice will not rot that far out in another week. The return was kind of brutal especially with a timeline but managed to return in 2 hrs redlining most of the way.  Snow biking is frustrating for this reason, can hardly plan or count on anything. I suppose that's why my attempt was half hearted. 
Dark horizon lies open water


Ice crack snuck up on me a bunch, glad for strong rims




About 8 miles out of Nome there was a strange camp on the ice. Possibly a gold camp diving under the ice.  

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