Anywho, that next day waking up from the ophir landing strip I was amazed. I was amazed that it was warm. Amazed at what felt like a good night sleep, though took a few hours of groggy riding to feel it. And amazed the conditions were basically perfect. While we were going through what in past years had been a certifiable hell, Jeff turned and said "so where is this bad section you were talking about?" I was really at a loss, I just can't believe how different it felt. I swear it was bad in the past! It must have been the company for one.... and for another maybe the cabin(s) on the upcoming trail felt like added safety and the weather / trail were really awesome. It had to be it because I started having conversations in my head analyzing those feelings-- I just can't get over how one year things could be so horrible and the same section undeniably fine. Last time I went through here I fell in overflow over my knee at -30 and was pretty worried about frostbite.... this time was muuuuch better I fell in overflow on my back and the water came in my open side zips / pit zips but it was only 20 above so we're good.
|Jeff (who made it just fine across overflow) Oatley|
|First Innoko Crossing|
|Jeff getting ready to depart Innoko cabin|
|Poorman area (beautiful sunrise)|
At exactly the Sulatna crossing I decided "that's it." I mentally made a decision not to sit on the seat from here on out and that's what I did. The hills were brutal to Ruby and I stopped often but made pretty good time. I arrived in Ruby about an hour after Jeff. I went to the school to try to get my drop but to no avail. I didn't know what to do (heard Aiden and Jeff blew through Ruby which seemed impossible) and was led to a home, I decided to sleep for the night and make a big push along the whole Yukon. I rested, showered and for the first time was able to take a look at my ass. It was not an abscess (something to pop) it was something much worse. I rested well, ate and left about 4 am a 10-11 hr stop! My plan was a go for non-stop till Nulato or Kaltag or more!
|On the Yukon|
The weather was so mild I just wanted to sleep next to the trail.... and that's what I did. I could see the lights of Nulato but I was toast. I crawled in my sleeping bag about 20 yards off trail---2 am on a friday night on the yukon with basketball tournaments could be dangerous with fast snow machines. Then about 4am I heard the braaap of a super fast machine blow by me and then the unmistakable whine of fast braking. This was followed by a the machine racing up to my sleeping bag.....
|Endo on the Yukon|