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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Deering to Nome (1)

Every now and then I get it down just right, a perfect misadventure.  Some people ask why would one live in Nome, well this is why. It was perfect because I managed to convince a few friends this would be a worthwhile adventure and we had a blast. I couldn't ask for better company. I did not expect it to be as grueling but nonetheless it was fantastic.  In 2008 I did a trip with a friend, Tyler, to a place I was fascinated in and very difficult to get to called, Imuruk Lake.  We never made it-- as the conditions were brutal but I held on to the fact that I have heard there was a trail or even a "road" that was used in the gold rush days and up to the recent era to Deering and have been fascinated with the interior peninsula.  Since that trip in 2008 I have always wanted to get back into that country, a desolate, very unvisited place in Alaska that runs through the upper middle of Seward peninsula and through the National Bering Preserve (the foundation of the Beringia landbridge concept).  It was beautiful. And horrible. And not for the faint of heart.  I somehow thought that since Tyler and I ditched mountain bikes previously that a fat bike would work just fine.... at least some of the trail.... wrong again.


At first it was just me and my friend Chris, who was new to fatbiking but was experienced in hunting and back country Nomenclature.  He was always up for an adventure and has been teasing me that we haven't done anything since 2009 . Then I asked my wonderful friends in Fairbanks, Jeff Oatley and Heather Best if they would want to join us in this cool adventure.  What a great alignment of the stars because we all went, the logistics worked out for Bering Air to drop us in Deering and the weather was awesome...... After a bunch of back and forth emails, logistics, discussions we agreed to fly to Deering on Bering Air and just "ride" all the way back to Nome.  It was a good thing we flew to there because if we drove up the Kougarock road from Nome (original plan) we would have turned back. Yes it was bad trail and ended up all pushing.... almost all of it till the Kougarock.

Getting ready to leave from Nome

Landed in Deering
Bike packed in the caravan plane.

Imuruk lake from the air.




the road at first was great.....







then the "road" ran out and... well let's just say it was good ITI training for the pushing part of that race....



















3 comments:

Jill Homer said...

That's awesome, but there's got to be more to the story than that. ;-)

Phil Hofstetter said...

you bet. a worthy tale with lots of fun(ny) runny moments. i'll get there telling it... but it's amazing how ridiculous something is but with the right people around is just plain fun.

Jochem Cuypers said...

Dear Mr Hofstetter,

We are a family from Norway. In 2017 we are planning a summer trip to Alaska. One of our goals is to cycle the roadsystem around Nome. One of our other goals is to padle down the Noatak river with arrivel in Kotzebue. From Kotzebue it's a short boattrip to Deering... looks great for a drop-off. While dreaming and studying a topo map, I found a tractor trail going from Deering to Nome. While googling on the internet I found your website with your amazing cycle story. I was so happy to find somebody who was thinking like I did :) Now I'm wondering what the conditions are like. Can you talk about a tractor trail or is it more like a hiking trail or nothing at all? We will use modified bicycle trailers - so their are some limits even though they can handle some rough terrain.Do you remember how many days you used with the bikes, and how many kilometers from the road in Deering to the Kougarok road?

Hopefully you find some time to give us a feedback. That would be awesome! Looking really forewards to that.

All the best from Norway,
Nanook, Tristan, Kim and Jochem Broux - Cuypers ;)
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