Erik Larson has set up pictures with GPS cords for the Extreme
Trip. It is an enjoyable slide show. Please check it out... EVERYTRAIL
The following pictures of overflow are from one
of our extreme trips and are not what someone could expect on one
of our tours geared for beginner and intermediate mushers.
Apr 4...our season ended yesterday with the departure of our last
2 guests and it was a really nice season. We enjoyed the interaction
with all the clients and some great mushing. Snow conditions have
been good and temperatures are holding to where we get to take some
nice short fun runs here for the next few days.
Below is a paragraph that helps show the experience we are seeking
to send our clients home with. There are also some new reviews on
Kate and I returned to Atlanta and were met with a lot of hectic
work and travel, so the past few weeks have just gotten away from
me. We want to thank you for your gracious hospitality at the Homestead,
and tell you that we had a terrific time! The dog mushing was a
blast: we both enjoyed the experience even more than we had expected.
Of course the dogs are the stars, and they quickly captured our
hearts and admiration. But we also enormously enjoyed meeting the
two of you and getting a peek at your extraordinary lifestyle. Wayne
could not have taken better care of us, and we feel that by the
time we left we had made great friends in Eagle. There is obviously
a lot of work involved in putting a trip like this together, and
we felt that your planning and logistics were carried-off without
a hitch, especially considering Scarlett’s unexpected trip
to the lower 48. You run a good operation.
Mar 10...life can throw some hard curves and I had to leave to
go to my mom the day the crew came back in. I did not get to see
them which was a shame as I missed hearing a lot of the stories
but if I get a chance to catch up I will post more of their trip.
One of the 1st team members sent a nice e-mail today and here is
what he had to say... Dear Wayne and Scarlett ,
I am writing to thank you both for organising a wonderful adventure,
I loved all of it. It was very nice to finally meet you both after
a lot of emails over the last six months. I love Alaska ,your home
and everyone I met.
The trip was great fun and I am very grateful that you where prepared
to take the risk of letting me join it having never met me before.
It was very different to previous sledging trips I have done , mainly
because of the dogs. Oh and the swimming! I have never been around
such well trained dogs. They are amazing. Being able to put on and
take off harnesses, feed them and direct them to the sledges without
the manic hassle I have had to deal with in the past was fantastic.
The process is a joy rather than a Herculean effort that left one
in a muck sweat. The other wonderful thing was the way the dogs
responded to commands. To get a team to turn right or left off the
trail into deep snow instantly is very impressive. You are magicians.
Another team member heard from...It's 3.20am and I've given up
trying to sleep and come downstairs for a cuppa and bowl of oatmeal.
Thank you so, so much for giving me the opportunity to have such
an experience (water sports included!) How could I worry with 5
mountain men to help when needed? And how can I possibly explain
to folks here what an adventure it all was. I know I was a bit of
'the weakest link' but boy, what scenery, what dogs, what people,
(what bruises!) what a life. That was truly living, and I can't
say thank you enough. But I will write again and at more length
when it's not 3am!!
Love you and Alaska lots,
Musher Mary xxx
Here is another team member and his thoughts...- the dogs: they
always go at the top of the list because, even when I'm knee-deep
in overflow and Lil Miss is up on the bank and won't even LOOK at
the water, I'm still constantly amazed by what they do!
- the overflow: yes, yes....I know.....it's a pain in the butt.
But still....I couldn't help but smile when we hit it. Yep, I'm
- trail-breaking: OK, so there was little any of us could do to
take the responsibility off of Wayne & Nate's shoulders here....and
I'm sure it's no fun for you guys ....but again, I'm amazed by the
work the dogs do in carving out a trail in the snow!
- Mark & Lori: what an incredible experience! Just getting
to know them and get a glimpse into their lives "in the middle
of the middle of nowhere" alone was worth the price of admission!
Definitely going to keep in touch with them!
- claiming several new cabins for SPAIN! It just never gets old
There was more of course. Every moment on the trail (even on the
Yukon!) adds to the full experience. The unexpected is always out
there lurking and I guess that's what keeps me wanting more. Of
course, sometimes I make my own fun (however accidentally) by flying
out of Spike's or something like that but.....never did say I was
a professional or anything....haha!
Feb 26...the team is one day away and looking good!
Feb 25...the team had a short day today.
Finally a few pictures are filtering in.
Mary and her swimming lessons with Nate appearing to direct the
Nate, Wayne, Tim, Eric, Michael, Mary and Lori relaxing in the
Feb 24...Day 13 and the team have made it to Washington Creek.
Feb 23... Day 12 looks like the team made Slaven's and can enjoy
the historic surroundings.
Feb 22...Day 11 has the team back at the mouth of the Kandik River
with plans to head further down the Yukon to Slaven's Roadhouse...an
historic cabin site in the Yukon Charley Rivers Preserve.
Feb 21...The new team members headed away from the warm hospitality
of Mark and Lori and began the travel back down the Kandik River.
Day 10 had the group at an old cabin site that was once lived in
by Randy and Karen Brown. With luck the colder temps had the overflow
Feb 20th...Day 9 was an interesting day for all. The group woke
up to minus 42 F. and weather that was flyable so 1 of the new members
of the team left Fairbanks on Wrights Air and landed on a river
strip near the cabin of Mark and Lori. The plane then loaded up
with extra gear, extra bags of dog food and 1 wrist injured Jake
(Wayne's favorite dog). The plane then flew into Eagle where it
dropped its load gathered a plane full of fresh gear, food and the
other 2 members of the new group. The plane left Eagle, flew back
to the Kandik River dropped that load and picked up the 3 team members
that were leaving. Thus begins the 2nd half of the Extreme trip.
Feb 19th...Day 8 was a tough day. The team had pushed on up ahead
to a camp site, made camp and enjoyed the evening. They headed back
expecting maybe a little bit of wet stuff but Mary found herself
in waist deep overflow. So the final day for Mary, Erik and Tim
was another tough one but all were happy and enjoyed the adventure.
Feb 18...Looks like the team has had a fun day of exploring and
have set up camp about 12 miles above the last cabin. Hopefully
I will be able to hear more of what they are up to soon. It looks
like they are a couple of miles up Big Sitdown Creek. They may be
out of satellite phone range as they are sending me double SPOT's
in the evening a sign to me that they can't get out by sat phone,
for 1 reason or another.
It is confirmed...they triumped and made their goal. A group of
snow machines had spent about 4 days attempting to reach the same
spot and were unable to get there so I can bet the team is celebrating
Feb 17th...The group chopped ice and dried gear yesterday at Mark
and Lori's and then headed out this morning in an attempt to reach
their furtherest goal along the Kandik River. I am waiting to hear
if they made it. There was some trail that they would have been
able to follow for awhile but then they were hitting virgin trail
and did not know what the conditions would be so did not know if
they would reach the next cabin or set up a tent camp for the night.
Feb 16th...will just post the message I received from Wayne, last
night, as that kind of says it all...I would not let Mark kiss me
(Opps that was from a previous message I sent to Wayne).......We
don't need any dog food on wrights...someone figured too much dog
food for this trip. Only 17 miles today ...tough miles...all of
us soaking wet....dogs "almost" swimming.....lots of overflow...Gary
flew over...heard he was going to give you a report...we had 4 teams
on one side of the river and me leading on the other side..I was
walking back to help swim other teams over when Gary flew by....good
crew of clients...Tim is maybe the toughest....63 yrs old and he
was wading back and forth to help everone. Mark and Lori are GREAT
hosts with us....plan B in effect.....maybe plan C and D...tomorrow
is a Zombie attack day...that means day off for certain dogs and
certain people...any dog run will be a short fun run tomorrow......hopefully
next day to Jeffs cabin...IF Earl and Charlie make it there tomorrow.............probably
have the charter land here at Marks......all is good even though
we don't quite have a specific sheduale right now..Mary is sitting
next to me as I write this and says..."she didn't realize she
was taking a water skiing package along with a dog sled trip"
Feb 15...I talked to Wayne last night and everyone is in good spirits
as they made their way 32 miles up the Kandik yesterday. They had
to push through some overflow but it appears to have been manageable.
Feb 14...Happy Valentine's Day...the team has moved well up the Kandic
River. Hopefully I will talk to the team today and know more how things
are going. The only message I have gotten is that the boxes I sent
with the food supplies are falling apart so I have images of burritos
being spread along the river with dogs scarfing them up.
The group is into Day 4 of a 17 day adventure…heading into
totally new and remote territory for our guides and clients.
At this point on Day 3 the group jumped off of familiar trail
systems and headed into new and unknown trails.
Light snowfall early in the year had us worried about trail conditions
on overland portions. Then severe cold moved in, followed by deep
snows, followed by very warm temps that have caused a lot of overflow
that is protected under the heavy layer of snow.
Snow machines have been over sections of the Kandik River and have
busted through the protecting layer of snow which has helped to
freeze up some of the wet overflow. So we are keeping our fingers
Feb 13 has the team at the mouth of the Kandic River. Tomorrow
takes them into new country.
Feb 12 was the start of this season's Extreme Trip.
This year we are calling this an Extreme Trip rather than an Expedition
as we are running it a little differently. It is into unknown territory
for everyone but there will be, hopefully, trail the whole way.
With the cold we have had, followed by deep snow and then very warm
weather we are expecting wet overflow conditions and that is what
we have been hearing from snowmachiners that have been running up
the Kandic River. Our crew will not turn into the Kandic until tomorrow
and we are hopeful that current cooler temps will have the overflow
frozen to where the teams will not be slogging along in wet slush.
I will post any news as I hear it.
Yesterday the group ran about 45 miles and overnighted in a cabin
near the Nation River. Here is the SPOT location...