Sunday, January 20, 2008

A traverse through the White Mountains

Dan, Sky and Asia head towards the jagged limestone peaks of the White Mountains

Wow--we are experiencing some dynamic weather in Alaska this week. Temperatures rebounded by 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 5 days. It was a chilly 40 to 50 degrees below zero early last week and now we are baking as the thermometer soared to 20 to 30 degrees above zero. The warmer temperatures and fresh snow made for a great weekend to do a long traverse through the heart of the White Mountains.

Dan and I skied 65-mile route which included a night at the Borealis and Wolf Run Cabins. You can see from my gps profile we had an overall net loss in elevation but did get to climb a few hills along the way. We covered the entire route without seeing a single person all weekend...ahhh...

The early-afternoon sun sheds a warm glow on the Borealis Cabin. We departed Fri evening for the 20-mile ski to the cabin. We didn't hit the trail on Saturday until the crack of noon.

Most of the cabins are all setup with a table, stoves/lanterns, and plenty of places to crash at night.

The trails in the White Mountains have been pretty crappy due to the low snow this year. A healthy dump of snow a few days ago greatly improved conditions. The tussocks and deep trenches between them were finally getting filled in with snow and the trail was in pretty good shape. We ended up breaking trail for about 30-miles which made the going a little slower than normal.

Here is the junction to the Caribou Bluff cabin and the beginning of the Fossil Gap trail--which cuts right through a jagged ridge of limestone. This section of trail is quite scenic.

There were wolf and moose tracks all over the place near fossil gap. From the mess of tracks we figured something had gone down and we speculated that the wolves were likely stocking a moose.

A knife-like limestone ridge rises above Fossil Creek.

A nearly full moon illuminates the peaks above Beaver Creek. This is an unusual stretch of river because it was still unfrozen even in mid-winter. We didn't stop for too long because the wind was howling and the temperature had rapidly dropped to -5 F.

A picture perfect view from the Wolf Run Cabin

Some sections of the trail were open meadows and exposed to the wind

Dan reveals his secret to skiing miles and miles all day...

And a long ski trip is never complete without out eating a completely disgustingly fattening meal from Hill Top truck stop on the way back into town.

1 comment:

Brianne said...

mmmm Hill Top...I miss that place.