I got word yesterday that our Post Master, Joe Delia and his Wife Norma were low and wood, and I was ask to participate in getting some wood to them. Of course I said yes. This morning Tom and I loaded up his toboggan sled and my freight sled with wood and headed out to Skwentna to deliver wood to Joe and Norma.
The video shows the condition of the snow on the river.
The winds had blown hard all night and erased almost all signs of a trail. While this snow would be awesome to go play in on a pleasure cruse, it is terrible to pull a freight sled, loaded heavy. When loaded the idea is to stay on the main packed trail where the sled does not sink in. As you can see in the video, staying on the packed trail was very difficult. The only sign of a trail is behind my snowmachine.
These are just pretty pictures of a wind blown environment.
We had to travel by memory and feel of what was under the machine. The snow has gotten so deep that a lot of the trail markers are buried! I was leading when I lost the trail by too much, one time. I got stuck with the freight sled. I had almost made it back over to where I thought the main trail was when I came to a stop. Tom had seen me go down and I was pointing back to him to stay to the right and he did. I was able to just "stomp pack" the snow around the sled and my machine and we tied a rope to Toms' machine and pulled me out. Over all not too bad of an experience. We made it to the Skwentna river and I unhooked my sled and went scouting for the trail. I could not find a trail on the Skwentna at all. I don't run that river very often and there are no trail stakes on that river. I could not even feel the trail under the machine if and when I crossed it because it had blown in so deep.
We went up the Yentna a couple of more miles and took a trail overland through the woods to get to the post office / Joe and Norma's'. Then all we had to do was climb the hill to the Post Office with the loaded sleds.
Tom was leading at this point because he knew the overland trail. Well, he did not make it up the hill to Joe and Norma's'. He got stuck about half way up the first section of the two section hill, so we got to unhook his sled and pull it backwards back onto the river with my machine. Then we tied onto his machine and I pulled him backwards out of the hole he was in. I then pulled his sled up the hill to the wood shed and went back to get mine.
I only made it up part one of the hill and knew there was no way I could pull part two of the hill. My sled is bigger than Toms' and we had it loaded heavier. I disconnected on the flat section and went and helped Tom unload his sled. Then the two of us went back to mine. I hooked onto my sled, Tom parked on Top of the hill, tied two ropes together and threw me an end. I tied on and we used both machines to pull me up the hill. Piece of cake!
Anyhow, we got Joe and Norma some wood and while there another person (Dave) from the territory brought a sled full of wood. He had also towed a small toboggan. The idea was to unload his bigger sled a little at a time into the small toboggan and take it up the hill. I hooked onto his bigger sled and took it up for him so he didn't have to make the multiple trips. (My wide track snowmachine is designed to pull these things much more so than a standard snowmachine.)
I am really happy that we decided to buy this machine last Fall.
This whole wood delivery project was only supposed to (predicted to) take Three hours. We got back home in Five hours due to those trail conditions.
Of course, once we got home the wind died down. That is when I went to pack trails in front of our place out to the Water "seep" where we get our water. That is when I took the video and these pictures.
The Yenlo Mountains
Denali on right and Mt Foraker on left. What a beautiful view this evening. This is right out in front of our place on the river.
Thanks for being here with us today,
It is a previledge to share this life we live today!
May you have a great day,