by Donald Bowers, Jr.
This is your first leg on the Yukon and although short, it can be a showstopper. The dogs will get their first taste of the big river, and it may not sit well with them. If the wind is blowing downriver, as it often is, and if the temperature is in the subzero range, as is also often the case, even this relatively brief trip can become interminable.
Figure on one and a half to two and a half hours for this leg run generally up the west side of the river. This is a heavily used village-to-village snowmachine trail and will probably be easy to follow.
You’ll leave Anvik along a back street and debouch onto the slough upstream (west) of where you entered the town follow the slough as it bends west and then north for a couple of miles back to the main river at the mouth of the Anvik River, which flows in from the west. Once you’re back on the main river it’s about 16 miles to Grayling.
The river makes two slight left-hand bends as you head upstream. The first is about three miles after you get on the river itself. There are some cabins on the left bank for reference. North of this bend, the left (west) bank becomes steep and high, towering hundreds of feet above the river in a series of ridges. The east bank will stay low and wooded for almost all of the next 150 miles.
The second bend is about six miles farther on; it has a distinct peak rising 500 above the river on the left with very steep slopes down to the shore. The point is about 8 miles from Grayling. About half a mile south of the checkpoint you’ll head up off the river onto the west bank and directly onto a main street of Grayling. The checkpoint is in the community center near the school. There is water available in the school.