MUCH better trail than in 2014. That is the short version. good enough…. good night….. Just kidding. After leaving Rainy I caught up with Noah Burmeister and was able to get some nice shots of him up in the high country. Lots of snow up there this year, no gravel or rocks showing. Very nice trail. Passing Noah we chatted a bit, and as he was pedaling away to help his team, I could not help but joke ” Hey Noah I never saw your brother do that “. We both got a good chuckle out of that ( Sorry Aaron ).
Climbing up towards Rainy Pass was beautiful, and then the downhill side was MUCH MUCH better than anticipated, or feared…. The trail breakers did a tremendous job making snow berms, bridge, cutting countless trees and filling huge water holes. Snow cover was good all the way to Rohn. Two years ago I flipped my snow machine on this run, not so this year. There are for sure some technical sections waiting for the mushers, and most likely some of those sections will get a bit worse with more and more teams passing, but overall I have seen the Gorge look worse quite a few times.
In Rohn Hugh Neff had just arrived and was bedding down his dogs. He did a long run, with only one major rest break in Finger Lake. He had a good parking spot, right next to the outbound trail. That will be a busy trail right about now, with many teams going through Rohn. There is enough snow to melt water in Rohn this year, but about 18 miles out, past the Post Rohn Glacier, is Tin Creek. Good running water there, so many teams try to camp in that vicinity. Straw would not be needed for a team there, as the meadows had no snow cover.
I did not spend much time in Rohn, wanting to run over the burn in daylight, expecting some rough trail. And yep, there is some rough trail. Simply no snow, all blown away by some Chinook winds. The bad stretch is about 15 miles long. Once mushers cross Tin Creek conditions are slowly improving. From Buffalo Camp on, all the way to Nikolai the trail is great again. Well, great with some longer glare ice sections on the lakes. As long as no wind comes up, these should be fine though. Once again lots and lots of work done by the trail breakers. Specially in the main burn section. Here some more shots….. Time to get some sleep. Happy trails