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Yukon Charley Rivers Preserve a 2.2 million acre wilderness.
Our tours are customized to each individual client. We take into
consideration each clients physical level of ability and what they
are hoping to experience with Bush Alaska Expeditions then weave
it all together for the best possible trip. (See Physical Requirements
in the next column.) We take no more than 2 clients on any tour
unless the client ask for a larger group.
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the Yukon River after break up. Please check it out.
IN AMUNDSENS FOOTSTEPS Expedition has come
The international team have all gone in different directions and
the 22 wonderful dogs of our kennel have settled into some relaxation.
Their winter season is closing and the new spring awaits.
March 29...arrival into Eagle! The final day of
the expedition for the international gentlemen and the Bush Alaska
Expeditions Sled Dogs.
The last part of the journey was very warm, +5º on Saturday,
with the snow sticky and melting, patches of open ground on the
side of the river. The mountains are beginning to lose snow. Spring
is coming.On Sunday we spent the night at Wayne’s Cabin and
set off for the final 7 miles Monday morning. We arrived at Eagle
(population 86) at approximately 1.00 pm, local time, ending our
journey at Fort Egbert, which is the old army barracks. The telegraph
that Amundsen used at the end of his journey at Eagle, to tell the
world that he had navigated the NW Passage, has not been used for
years, probably not since 1930’s. We were able to use a Satellite
We are delighted to report that we have all suffered only mild
frostbite on various fingers and toes and that the dogs are well.
Only one of them seems to have lost a bit of weight but will be
nurtured now and all of them have loads of new straw bedding and
warm kennels to go to. What amazing dogs these have been! What a
feat of endurance to have pulled a heavy sledge 700 miles in bitter
temperatures over extreme terrain and still be wagging their tails
At the beginning I thought we only had a 50/50 chance of achieving
the journey, not achieved since 1905. It has been interesting and
hard but we’ve had good dogs, a good team and the careful
planning paid off. We are looking forward to coming home.
March 28 is the culmanation of the dreams of Tim Oakley
and Wayne Hall...The international team of Tim Oakley,
Wayne Hall, Graham Burke and Earl Rolf enjoyed time with the community
and students of Eagle. The men were in great spirits tho a bit tired.
The dogs of Bush Alaska Expeditions
were just the opposite....energetic and happy. They loved their
time in the spot light.
Current as of March 27, 2016...In Amundsen's Footsteps
team the gentlemen and happy dogs have reached the starting point
and will arrive in Eagle tomorrow.
Happy gentlemen and very happy dogs! They rolled in here a couple
of hours ago. The stories they have to tell are amazing. What they
and Bush Alaska Expeditions dogs http://bushalaskaexpeditions.com
have been through is truely a life changing event.
Tim Oakley, Wayne Hall, Earl Rolf, Tim Graham Happy gentlemen on arrival
Lefty very happy in her straw bed
Nenana relaxing on top of her dog house
Current as of March 26, 2016...The international
gentlemen and the 22 wonderful huskies of Bush Alaska Expeditions
are roughly 35 miles from our home cabin and another 6 miles from
their destination of Eagle. They will roll in here late tomorrow
and finish off at a leisurely pace on Monday.
The dog houses have been cleared of snow and tomorrow a plush bed
of straw will be added for the heroes and heroines of this expedition.
If not for the strength and endurance of these dogs the men would
not have been able to make it through the Firth River and complete
this incredible expedition.
Current as of March 25, 2016...HOME STRETCH!!!!!!!!!
The international team and Bush Alaska Expeditions Dogs are on the
final miles and into some better trails. The Yukon Quest dog sled
race trail to be exact. They are moving well and are expected to
come into Eagle on the 28th.
Of the 22 dogs on the trail, only 1 is a bit thin...all the others
have maintained their weights through all the cold and horrible
trail conditions. RJ, the thin one, gets bowl phobia when the weather
gets minus temperatures and refuses to eat thinking his tongue will
stick to the metal.
Wayne will have happy feet. Both feet sustained damage from freezing
but looks like they are healing, just painful.
Current as of Mar 20, 2016...The international
team and Bush Alaska Sled Dogs are on the move again today after
sitting out yesterday as a bad storm worked its way over them. You
will notice a gap for day 18. The DeLorme did not register on that
day. They made 32 really hard miles. Most of them while standing
backwards on their sleds because of the high winds. But all is going
well. Earl is still recovering from his snow machine roll over on
the ice as it was breaking out from under him. He took a hard hit
to his head and is having some neck problems but the team is working
on him daily and it seems to be improving.
We want to say a big Thank You to two other snow machine support
crew who helped Earl break trail to the border and stayed with him
until the expedition crew met up with him as the area they were
in was extremely remote and dangerous for 1 person. Thank you Mike!
Thank you Ramona!
Current as of Mar 19, 2016...The international
"In The Footsteps of Amundsen" team and the Bush Alaska
Expeditions sled dogs have passed the halfway point. Yesterday started
out beautiful and then the winds kicked up making visibility marginal
and the team members had to ride on their dog sleds facing backwards
because of the severity of the storm. Presently they are pinned
down by the storm with heavy snow and winds gusting to 40 mph. The
storm should pass by some time tonight or tomorrow morning and they
hope to be back on the trail. Please check out the blog on their
day to day experiences.
Current as of MAR 17, 2016...Bush Alaska Expeditions
and the international team are nearing the halfway point in their
expedition. A new posting to the blog is down below. Go to http://inamundsensfootsteps.com/blog/
to see some wonderful pictures from the trail.
Current as of Mar 16, 2016...The team and dogs
of Bush Alaska Expeditions reached the Porcupine River Yesterday
and arrived at John Herbert's Cabin. One of the few places along
the river to take shelter. They will be taking a day off for all
to relax and rest. There are many miles left to travel but barring
some unforeseen circumstance they will be able to complete their
Current as of Mar 13, 2016...Talked to Wayne tonight
and the team is doing well and moving along nicely. They have 20
miles of bad ice ahead of them tomorrow but after that things should
be really nice.
Wayne's foot is improving and the other team members stay busy
bandaging his toe which had had all the skin fall off of and he
says looks like a piece of raw meat. But so far so good! He sounded
much more perky and not nearly as stressed.
Current as of March 11, 2016...The expedition
team and dogs taking a hard earned day off and visiting with a family
on the Colleen River. Wayne has been in touch with medical personal
at medcallassist.com and is on antibiotics and pain meds for his
foot but it looks like he will be able to continue with the expedition.
Talking with him yesterday he was able to tell me about a couple
of their wonderful sightings on the Firth River. At one point there
were 4 wolves out in front of them and then they came upon 20 something
musk ox. What a lifting of the spirits for those guys after all
the hard and grueling days they had had.
Tim will be posting a new update onto the blog later today. Watch
for it. I will add it to the blog further down the page.
Current info as of March 9, 2016...Tim, Wayne,
Graham and the dogs have had one survival situation after another
as they battled overflow the whole length of the Firth. The first
4 days were spent wet, constantly in water with no way to dry out.
It was not until the Sheep Creek Depot stop that they had a place
to dry their gear and start out with lifted spirits.
The dogs have been stressed as they have been in such extreme conditions
but the teams reached the US-Canadian Border late yesterday and
met up with their support team who had another drop of dog food
and supplies for them. The dogs will now have 3 days travel not
on the river which should help to relax and destress them. They
spent the day yesterday, lazing around in the sunshine.
Current info as of Februray 29, 2016...The expedition
is underway and the teams are doing great. They 3 dog teams left
Herschel Island yesterday and crossed the sea ice and moved into
the Firth Delta. Today they are working their way on through the
Delta and will soon leave the open Delta behind as they reach the
rolling hills. The 1st 120 miles are unsupported and they are working
at hauling dog food, people food, fuel for cook stoves.
Their support crew has come up from the south making food and
supply caches along the way. This support crew has reached to border.
The furtherest they are allowed to travel.
In the days of Admunsen this 700 mile route was a populated area
with Athabascan and Inuit Tribes, gold miners, fur trapper/traders
and whalers. Admunsen was able to hire a local guide with dogs and
they bartered for food and supplies as they traveled south from
Herschel into the Firth River, the Coleen River, the Porcupine River
and finally the final stretch along the Yukon River. There were
cabins, trading posts and hospitality stops throughout the reagion.
Today it is a desserted land.
Tim Oakley from England, Graham Burke from New Zealand and Wayne
Hall of Eagle, Alaska make up the dog sledding crew along with 22
of the finest dogs to be had anywhere. Their support crew is headed
by Earl Rolf.
The team from left to Right...Tim Oakley, Earl Rolf, Wayne Hall and
The team with proudly displaying the Protected.co.uk banner, one of their sponsors.
Tim and Earl having a last consultation before the support snowmachine and 2 sled loads of dog food, supplies, people food and gas headed towards Fort Yukon.
The sledding crew with some of the team dogs waiting to take off.
In February of 2016 Wayne is taking time off from guiding for Bush
Alaska Expeditions to travel with 2 other explorers on a personal
expedition that has long been his dream. They are embarking on an
ambitious 700 mile expedition by dog sled in one of the coldest
and remotest places on the planet.
In 1905 Roald Amundsen completed a 700 mile journey to tell the
world of his successful navigation of the North West passage. For
the first time in 111 years, a team of three people using sleds
and huskies will retrace his footsteps. Amundsen also was the first
explorer to reach the South Pole using dogs (of course) in his race
to the pole against Robert Scott.
They will be comparing terrain and diary entries to shed light
on the changes in exploration and the landscape over the last century,
sharing their story with an educational program in schools and general
public around the world.
This project is supported by The Royal Geographical Society (with
IBG) with a Neville Shulman Challenge Award.
Details of the expedition are below, we would love to discuss further
the possibility of your support.
EXPEDITION DIARYDAY 37 - Monday 28th March .
WE HAVE ARRIVED IN EAGLE!! The last part of the journey was very
warm, +5º on Saturday, with the snow sticky and melting, patches
of open ground on the side of the river. The mountains are beginning
to lose snow. Spring is coming.On Sunday we spent the night at Wayne's
Cabin and set off for the final 7 miles Monday morning. We arrived
at Eagle (population 86) at approximately 1.00 pm, local time, ending
our journey at Fort Egbert, which is the old army barracks. The
telegraph that Amundsen used at the end of his journey at Eagle,
to tell the world that he had navigated the NW Passage, has not
been used for years, probably not since 1930's. We were able to
use a Satellite Phone. We are delighted to report that we have all
suffered only mild frostbite on various fingers and toes and that
the dogs are well. Only one of them seems to have lost a bit of
weight but will be nurtured now and all of them have loads of new
straw bedding and warm kennels to go to. What amazing dogs these
have been! What a feat of endurance to have pulled a heavy sledge
700 miles in bitter temperatures over extreme terrain and still
be wagging their tails every morning. At the beginning I thought
we only had a 50/50 chance of achieving the journey, not achieved
since 1905. It has been interesting and hard but we've had good
dogs, a good team and the careful planning paid off. We are looking
forward to coming home. D
AY 34 - Friday 25th March -10ºC The weather is very warm and the
days are getting longer, the snow is getting slushy and there is
a lot of jumble ice that is very tricky and tipping our sledges
over. Have done another 40 miles today to get to Kandik cabin. We
are running on the Yukon Quest race trail now. We should be at our
destination in two to three days.
DAY 32 - Wednesday 23rd March -5ºC Arrived in Circle and had my
first change of clothes! We are staying in the Circle Fire Station,
where they keep the fire truck, sleeping on the floor. The Municipal
laundry has a shower and we have had our first shower since the
start of the expedition! Only 4 more days of trail. We have all
suffered mild frostbite especially on the fingers and toes, but
the dogs are looking really good despite this long journey.
DAY 31 - Tuesday 22nd March We got up really early and sledged
40 miles. The weather is getting warm now in the day time, so we
need to sledge when the day is cold.
DAY 30 - Sunday 21st March Now we are on the Yukon River and continuing
to head SE. The days are getting longer by 10 minutes a day. When
we were in Inuvik further north they were getting longer by 15 minutes
a day. When we get to Eagle it will be 7 minutes a day. We are still
over 200 miles from Eagle. We are heading down to Circle now, we
have another day to camp then we should be at Circle, that's assuming
there isn't a storm or something. After Circle we should be able
to stay in cabins. Today it is clear and sunny, the going is very
slow as the snow is so deep from the storm. We are only making about
3 miles an hour. As we go south it will get warmer and warmer, so
earlier today it was -12º but it is now only -7º so the dogs overheat
and we have to keep stopping to let them cool down. Otherwise everything
is good. We are making headway. We think we are going to be about
5 days early arriving at Eagle.
DAY 29 - Sunday 20th March The wind dropped away, it was gusting
now and then but it wasn't too bad and when it stopped snowing the
visibility was good. The wind had blown the trail so it was nice
and hard, we managed to do about 34 good miles. We went straight
through Fort Yukon, which is an Indian village with about 600 people
living there, and camped outside on the Yukon River which is a very
DAY 28 - Saturday 19th March The wind started to get up gusting
between 40-50 mph and snowing. It got very difficult, we couldn't
see anything, so we stayed put. We camped, it was very boring lying
around all day with the tent banging and crashing, the wind was
so bad we thought the tent was going to tear to shreds, we had a
whole night of it buffeting and banging around. DAY 28 - Saturday
19th March Strong winds 30 gusting to 40 mph, snow, poor visibility,
we will have to stay put today. Will try to move tomorrow, only
34 mls to Fort Yukon. Forecast from Scarlett Hall near Eagle …..
They are pinned down by a storm that is dumping lots of snow and
high winds all along the eastern interior here. Snow today 2 to
4 inches, winds 15 to 30, gusts to 40 mph. Same exact weather for
tonight so total accumulations could be 4 to 8 inches of snow. Tomorrow
snow likely in the morning winds 15 to 25 gusts to 30 mph. Monday
partly sunny lighter winds.
DAY 27 - Friday 18th March We camped last night. We didn't sleep
much because the dogs were barking and howling all night because
there was a pack of wolves that were howling as well. They do it
to let each other know about territory, because if two wolf packs
get together there tends to be a fight, so our dogs spent all night
barking and howling. We have had a Raven flying with us for a few
days. The wind has got up 35mph and gusting 45mph for the rest of
the day, a big snowstorm is forecast for tomorrow. Sorry for the
gap on our expedition progress map, forgot to turn on my Delorme
DAY 26 - Thursday 17th March Sunny no wind -20º rising to -10º
in the daytime. We have left the Colleen River and are now on the
Porcupine River. Made 37 miles today, it has been good running,
the dogs are on good form and we are clicking through the miles.
Temperatures are now warmer as we get toward the back end of March,
though we have had very cold nights of -30ºC and -35ºC. The trail
is really good on the Porcupine and we haven't had any real problems
though we have just been through some jumble ice which you have
to pick your way through a bit. We have got to camp for another
2 nights and then we should be at Fort Yukon. The reports are good
on the river condition from Fort Yukon to Circle, despite being
impassable a few weeks ago. We are slowly getting ahead of schedule
and will probably get to our destination at Eagle early I think.
Saw another fantastic aurora borealis display.
DAY 25 - Wednesday 16th March Rest day today. We have still about
300 miles more to do but we are getting there. There is no danger
in what we are doing now it's just slogging through the miles. Not
much overflow, and just a bit of deep snow now and then. Last night,
finally, we saw some amazing northern lights! DAY 24 - Tuesday 15th
March - 20º C Snowed again all day with strong wind. Deep snow on
our trail we made 30 miles again today. We stopped at a place called
John Herbert village which is actually just three cabins, one of
which we are staying in. John Herbert was an Athabascan Indian.
We are going to take a rest day tomorrow because we are all exhausted
including the dogs.
DAY 23 - Monday 14th March High winds 25mph & snow blizzards all
day After staying at Heimo's we had 3 days of blizzards, really
strong winds and a lot of snow. Made 30 miles today, we are making
faster progress now that we are on trails. Up on the Firth River
we saw some magnificent Dall sheep quite close by (Dall sheep are
the northernmost wild sheep in the world) and had a black wolf running
in front of us for ¼ mile, very unusual, he was looking back at
us all the time wondering what we were doing there! We also surprised
a herd of musk ox and they ran off for about 200 yds, and then corralled
together with their backsides pointing inwards. Because they can't
run very fast they take this stand when threatened and head butt
anything that comes near them.
DAY 20 - Friday 11th March - 20º plus a lot of wind. Overcast We
have approximately another 530 miles to go. Our only concern is
what condition the Yukon River is between Fort Yukon and Circle
as we get further south. We are half way through. I think the rest
now is going to be a hard slog, bumpy bits, overflow and deep snow.
DAY 19 - Thursday 10th March - 41ºC, inc. windchill of - 21ºC.
Snowed all day Ramona and Mike left early in the morning, they had
been there for a week already waiting for us, so headed straight
home. It's dangerous to be up there on your own, so they had been
keeping Earl company. We are now running on trail that Earl has
made for us. This is what Amundsen would have been doing most of
the time. We had another long day, 37 miles to get down to Heimo
and Edna's home where we are stopping and will have a day's rest.
We went off the top of the divide down to Lois Creek which was like
a roller coaster as it is narrow and very windy. The creek is more
like a stream and there is no risk of overflow so we just whizzed
down snaking in and out. Then we were onto the Colleen River, which
has a lot of deep snow but the overflow wasn't too bad. Heimo and
Edna have lived up here for 41 years, trapping and raising their
children, 300 miles from any civilization! Edna is cooking us a
magnificent dinner of moose, potatoes and gravy! It will be a welcome
change to the packet food we have been having so far.
DAY 18 - Wednesday 9th March We had a long day slogging 34 miles
up hill to the top of the mountain 3,500ft up and camped on top
of the plateau. Very cold and windy, it is too high for trees so
no protection. We met up with Earl, Ramona and Mike, camped together
and had a rest day.
Up on the Firth River we saw some magnificent Dall sheep quite
close by (Dall sheep are the northernmost wild sheep in the world)
and had a black wolf running in front of us for ¼ mile, very
unusual, he was looking back at us all the time wondering what we
were doing there! We also surprised a herd of musk ox and they ran
off for about 200 yds, and then corralled together with their backsides
pointing inwards. Because they can’t run very fast they take
this stand when threatened and head butt anything that comes near
DAY 14 – Saturday 5th March
We managed to make 15 miles today. As we left Sheep’s Creek
we went straight into a class 4 rapid, the worst so far. A lot of
broken and collapsed ice, my sledge and I fell partly into a sink
hole with the rapids running underneath me.
It took 3 people to move each sledge with ropes and pulleys almost
vertically up the collapsed ice slopes of the rapids. We are exhausted,
it took us 2 hours to get through. The dogs are very tired and hate
the overflow, so if you sledge too near the edge, they try to climb
out of the wet onto the bank.
We left the river twice to avoid a lot of bad overflow which held
us back all day. We made very slow progress till about 3.30pm, then
we made the rest of the miles to Joe Creek, which is a beautiful
place. We had a very cold night.
DAY 15 – Sunday 6th Feb
– 40ºC Sunny
It takes about 3 ½ hours from waking to get going, feeding
the dogs and ourselves, breaking camp etc. Hitting ice off the sledges
takes about ¾ hour, and it takes at least 10 mins to get
each boot on because they are frozen solid, and have to be defrosted
over the Primus stove.
Finally we set off and straight away we got into heavy overflow;
this continued all day except for when we left the river, but then
we were into deep snow so that made very slow progress as well.
We are now out of the canyon so no more collapsed ice and no more
tricky elevation changes. The countryside is getting wider with
the mountains set further back. We made slow progress all day, only
making 14 miles.
DAY 16 – Monday 7th March
– 45ºC Suddenly very cold last night
At last we had a really good run, making the 22 miles to the border.
We crossed an ice field, which is a massive lake all frozen solid.
Lots of cracking and groaning in the ice under us as we sledged
along, which is always worrying as you don’t want to go through
and get wet!
On the border we ran into a lot of willow trees and deep snow. It
took 2 ½ hours to make the last 2 miles but we finally made
DAY 17 – Tuesday 8th March
We met up with Earl Rolf who had come up from the south and spent
the day re-supplying from the air drop, fixing stuff and checking
over the dogs.
DAY 18 – Wednesday 9th March
Today we are going up into the mountains, 26 miles straight uphill,
and we will camp on the top. Now that we are more southerly trees
are beginning to grow and we can use firewood, but as we get into
higher elevations the trees stop growing. It will be a two day run
up the mountain till we can get more firewood, so we are taking
a bit with us. It is 52 miles to the top of Lewis Creek. It has
clouded over with a bit of snow now.
We want to push on as hard as we can as I am worried about the condition
of the Yukon River when we get to it.
DAY 8 – Sunday 28th Feb
-45º incl wind chill
The first flight flew to Herschel island at about midday. When we
arrived there were very high winds and it was very cold –
the snow was airborne about waist height. So we picketed the dogs
straight away, unloaded the aircraft and it took off again. Then
the first thing we had to do was to re-stake out the dogs round
the back of the building out of the wind, to allow space for the
dogs coming in on the next flight.
There is a really nice comfortable hut on Herschel which we have
been given permission to use by the HTC. (Hunters and Trappers Association)
The 2nd flight out had a mechanical problem and couldn’t get
back in till about 6pm by which time the wind had dropped a bit
so we managed to feed the dogs and get the place warm, so that was
all a big relief.
DAY 9 – Monday 29th Feb
– 30ºC + -15ºC wind chill = – 45ºC
Strong breeze, sunny clear sky and we sledged all the way down the
side of Herschel Island and Pauline Cove, into the channel between
the mainland & HI and along the sea ice, 15 miles to the delta.
We kept drifting a bit far west and lost a couple of miles. Pretty
nasty overflow through the shallows which means running water on
top of the ice, this freezes onto the rails of the sledge and onto
the dogs legs so each time we run through it we have to stop, hack
the ice off the sledge with an axe, try and get the dogs as free
from the ice as possible and keep going. If we hit another slushy
patch we have to repeat the whole manoeuvre. Monday night we camped
in the open.
DAY 10 – Tuesday 1st March
The wind dropped in the night but it snowed all day till about 3.00pm,
visibility was very poor. We set off and I used a compass bearing
to correct our direction to get to the Firth mouth. It is always
a bit hairy just going on a compass bearing, as you don’t
know where you are, but anyway we found the mouth of the Firth and
just as we could see it in the distance Graham’s sledge handle
broke, that took ½ an hour to fix.
We had a good run on frozen overflow and glare ice (hard ice) the
dogs sliding around and the sledges all over the place, but then
we hit some really bad overflow for 2 hours, up to our knees in
water. My sledge got turned over into the water, everything got
wet but we managed to move on through the overflow and then we camped
about 20 mins later by the side of the river which was a slightly
elevated point a couple of feet above it. The overflow was coming
down river as well and was creeping towards us getting to within
1 ½ m of our camp and dogs!
Cold, wet and very miserable, everything soaking, we had no fire
DAY 11 – Wednesday 2nd March
– 30ºC all day
Clear and sunny but as we were in a canyon the sun didn’t
come through till later. We had to wait all day for the overflow
up river to freeze so that we could run on it and we couldn’t
go back because of the overflow below us. We had a miserable time,
very cold camping in an open area with no shelter and everything
was still wet with no chance of drying anything.
DAY 12 – Thursday 3rd March
We set off, it takes about 3 hours to break camp. We came across
a lot of hollow ice, then we had a very good run on flat ice to
Sheeps Creek, the ice breaking, cracking and groaning under us was
a bit alarming! The hollow ice is a real problem, it is where there
is a hole in the ice to the running river and rapids underneath,
it took us 3 hours to get through. We had been wet since Tuesday
and by Thursday, after three very hard days, we were exhausted and
DAY 13 – Friday 4th March
We had a beautiful run down to Sheeps Creek where there is a rangers
hut. Our boots and clothes were still soaking wet so we stayed here
for 24 hours to dry out. The only heat we had in the hut was our
little Primus stoves which heat the water for our food and drink,
and for the dogs. The boots took a whole night to unfreeze. You
have to hold the frozen boot over the Primus stove for five mins
just to be able to melt the ice enough to get the liner out. We
used bin liners over our socks to keep them reasonably dry.
Sheeps Creek is staggering beautiful. Suddenly the dogs started
howling then stopped and across the valley wolves howled back.
DAY 14 – Saturday 5th March
We will head out 50 miles to the border, feeling very positive.
Have now got 2 sets of dry clothes, one on us and one in the bag.
It should be 3 1/2 days to the Alaska/Canada border. Been hell getting
this far but we knew this part of the trail would be very difficult.
BLOG – 03/03/16
DAY 5 – Thursday 25th Feb
We were very lucky to be able to drive up to Inuvik from Dawson
on the Dempster Highway. It was closed for three days before we
set off, delaying us by a day, and closed again behind us and is
still closed. There is a particular section called Hurricane Alley
just north of Eagle Plains where the wind and snow gets really bad.
Driving the highway makes you realise just how big this country
is. The drive was about 9 hours and 450 miles on a graded dirt road
with frozen ice on it. The scenery is mind-blowingly beautiful.
Saw caribou. We stopped at Eagle Plains truck stop for lunch, refuelled
and gave the dogs a bit of a run.
We arrived in Inuvik around 9.00 pm.
DAY 6 – Friday 26th Feb – Inuvik
Spent the day getting last minute things and feeding the dogs. Some
are a little sick from picking up a bug from the Yukon Quest Race
dogs that had been along our route to Dawson before us.
DAY 7 – SAT 27th Feb – Inuvik
-23c sunny and light breeze, -35c with the wind chill
We went out to the airport hangar to weigh the loads for the flight
to Herschel. Met with the ground crew and pilot to talk through
the load splits. It all went easily as they already had my manifest
with all the weights and instructions for splitting the load between
the two flights.
It is getting lighter by 15 minutes a day. The weather is meant
to stay sunny so we may be OK for getting both flights in tomorrow.
If it gets cloudy we have to abort the flight and try again the
next day. Each flight is about an hour for the 185 mile flight to
Herschel Island, North West of Inuvik.
DAY 8 – Sunday 28th Feb
We went out to the airport at 10.00 am for the flight. The light
was good so we took the first flight to Herschel, the ground wind
was 35 mph and -25c! A lot of airborne blizzard snow. We managed
both flights into Herschel and are now ready to start our Amundsen
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT. This is where
it really begins. We are getting a daily increase in followers especially
from mushers who understand what we are taking on. Earl, who will
be meeting us on the USA border, has made it up to the mouth of
the Coleen, so the Yukon and the Porcupine are passable at the moment.
This is great news and a relief as the reports on the river conditions
ahead of us we’re not good. Pat has been amazing with the
technical and logistical support.
BLOG – 26/02/16
Have been staying at Wayne and Scarlet’s for a few days sorting
stuff, loading sledges etc. Every one up here knows about the expedition.
Most of the Quest runners are now following us. All the kids are
following us and doing projects around the trip!
DAY 1 – Sunday 21st Feb
-25c rising to -10c clear sunny skies
Set off from Wayne and Scarlet’s cabin around 10.00am to sledge
27 miles up the Yukon. Easy sledging, though a lot of open water
on the river. Slept the night on the floor of a self-built cabin.
Had some technical issues with the equipment but Pat Oakley in Canada
– our technical base – has been fantastic with support,
we now should be on the map!
DAY 2 – Monday 22nd Feb
-20c rising to -10c clear sunny
Left around 10am to sledge 33 miles to ’40 Mile’ village.
The river Yukon is much faster running than I thought it would be,
there is a lot of open water on the river and some nasty slush ice
overflow. Smashed my knee on some ice when I caught an inside edge
on an ice crack and the sledge flipped. Saw two herds of Caribou,
one running across in front of the dogs. Arrived at Earl’s
cabin late in the day.
DAY 3 – Tuesday 23rd Feb
-25c sunny to start. -10c later, cloudy lots of wind (wind chill
Left 40 Mile village at 10am and sledged 20 miles uphill to approx.
3800’ at the top of the “World Highway”. The trail
was blown out in places and we had a very interesting traverse with
a drop off to manoeuvre where we turned the sledges three times!
Sledged on until dark, then stopped on the trail around 7pm to feed
the dogs, using the Primus stoves to melt the snow for their food.
We then lay down by our sledges to sleep for 4 hours, but there
was a strong wind so we got going after 2 hours and sledged all
night to Dawson arriving at 4.00am. Total distance was 68 miles.
We put the dogs out on pickets and slept for a few hours on the
DAY 4 – Wednesday 24th Feb
Brian Wilmshurst, who will be trucking us to Inuvik in the Northern
Territories, arrived at 7.15am and we fed the dogs, drove into town
and had a good breakfast as we hadn’t eaten since Tues morning!
Staying at Brian’s place tonight. The Dempster highway to
Inuvik has been closed for three days at Eagle Flats due to snow
drifts and gales. We are a day ahead of schedule so it will hopefully
reopen tomorrow. Plan is to head off and if it’s still closed
we can sleep in the truck tomorrow night and hopefully get to Inuvik
on Friday morning at worst.
ABOUT THE EXPEDITION
Starting in February 2016 the expedition will take approximately
40 days. This will be a team of three people and 22 sled dogs. The
expedition will be carried out in extreme temperatures in one of
the most remote areas left on the planet. The link to our website
In Amundsens Footsteps
We have created an educational program connecting six schools in
Canada, Alaska, Norway and the UK who will work together to bring
a focus to climate change, geography and the history of exploration.
The program will broaden student's syllabuses, create exchange
opportunities and enhance learning experiences in both isolated
and populated schools.
For more information
and/or questions e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mallika Ranjan put together a great You Tube video of some of her
http://youtu.be/9knhaaK160E to see this video.
We had a wonderful 2015 season and hated to see it draw to a close.
The clients were wonderful, trail conditions could not have been
better and the dogs enjoyed all the time out on the trails.
"A Quest for Adventure" and "Twenty-four Feet
Across the Yukon," are two videos a gifted client, Court, has
put together. His videos covers so much of what happens while on tour
with us and a segment of the Eagle Checkpoint during the Yukon Quest
2014 Dog Sled Race and our son, Matt Hall's race.
"Twenty-four Feet Across the Yukon"
"A Quest for Adventure"
Check out the caribou migration crossing the Yukon near our homestead
on our About Us & Blog page.
Our son, Matt Hall has some very awestruck parents and quite a
fan following as he competed in theYukon Quest 1000 mile Dog Sled
Feb 2014...Matt Hall finished with a very
in 3rd place and was awarded the Rookie
the Year, The
Spirit of the North and the
Follow his progress on our Face Book Page...
Here are the links to his finish line interviews on YOU TUBE and
Matt has a website going as he starts preparing for racing.
If you get the chance check out Smoking Ace Kennels and/or see some of his racing career
here on our web site at Matt's Racing
Our Blog has been moved to the
Us & Blog
here for Touring and KENNEL UPDATE/BLOG
Photos and details of our expedition trips have been moved to Expeditions & Photos to see more about our expedition trips
and their photos.
Sled dogs enjoying back packing in the off season.
Ever hear the one about not standing up in a canoe?
Aug 14, 2012...The second wave of suicidal porcupines have broken
through the perimeter of the homestead and here is one of the wounded
June 17th...Happy Father's Day...Wayne is not too impressed with
the gift the dogs gave him...
Personally, I am not either...a bear up a tree in the dog yard
all night...Quiet PLEASE!
We have been enjoying travel on the river and came across an interesting
discovery. Is it a new species...?
Cleaning out some paperwork I came across an interesting picture.
Here is our very first Sierra Club Tour group waiting at the Eagle
Air Strip for the charter flight to pick them up for their return
to Fairbanks. Picture is compliments of Bob Thorton.
Just in case anyone thinks this is a serious picture...this was
a fun loving group who had a great time setting this photo up.