Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 30° Clear

Outdoors blog

Iditarod snowmobile Diary: Day 11

In this Friday, March 9, 2012 photo, an aurora borealis swirls in the sky over the Yukon River village of Ruby, Alaska, a checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)
In this Friday, March 9, 2012 photo, an aurora borealis swirls in the sky over the Yukon River village of Ruby, Alaska, a checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. (Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)

SNOWMOBILING -- Bob Jones of Kettle Falls and Josh Rindal of Spokane are repeating their effort to follow Alaska's Iditarod Sled Dog Race by snowmobile in February and March 2014.  

  • See the complete diary and photos from their 2012 trip -- which marked Jones's 14th time on the Iditarod.
  • Click "continue reading" to see Jones's diary from Day 11 of their 22-day 1,400-mile adventure in 2014.

Below are links to each of the other diary posts and photos of their trip on the Iditarod Trail.

Day 11:  (March 10, 2014) Monday

Carlson’s Crossing of the Innoko BLM Cabin to Ruby, -14º at 8 a.m.

I got a perfect adjustment on the barrel stove, and the cabin stayed a perfect sleeping temperature all night with two arm-loads of dry spruce and a few sticks of green birch. 

We have the longest ride of the trip ahead of us today:   The trail follows 120 miles of rolling hills, capped with varying thicknesses of Arctic spruce and birch, from our cabin to the little village of Ruby. 

We plan to be packed up and riding out by 10am this morning.  Yesterday we had the best trail conditions of this trip.  But by the time we made a few stops, it still took us 7 hours to go 70 miles.  That same average speed today would put us into Ruby at 10pm.  We are hoping to increase our speed a little today.  An 8pm arrival at the little cabin we have arranged for at Racheal Kangas’s place is our goal.  We’ll see…..

Last night Josh found some vacuum-packed food on a shelf outside, and it included 4 packs of what appeared to be homemade pizza.  He had brought them in and laid them out alongside the woodstove during the night.  By this morning they had thawed out, warmed up, and looked mighty inviting.  So we had them for breakfast!  And they were delicious!  Good eye, Josh!  Pizza at Carlson’s Cabin!

Josh poured our remaining 5-gallon fuel container into our machines and they wouldn’t quite take all of it.  They were full right to the top of their spouts.

Between the two of us we had ridden 140 miles yesterday.  And we had left McGrath with 8 gallons of spare fuel.  Some of the fuel got spilled due to container failure.  Even discounting that spillage, we had gotten 17.5mpg for the ride yesterday.  And we each now have 10.6 gallons in our tanks to ride 120 miles today.  We should have no problems with fuel quantities on a long ride over the North Route.

Every musher is ahead of us now, and we should have the trail pretty much to ourselves from McGrath to Nome.  We saw no one yesterday.

We rode north from the cabin at exactly 10am with the temperature showing minus 14º on the thermometer nailed to a big spruce tree adjacent to the front porch.  The bright sunshine of the past ten days was taking a break and the sky was a heavy, dark overcast.  That served to create a condition known as ‘flat light’ on the trail.  Which means that visability was damn poor.  Everything but the dog poop was flat white and deph perception was totally gone.

I had made arrangements long ago for a little B&B cabin in Ruby, so we were at least assured of a bunk when we got there.

 



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

Follow Rich online:




Go to the full Outdoors page