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31 January, 2002

The trip to Council-

Sunlight shining, wind howling, snow machine roaring and eyes gazing were the details of the 5 hour snow machine trip to Council. I allowed myself to take in all that Alaska had to offer today. I bundled myself up in long underwear, down pants, huge parka, fur hat, goggles, the essential nose protector and then I was set for the trip. The snow machine was big and loud but muffled under the layers of hats. We were off and my long wait that had been filled with anticipation was finally over. Since the snow was deep, we were able to go off the road and take the scenic route. The route mainly followed the tripod stakes that are the markers for the Iditarod race. My mind was filled with thoughts of the courageous men and women that have lead their dogsled teams over the frozen ground. We followed the frozen Bering Sea that was filled with ice and pressure ridges. We crossed over Solomonís Blow that gave us 50 mph winds in already 10 F degree weather. At this point, we stopped at an Iditarod check cabin and warmed up and fueled our bodies for the remainder of the trek. We continued to travel on over the bumpy, frozen, cold tundra. We passed two caribou that were meandering about their daily lives. We heaved, pulled, and pushed the heavy snow machines out of the shrubs. We followed the snow-covered hills and valleys of winter Alaska until we finally arrived at the camp of Council. Barren, desolate, cold and beautiful is what Alaska has to offer. Tomorrow the cold awaits for our scientific measurements.

After the long 80 miles, 5 hour snow machine ride into Council.

Following the Iditarod trail out to Council.

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