Even though the Iditarod is beginning and is the main focus of most distance mushers right now, the Ryno athletes are done with race season and exploring around Alaska!
The past week, we enjoyed cruising the Yukon River at a leisurely pace rather than the rigorous run/rest schedule of the Yukon Quest! I loved seeing the country in the daylight and sharing it with Derek, Gunhild, Jeff, Deb and Nycole (even though the insane snow in Fairbanks made Deb and Nycole a little late to the party). We explored the Quest trail between Circle and Slaven's Roadhouse, climbed all around the Coal Creek Dredge, and followed wolf, caribou, and fox tracks down the Yukon. I apologize for all the Coal Creek Dredge photos, but it was so incredible to envision the dredge in production and what life must have been like. Or just think about what it took to barge all the parts of the dredge up the river!
According to the National Park Service, the Coal Creek Dredge ran day and night, processing 2,500 times more material in a day than a man could. In 17 years, it moved enough gravel to cover a football field nearly a mile deep and extracted 3.2 tons of gold. The dredge was ordered in 1935 and arrived at Coal Creek that fall. The next spring, the parts were sledded about 6 miles up Coal Creek where it was assembled near Cheese Creek. Incredible!
Along the way, we also met Michael who has been walking the entire Yukon Quest trail! He is just now arriving in Fairbanks today after walking the 1000-miles from Whitehorse. He began his trek on February first! Talk about making us feel lazy. Thank you to the folks in Circle for helping us get our truck started when it grumbled about being parked for several days of -30F to -40F!
Below are some photos of the Coal Creek Dredge.
Below are some pictures from the trail.