Into the Wild

And the winner is…

Kevin Breitenbach

Kevin Breitenbach – winner of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Invitational

Kevin Breitenbach was the first to cross the finish line in McGrath covering 350 miles in 2 days 4 hours and 43 minutes. Tim Bernston came in as a close second just 21 minutes behind the leader. Third place went to Alec Petro. The trio was leading the race early on and never looked back.

The winning trio leaving Puntilla Lake

The winning trio leaving Puntilla Lake

Several riders coming into Puntilla Lake commented on the beauty of the place. I wonder how much time the leaders had to admire the scenery. Many riders arrived at Puntilla Lake in the dark, a few left in the middle of the night.

Some riders took the time to sleep over in the warm guide shack: “Life is too short to race”. Breakfast in the morning, waiting for the sun to warm the cold winter air. Beautiful clear skies and vistas were their reward.

Riding Puntilla Lake with a smile.

Riding Puntilla Lake with a smile.

On the Iditarod Trail

On the Iditarod Trail

Another notable event was the arrival of the first walker, Dave Johnson, running about 120 miles in 2 days. He took a nap, gave an interview and headed towards Rainy Pass.

Dave Johnson

Dave Johnston

Advertisements
Standard
Iditarod Trai Invitational
Into the Wild

Iditarod Trail Invitational

After less than 24 hours the first three riders arrived at Puntilla Lake! Tim Bernston, Kevin Breitenbach, and Alec Petro were the first ones to check in and leave Puntilla Lake for Rainy Pass a few hours later. A short rest in our warm guide shack and a hot meal was all they took before heading out again.

Tim Bernston, Kevin Breitenbach, and Alec Petro heading for Rainy Pass

Tim Bernston, Kevin Breitenbach, and Alec Petro heading for Rainy Pass

Pretty amazing sight seeing bicycles in the middle of nowhere. The bikes are snowbikes with big fat tires, and metal studs! Every rider carries some required gear, such as a sleeping bag, a sleeping pad, and food. 50 individuals have signed up for this year’s race, the majority riding 350 miles to McGrath. 22 riders attempt to go on to Nome for a total of 1000 miles. They follow the Iditarod trail, which seems to be very fast this year, despite or because of the low snow conditions.

Arriving at Puntilla Lake

Arriving at Puntilla Lake

So far I have seen one single speed, one bike without front brakes, no shocks, some carbon frames… I am not sure how important the gear is. The mindset is certainly crucial. This is not a race for the faint-hearted. Yes, there are food drops, cabins, and checkers along the way. Then again, there are long ours of solitude, exertion, and struggle. I am surprised how little attention these athletes get compared to the Iron Dog snowmobile racers or the Iditarod sled dog mushers.

Eyes on the trail

Eyes on the trail

Oh, I forgot. There are also a handful participants that walk or ski the distance. Looking forward to seeing those athletes to arrive at Puntilla Lake.

Standard
One Man's Paradise

Morning Frost

Image

The warm spell is over. Temperatures dropped below freezing.

Spruce trees, as well as the budding willows were covered with a thin layer of ice crystals this morning.

Sunshine and blue sky, cold and clear, that’s the way it’s going to be for the next two weeks. Says accuweather…

It feels amazing to see the sun rise in the morning, clearing the foothills and gaining intensity every day. The darkest days of winter are behind us. Says silly me…

 

 

 

 

Standard
Into the Wild

Caribou across the lake

Caribou

“We do see you!”

A small group of caribou is watching me from across the lake. They are standing on the frozen ice of Puntilla Lake. They would sink their whole head into the snow digging for something ? I don’t know why they would look for food on the ice. They were very shy and would not let me get closer. With ease they moved in 2 feet of loose powder. It is nice to the animals belonging to the tracks that were visible for days now. What is next? A wolverine? A wolf? A gigantic moose?

Standard
Peak with no name, near Kohlsaat Peak - Alaska Range
Into the Wild

Waiting for the Northern Lights #2

What can I say? I was thrilled about the Aurora forecast, but it wasn’t meant to be. First we had a bright moon until 3 AM, then the clouds moved in, only to give us a spectacular Friday morning.

I’ll donate another good night sleep tonight, alarm set, camera ready, whenever this magnificent light show is finally to happen.

The pictured mountain has no name in the USGS map. It is located to the East of Kohlsaat Peak, in the 6000 foot range. The Sun was visible almost until 1 PM today, what a difference from a few days ago! Looking forward to longer daylight hours – more time to explore the surroundings.

Standard
Rainy Pass Lodge Panorama
Into the Wild

Mountains #1

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

John Muir

Winter Blues #1

Winter Blues #2

Winter Blues #3

Those were the views 2 days ago with a winter storm moving out. The mountains started to peek through the clouds. Magical moments…

Today the sky is gray and a few flakes are in the air. Warm air! We almost got above freezing. In the midst of winter?

Looking forward to some visitors, an afternoon watching the NFL playoffs, and a scrumptious moose goulash tonight.

Standard