Friday, November 28, 2008


There are many trails that lead to the '919 pond'. And this morning i would like to check out the animal tracks on the Mendenhall river again. As the crow flies it is 4km. Along my new trail and then following the meadows it will be 5.5 km. But the trail is rough and only half done.
Along the power line access it is 7 km. In the summer i bike the highway which is, even with the Fire smart shortcut, longer yet. While i am contemplating which way to go, Don offers to drive me to the 911 sign on the highway. Good!

He drops me off at sun rise , the light is beautiful, at 10.15 am. The peak of Middle mountain catches the sun and is brightly colored, clouds around it and blue sky above.
I am probably at the river at 10.30 am. Ah wonderful, the tracks are still there, maybe a rabbit crossed them here or there.
I take lots of photos to have the tracks identified.
Which way to go? first i follow them left (East). Soon there is over flow, it filled up the tracks, which makes them stand out. I see that the animal checked something out in the bank.
As i am going East i hear: "tingeling a ling" behind me. The Horses! People from Champagne have grazing leases here for their pack horses.
When i have to climb over a tree I decide to go West first and check out the horses.
There is lots of overflow and i have to go on the bank at places, where i can actually take shortcuts,(the bends in the river).
The horses are in a meadow South of the river. They are so friendly, they probably think i come and bring them hay like their owners. I have nothing more to offer then the marsh grass. One lets me stroke him.

Back to the 'otter trail'.
Whatever it is, it is a smart animal, not following the meandering river, but.... the easiest route i guess, along the river.
Sliding marks over 2 meters long on the river, shorter through the forest or deeper snow on ponds.
I am loving it following these tracks, it must be an Otter, I feel playful like one.
Before noon I am back where I started on the river to have my lunch.

It might take 3 hours to ski back. The distances i gave you, i didn't figure them out till after.
It safer to measure time by what kind of terrain any way. I choose the 7 km route, which means i will be on a broken in trail, by skidoos and other off terrain vehicles.
The going is very good! I dread long straight stretches, but for no reason. The first piece is straight like an arrow across the pond.
But this pond i love so much, i stand still often to enjoy. Then there is a good bush road, then a little ways along the highway, next the 'Old Alaska highway', a little bush road and finally straight like an arrow again on the power line.
Because the skidoos have flatten everything out I go fast like an arrow too and am home in less then 2 hours. Amazing!

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