Never say never! Bethany and I were watching the tracker one last time before turning the computers off for the evening and what do we see?? Mr. Kaiser has got another plan brewing. Pete and the Team are in and out of Elim and back out on the trail!
Pete trains 100 mile runs regularly and when the Team wants to go, he lets them. In this case, they must be on fire as they are burning up the trail on the way to White Mountain.
Teams on the trail better look over their shoulder– There’s a freight train behind them and it’s name is Team Kaiser!
Go Team Kaiser!!
Golovin Weather – Temperature 12F – Wind West 10knot – Visibility 10 miles – Mostly cloudy.
Trail Description to White Mountain:
This is one of the more interesting legs on the race, with quite a variety of trail and terrain in a very short distance. Moreover, there is always a possibility of two extremely different routes for the first ten miles. The race follows the main snowmachine “highway” from Elim to Golovin and it is usually well marked and packed.
The trail usually heads back out on the sea ice from Elim and runs a mile or two offshore to a cabin at Walla Walla, on the coast eight miles south of Elim. In some years, when there is open water just off shore, the traill will stay overland on the Old Elim Mail Trail.
At Walla Walla, the trail rurns inland and climbs over the Kwiktalik Mountains with a series of long, moderately hard grades. The final summit is 1,000 feet at Little McKinley, about eight miles past Walla Walla and ten miles from Golovin. This is considered the hardest climb on the last half of the race.
The trail then makes a fast descent to Golovin Bay, running northwest along the bay ice for the last five miles to Golovnin. (The bay was first explored by Captain Gloving of the Imperial Russian Navy in the early 1800’s. The bay and lagoon behind the town retain the original spelling; the town’s name ha been changed over the years.)
Plan on three to four hours for this leg. If the weather is bad, the trip over the mountain can be a long, hard one because it is almost all above timberline and exposed to the wind. The trail over Little McKinley can range from icy and windswept to soft and punchy.
This is normally a yawner (unless the wind is blowing or it’s snowing). The trail follows the main snowmachine route, running straight as an arrow for ten miles across Golovnin Lagoon, then winding gently around (with some gentle ups and downs) to cross the delta of the Fish River. The last few miles are on the river. There is sometimes overflow on the lagoon or river. Plan on two hours for the trip, perhaps three if the wind is blowing.