Husky House

Posts Tagged ‘Tanana River’

Fat Bike Mania

Okay, so I am really getting into this fat biking.  What planted the seed for my fat bike was my seeing a couple people biking on the Tanana River last winter.  So ever since I got my fat bike last month it has been my obsession to bike on the Tanana.  I have snowmachined on the river many times, but always seem to be traveling too fast to enjoy the scenery, besides, riding on a snowmachine and peddling are two entirely different experiences, almost like being in two entirely different places while in the same place.  I have skied and skijored on the river as well, but cannot travel as far under my own power as I can on a bike.  I tried biking on the river several times previously, but the snow had not set up enough primarily because it had been too cold for snowmachiners and mushers to run the river and “make” the trail.  After a failed attempt to peddle the river last week, I was complaining about it to a couple mushers who were trying to drag a trail with the same frustration.  Several days ago (Sunday) I was talking to some mushers and they told me that after a week of friendly weather and a lot of snowmachine traffic on the river, the trail has finally set!  The following day Sweet Pea (my fat bike) and I went for a ride on the river, and it was intoxicating, almost like the first time I rode my bike into Denali Park!   I was a bit time constrained, so I didn’t take my camera so that I wouldn’t be tempted to consume time taking pictures, and wouldn’t you know it, I saw four dog teams and  two moose on the river.  Yesterday, I convinced Bill to ride the river with me and he experienced the exhilaration I was still feeling.  Fortunately there are dog teams on the river every day, and this time I had my camera, not that I haven’t captured this scene many times before, but each time is unique and engaging, like poetry in motion.  I am so blessed to live in Alaska and experience the allure of such deeply personal adventures right out my door.

A snowmachiner, two skiers and Bill share the Tanana River

Bill rides his fat bike down a cut bank from the Tanana River onto a slough

A musher coming down the slough, no matter how many times I see this it is a treasured experience.


There are more photos in the following albums:  Biking on the Tanana River or Winter in Fairbanks


Fairbanks at 40 Below

The winter! the brightness that blinds you,

The white land locked tight as a drum,

The cold fear that follows and finds you,

The silence that bludgeons you dumb.

The snows that are older than history,

The woods where the weird shadows slant;

The stillness, the moonlight, the mystery,

I’ve bade ’em good-by — but I can’t.

(Robert Service, The Spell of the Yukon)

On the Tanana River; it may be cold and we may be tired of it, but it sure is pretty away from the ice fog. 2012-01-28 at 14-33-30

Ice fog on the Chena River at 40 below 2012-01-14 at 15-34-56

More photos of winter in Fairbanks


Skiing the Tanana River

Super Bowl Sunday,what better day for a girl to grab her skis and head off down the Tanana River.  It was sunny, peaceful, beautiful and quiet.  On a normal Sunday, the parking area at the river launch is crowded with vehicles and snowmachine trailers, but this was Super Bowl Sunday, and all the testosterone was lounging in front of a TV somewhere.  Beautiful!  It was an interesting outing, and although most of what little traffic I encountered on the river was female, it was varied.  There were a couple other skiers, several skijorers, two bikers with a dog running along, two snowmachines and a dog team.

When they are running, dog teams are quiet, and they can sneak up on you.  I was merrily skiing along when all of a sudden I heard a dog panting behind me, and by the time I turned to look, the lead dogs of a dog team where at my side.  This is the closest I have been to a dog team running full speed, and the closest I have been to being run over by a team.  I yelled “sorry!” to the guy, thinking I had somehow been in his way, but as I watched him zip off down the river, I thought, “what was he thinking?”  As you can see in the photos, the river is wide and there was ample room for him to pass me at a safe distance.  I didn’t even have the opportunity to take a photo!

Skiing on the Tanana River on a beautiful day

Just another beautiful day in paradise

At the end of my shadow is a skijorer

This looks like fun!

First Snowmachine Ride of 2011

The balmy weather continued Monday, so we decided to take a reconnaissance ride down the Tanana River and into the Tanana Flats.  It is always a time-consuming struggle finding all the clothes, boots, helmets, hats, gloves, etc and getting dressed for the first time.  We are fortunate to live where we can ride to the river from our house:  turn right from the driveway, another right about a quarter mile down the road, another quarter mile and a left turn down a hill along the power line then ride alongside the road about a half  mile to the river and then we can ride forever!  We took our SPOT GPS tracker along for a test to map our ride, and I was disappointed with the results.  The SPOT marks waypoints every 10 minutes, then connects them with a straight line.  Of course, the river isn’t straight and neither is anyone’s path, so while we followed the winding river, the SPOT map shows us cutting from point to point along a straight path.  I had noticed this during the Yukon Quest, as they also use SPOT devices to track mushers, but the bulb was dim and I didn’t get the big picture.

Anyway, we had a great ride, and the trail was in good condition for the relative lack of snow.  Just as the complexion of the river changes from season to season, it changes from year to year. There wasn’t  as much jumble ice on the river this year as last year and the river crossing points were a bit different.  I didn’t see any open water like I did last year, of course we have just come off of two weeks of 20-40 below temps.  We didn’t ride very far, just about 12 miles out (24 total) as we started late and daylight this time of the year is still relatively scarce, around four hours.  It was a fun ride and I hope to go again soon.

There are more photos in my gallery.

Bill taking a photo

The tunnel from the slough to the woods

Sunset in the Tanana Flats