After recovering in the ski-chalet for about an hour, and getting blood flowing back into the extremities, Steffi and I hopped in the pickup and headed north. The night before the Tour, I had packed the truck with all of the winter fun toys that I own. My closet at home was empty. Tele skis, mountaineering skis, nordic touring skis, ice climbing gear, winter camping gear, sleds, warm clothes, shovels, ice axes, pickets, snow-saws and I even tossed in the kite for good measure. The truck was happily full and heading towards adventure.
That night, after a 7 hour road trip and 50k race, we skied on stiff legs into the Ohana Cobana, our little cabin south of Donnely that looks across the Delta River valley into the Alaska Range. We met my Dad with the Willow, Tsaina and Riley dogs out there, and settled into the cozy, comfortable, simple rhythm of the cabin.
The next morning lead us out into the wilderness. We packed up sleds and packs, clipped on skis and tied into dogs to go spend a couple days exploring a new creek valley across the river and into the edge of the Alaska Range. Augustana creek is the next main drainage south of the Black Rapids glacier. We spent the first day slogging up the valley along the creek and set up camp just before it opened up into the broad glacial terminus.
Our objective for our full day in the mountains: goofing off. We spent the day exploring the base of the glacier, skiing up the medial moraine, and trying to stay on our skis making turns on the uneven sastrugi snow on the way back down. Beautiful sunshine and big mountain vistas filled the day.