4th of March – Shell Lake Lodge to Finger lake – 40km

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We’re talking about a possible scratch and I can see the doubt in his eyes. He tells me that he will leave a little later. In fact, he had already decided to give up.

Go to bed around 1am and wake up around 5am. I take the time to eat a huge breakfast without hurrying too much.

The welcome here is really warm. Greg just arrived. He was charged 2 times by mooses on the trail and seems very shocked. No injury, but probably a hell of a scare. He eats breakfast, tells his story over and over to relieve stress and goes to bed.

2 US cyclists return to the lodge after 40 minutes of leaving: too cold! Better a 2nd breakfast than a nasty frostbite. It is -31 °C outside … wait until daybreak to go out. I talk to Forest who seems confused: although born in Fairbanks, he did not expect to meet such conditions and such severe cold in early March. We’re talking about a possible scratch and I can see the doubt in his eyes. He tells me that he will leave a little later. In fact, he had already decided to give up. I will never see him again.

Around 7:30 am, I decide to leave with Robert who is on foot.

Headwind, it looks tough. The trail is still as powdery, this means that it is slowly going. Again, the segment will be longer than expected. I decide to stay behind Robert, who is going a little slower than me: I am asleep on my skis because I didn’t really recover from yesterday’s stage. Not eaten enough, neither.

Around noon, the wind intensifies and you really have to fight to progress. The snow is flying and it’s really Alaska with a big A. Magnificent. I left Robert behind for a long time. This stage is shorter, 40km, I will not do more because a big stage is scheduled for tomorrow with 1150m of climbing.

The arrival on Finger Lake (CP3) is magnificent with the planes landing on the lake, on skis too. I arrive around 4 p.m., the wind is calm and I am very happy to arrive. I am happy to find Lars who was leading the race for skiers from the start. We eat a burrito provided by the organization and then we eat for 1 hour whatever comes in hand. The volunteers of the race are great. I collect my drop bag with food, batteries, hand warmers, treats and brownies for the next few days.

I go to bed at 7 p.m. in a large tent set up on the lake. Just near the stove. I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and fall asleep at 8 p.m. My batteries are recharging.

Around noon, the wind intensifies and you really have to fight to progress. The snow is flying and it’s really Alaska with a big A. Magnificent.

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D4 – Yentna to Shell Lake Lodge.

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D5 – Finger Lake to Puntilla lake