5th of March – Finger Lake to Puntilla lake

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The light is fantastic, the landscapes breathtaking. I have the breath, the legs too, the miles pass by. What happiness today.

Slept very well. Warm.

4:00 am. Breakfast in the CP3 cabin with Greg, also ready to go.
4:30 Go! Maximum motivation: I want to see more, to go back to confront the track, the elements.

In anticipation of the climbs, I equip my skis with small climbing skins -in addition to inset skins-. Effective! I feel like I can climb the walls. The trail winds through a sparse forest where the snow is more packed. The glide is good, I advance faster than the previous days despite the climbing. The horizon widens as the day breaks, magnificent, icy, pure.

The light is fantastic, the landscapes breathtaking. I have the breath, the legs too, the miles pass by. What happiness today.

Happy River… the misnomer: this is the terrible portion of the Iditarod. All the competitors fear it … I pass the last part as planned on my buttocks, the skis securely stowed on the pulk. The final portion consists of a descent (a fall?) of 6 meters … vertical or almost. Lots of snow this year, no real danger. I would not like to repeat this passage on frozen ground.

After 1 km on the Happy River, you have to go up… a long and steep hill. Again the skis remain on my pulk.

I am ahead of my walking plan and stop 1 hour, around noon, time to cook pasta that I share with Beth who arrives on her bike. She thanks me for this “drive” and leaves quickly.

I ski all afternoon on a plateau. The deep blue of the sky contrasts with the whiteness of the mountains in the distance. This day will undoubtedly remain one of my best memories on skis. I cross the lake. It serves as a landing strip for this isolated corner of the world: a small hamlet of about fifteen chalets, including a very beautiful lodge: Rainy Pass Lodge. I arrive at CP 4 around 5pm and find Beth and Robert, already in bed. We are housed in a beautiful log cabin with beds and a stove. In a cupboard, a few canned soups … but no can openers. We are hungry and quickly find the solution.

Decisions made to dine at the lodge: a glass of wine, beef ribs, we’re not going to complain… The cook, French, is happy to speak his language. International ITI meal with Jill, Amber and Beth (USA), George and Graham (NZ), Asbjorn (DK). Lars (AK) will join us a little later.

Lots of warmth in this evening, not just that of the stove. Go to bed around 11pm.

Lots of warmth in this evening, not just that of the stove.

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D6 – Puntilla lake to Farewell