Ice Road Bikers
04 March 2018 | Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
In the spring of 1995, I was a brash (and very green) dog musher, finishing up a winter's work leading short dog sledding trips in northern Minnesota. The owner of the dogs, Arleigh, was heading to Arctic to lead a several week-long expeditions into the barren lands and wondered if I would be interested in helping out.
I was, of course, and four or five days later, we were driving on the ice road across the MacKenzie River eventually stopping in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. On the shore of Great Slave Lake, we loaded all of our gear, food, harnesses and 34 sled dogs into a Twin Otter ski plane and flew 150 miles farther north to the mouth of the Hoar Frost River. The experience would prove to be one of the more defining moments of my life. With it's rich history of exploration, and it's proximity to the Arctic, Yellowknife has always epitomized true wilderness to me.
Six years later, in 2001, I was lucky enough to pass through Yellowknife again. But it was only for a few hours - a connection en route farther north to Resolute and eventually Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island. Still, it was enough time to firmly plant the location in my mind as a place I would need to come back to.
It has been nearly two decades now since my last visit and I'm more than just a little excited to be back. A little space opened up in my schedule so I called my old friend from northern Minnesota, Adam, and asked if he wanted to join me on a Fat Bike adventure. He runs a mountain bike trail building business and was able to move a few projects around to join me.
So here we are having just arrived in Yellowknife this evening after a day and a half of packing and getting gear ready. Our plan is to shuttle out to the start of a network of ice roads near Bechoko and ride north from there. It's not a complicated plan, but we don't have all the details totally worked out either. Of course, that's part of the adventure as well and we are looking forward to exploring more and seeing more of this wild land from our bikes.
Tomorrow, we'll reassemble the bikes and do a test run on the ice road near Old Town where we are staying.
Image: Adam, pulling one of our Fat Bikes through YZF in the Evoc travel bag.