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Iditarod or bust

Peace River, Fort St John BC IMG_7474.JPG

Roughing itIMG_7477.JPG

And a homemade moose meat pie for dinner.
I am living a very blessed life. IMG_7478.JPG

Currently evaluating weather for today. Some snow showers in the area.


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Jeff is providing the entertainment on a rainy Sunday...

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Spending the day in Fort St John. Was IMC this am with pretty good snow. By the time it cleared up, it was too late to launch for Whitehorse which is a 8 hour+/- day. Would have run out of daylight. Overnighting in Fort Nelson or Watson Lake is less desirable. Weather tomorrow is better but still has its challenges as expected. Hope to make it to Whitehorse by tomorrow evening.
After that it’s a crapshoot. Looks like a pretty strong system is about to hit Anchorage early Tuesday. Might be pinned down in Whitehorse for a few nights. Input and thoughts regarding this weather and getting through the mountains is welcome and appreciated.

Working on a few plane items today. Blew melted snow out of pitot.
Did a provisioning run to Canadian Tire. Wow, what a great store! Purchased a heated seat pad for rear seater next week. Also purchased a 110v battery blanket. Installing both now.


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Spending the day in Fort St John. Was IMC this am with pretty good snow. By the time it cleared up, it was too late to launch for Whitehorse which is a 8 hour+/- day. Would have run out of daylight. Overnighting in Fort Nelson or Watson Lake is less desirable. Weather tomorrow is better but still has its challenges as expected. Hope to make it to Whitehorse by tomorrow evening.
After that it’s a crapshoot. Looks like a pretty strong system is about to hit Anchorage early Tuesday. Might be pinned down in Whitehorse for a few nights. Input and thoughts regarding this weather and getting through the mountains is welcome and appreciated.
Weather permitting, my choice would be to stay out of the mountains, away from any ocean generated weather. Ft. St. John to Ft. Nelson then direct Watson Lake. This route will keep you away from the high rocks and twisty valleys around the north end of the mountain range. It may be a few more miles, but less hazardous. There used to be good hotels in Ft. Nelson, if needed.
 
Here's a NWS Prognostic discussion for March 1st on. It's updated daily so the dialog will evolve: https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=CRH&product=PMD&issuedby=AK

Basically we are approaching March's typical wx pattern. Periodic ridges and troughs migrating SW to NE across mainland Alaska with coastal winds and precipitation. You will note how that pattern repeats itself every 5-7 days.

For Interior Alaska residents and pilots it's the "Rabbit Time". Lots of sun and wind from the NE (High north/Low south), with overwintering cave dwellers coming out to see what's going on. Expect some odd behavior as the month progresses. Sun-wind-and still cold has an effect on winter's zombies.

Gary
 
Would you please be so kind as to post your N number so we can all follow along with your flight? This is a great undertaking you've got going on and I suspect the vast majority of this list is behind you 100% - and would love as much info as possible. If posting your number makes you nervous, I certainly understand and wouldn't blame you at all. But I know I'd sure like to follow along and I bet there's plenty of others here who would as well.

Keep up the great work - and stay safe!

Note - good on you for making the "no go" decision. I'm a big believer that people need to be congratulated for making that decision - in the hopes that it will be easier to make going forward for everyone. Too many folks let their egos put them in unnecessary risk. Being able to overcome the natural desire to "get on with it" is an accomplishment in humanity. I applaud you!
 
Or maybe your inreach page. Again I can certainly understand if you prefer not to make that public. Lots of us fully behind you and wishing we were along.
 
Another thing about flying in and around those mountains. I have seen on several occasions when flying in good weather through a pass, then when rounding a bend locally generated weather socks in the pass forcing a 180. It may only be socked in for less than a mile. don't be tempted .. it may be more. You can easily be squeezed until it's too late to turn around. Avoid the passes if possible.


This is no place for story telling, just believe me.
 
The terrain is much more open going direct toward Watson Lake from Fort Nelson. You end up in a very wide valley, join the Liard River and follow that right back to the highway at Liard River Hot Springs. Depends on how comfortable you are leaving the highway in the winter. The highway is fine with good weather, but it’s kind of narrow and windy for A while..
 
I would be headed strait west, and then consider turning north over the Cassiar. Looking at the snow expected in the pass section west of Ft. Nelson.

The Cassiar is a good follow, and if it is going to be as nice as it looks you can jet over the top of peaks into Wrangell for customs. Then work north.

My one advice is that you don't waste 4 hours of good flying weather. Some trips I have made one leg a day due to weather... waiting for a long stretch usually put me into getting stuck inside storms for days.

Good Luck. call me if you have excess cake to eat!
 
Don't slow down!!

Looking like tomorrow morning you will have good flying today and tomorrow morning into Alaska. Tomorrow afternoon the snow will begin to migrate east.

I would be looking to go direct Whitehorse to ORT, (NORTHWAY), which is about 3 hours. Get customs done there. They might allow the option to continue and check in at Anchorage, but I don't think you will make it that far with the snow.

You will probably make it to Gulkana. If that is your plan let me know, I will call my boss and see about hangar space around for the night there.

Wednesday looks good to get to Anchorage in the morning.

Your other option is to go to Juneau and get customs and go the coast. Tomorrow you could leave either Haines or Juneau, go to Yakutat and fuel again, then Cordova. Cordova to Anchorage might be a question tomorrow night, but again Wednesday looks pretty good early.

If I were waiting this time of year, Gulkana is on the road, so you could more easily get to Anchorage to meet the Mrs. and back to get the plane.

I will suggest you keep Liard stop to minimum time:lol:
 
Made it to Whitehorse. An amazing day of flying.

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Planning an early am departure tomorrow for a 9am customs appointment. Plan to hole up in Tok for a day or while the weather system passes.



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up with the sun and off with the wind

Edit: 11:30 pm and cold air has settled into low areas - -20--30F. That's good as any approaching wx from the SW has to scour that out then maybe overrun to create snow with lowering ceilings and vis. Get into Alaska if Tok looks doable. Delta Junction and east of that Knob Ridge to the west of Tok are the canaries like Tok wx cams.

gary
 
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