A friend of ours has a condo up at Big Lake, about an hour north of Anchorage, and she invited us up for a day of snow-machining (snow-mobiling to the rest of the world). Wearing three layers of trousers, five layers of vests, jerseys and jackets, thick socks with toe-warmers, balaclavas, and hand-warmers in our gloves, we set off for an epic day of snow-machining. Daniel rode his own machine, and I hopped around from person to person and rode double.
We literally climbed onto the machines in the driveway at the house and set off over lakes and roads and through trails and woods. The more experienced members of our party reached speeds of 80 or 90 miles per hour over the lakes!
We stopped frequently to rest and to admire the beautiful Alaskan wild, and of course, to share a few beers! Our longest stop was along the Iditarod trail where we watched the mushers coming past after the official re-start in Willow. It was quite fun to send them off on their two-week adventure with loud cheers from the sidelines.
Snow-maching is a deceptively physical sport, and the trails are very bumpy. Daniel and I had a couple of close calls, but fortunately the machines are pretty robust. We did manage to veer off the path into some trees at one stage, and had a real challenge pulling the machine out while thigh-deep in snow!
It was a beautiful, clear, sunny day to be out, and we got to see some truly amazing Alaskan scenery on our ride. We felt again just what a privilege it is to be here. The Alaskans are so generous and friendly and they really want to show off their state. We were tired and aching at the end of our nine-hour ride, but we enjoyed every single second!