Jimmy, Josh and I set out for Valdez with a pair of snow machines Thursday.  It was dumping snow in Anchorage when we left, and with the highway being unploughed most of the way it was rather slow going.  Then just as we were pulling in to Kenny Lake, our destination for the night, a wheel fell off the snow machine trailer.  At the time my initial impression was that it was lucky timing, we were within 100 yards of our destination and had the wheel sheared off at any other time on the drive dealing with it would have been extremely uncomfortable.  It was easy to imagine the trailer, sleds or car careening off the road had it happened elsewhere.  As it was we simply pushed the trailer off the road, snow machined to the cabin, and began drinking whiskey with the plan of fixing the wheel in the morning and pushing on for Valdez.

The next morning after having better assessed the scene, we realized the loose wheel had machined the rim apart along the drive, but that we were relatively lucky as we’d only need new bolts in order to get mobile.  Jimmy and I went to the local “country store” in search of some bolts which unfortunately was late opening and then didn’t have the exact parts we were looking for.  We returned with some new bolts and made an effort to put the trailer back together before realizing it was futile and that we were best off pushing on to Valdez without the trailer, doing some ski touring, and returning with the proper parts.

The trip played out like a reintroduction to all the Valdez stereotypes.  Friday was a breif sample of the longer length of runs that are possible when it’s sunny.  Saturday we got lost above giant cliffs after being  tricked by a sucker hole, and recovered to ski a fun chute before finding excellent long powder runs on some alder slopes.  Sunday we were forced to make do with high winds, blowing snow, and zero visibility, which kept us from skiing, but because we’d retrieved the trailer Saturday we were able to pass the day with my snow machine and Josh’s kite.  Graham was granted access too an old cabin short hike from the road (pictured both above and at this link) so each night we hung out around the stove, stuffed ourselves on moose or sausage, and drunk a bunch of whiskey.  A fantastic fun weekend in Valdez, I can’t wait to go back.