Dawson to Nome, on the Yukon

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Ice Biking, Apr 7, 2003.

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  1. Ice Biking

    Ice Biking Guest

    Extreme bikers undertake strange, historic journey CHALLENGE: Three men hope to duplicate 1900 Gold
    Rush trek by pedaling from Dawson to Nome.

    By DAN DAVIDSON Whitehorse (Yukon) Star

    (Published: April 7, 2003)

    DAWSON CITY, Yukon -- In early March, three adventurers set off from Dawson to recreate a historic
    bicycle trip to Nome.

    The trek was made 103 years earlier by Max Hirschberg and Ed Jesson -- two would-be gold seekers
    traveling independently during an era when bicycles were used for going long distances.

    The journey didn't seem strange to Kevin Vallely, Andy Sterns and Frank Wolf. They have a habit of
    making strange journeys. In various combinations, they have ridden bicycles around the island of
    Java, crossed Canada coast to coast by canoe; sea-kayaked the west coast of Thailand and whitewater
    kayaked in Malaysia.

    They also have a fascination for the North.

    Sterns skied the Serum Trail in Alaska with a friend and raced the Iditarod twice as a musher and
    once followed the trail with Vallely and another fellow on skis. As Vallely tells it, it was the
    stop at Ruby during that last trip in 2000 that introduced them to the tale of Jesson. The story was
    fascinating enough to pursue.

    "We thought we were doing something amazing then, but this was even better," Vallely said.

    Vallely and Wolf chatted at their Dawson headquarters at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in early
    March. Sterns had not yet arrived from Fairbanks.

    They said it was Jesson's memoir that inspired them to travel from their homes in North Vancouver
    and pedal off down the Yukon River on a journey they expected to take them about six weeks.

    "We actually found his diary," said Vallely. "Sure enough, it was a true story. His diary was so
    thorough and good that it was considered one of the best diaries of the Klondike era, period. Also,
    he was inspired enough to take newspapers with him, including papers from Seattle and Dawson."

    Travelers carrying news of other places at the time usually got a warm welcome.

    "When he arrived in Nome ... the city stopped, they took one of the biggest halls in the city, the
    dancers were given the night off, everyone filed in there and they read the newspapers aloud. As a
    result, he became this hero that everybody remembers," said Vallely.

    The trio are taking papers along with them too. They left Dawson on a frigid March 3 and headed into
    a stiff headwind. The route follows the Yukon River to Circle and along the Yukon Flats to Tanana
    and back to Ruby. It then follows the Iditarod Trail to Kaltag, and on to the Bering Sea. From
    there, it's the last stretch to Nome. The trio hopes to arrive in mid-April.

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