We went up the Moose Creek valley yesterday to the oldest cabin used by Rainy Pass Lodge. It is a simple, one room structure with a little pot belly stove, a couple of bunks with foam pads and a coleman cookstove. On the outside is the remains of an old moose shed and the door is locked by putting a chain over a nail. The valley stretches out in front of the cabin in grand fashion; surrounded by mountains and with a small lake directly in front of it, this cabin is definitely one of the more scenic camps.
The route to the moose creek cabin was not as straight forward as the routes to the other camps we have traveled to. We got off the Iditarod trail soon after leaving the lodge and made a sharp right (North) to head up the valley. The first obstacle was crossing the Happy River. The river was in good shape, with thick ice and good snow cover but we had to go down a steep hill and then back up the other side in order continue towards the cabin. Ben only dumped the sled he was hauling three times, I got stuck once and Travis got stuck twice before we had all four of us and all our sleds down to the river, over the ice and up the other side. And this was only the beginning.
Once we passed the Happy River we traveled through the moose creek valley, over and through a lot of willow and alder brush and over moose creek and several of its tributaries. I was following Travis over a small creek when the sled he was hauling slipped into the creek and toppled over. The water was only about a foot deep but we all hurried to save the sled and the horse feed he was carrying before it all slid into the icy water. We managed to stop the snow machine from sliding into the water, get his cargo out of the water, and back into the sled with out anyone getting wet. Success! One problem, Ben and I were still on the other side. So we scouted out a new place to cross and followed Stevie’s advice and gunned it across. I could see the ice falling out from beneath my sled as I raced across. But we all made it with all our cargo and kept heading in the direction of the cabin. We will worry about getting home later.
Once we got to the cabin we cut some firewood, ate our lunches in the cool mountain air and got our machines stuck in the deep soft snow more than a couple of times. The journey home was uneventful and fast due to our now empty cargo sleds and a broken trail. Upon returning home, none of us even had the energy for a game of cribbage.