Outdoor Briefs

Posted: Friday, January 12, 2001

Couple rescued after being stranded in cabin

ANCHORAGE -- Two weekend campers were rescued from their weathered-in cabin on the Kenai Peninsula after a storm dumped about 3 feet of wet snow and held them captive in the Chugach Mountains.

Co-workers reported Daniel Cheyette, 31, and Rachel Cheyette, 28, of Anchorage, overdue when they didn't return to work Monday after a planned trip to a U.S. Forest Service cabin at Crescent Lake, the Alaska State Troopers said.

The couple and a husky named Matanuska and a chow-shepherd mix named Mesa hiked the Carter Lake Trail to a the cabin Saturday, Rachel Cheyette said. The weather was clear and the trail had little snow so they left their skis in the car but took their snowshoes, she said. They planned to hike out Sunday.

The weather changed by the time the Cheyettes and their dogs arrived at the cabin. They tried hiking out early Sunday but turned back after running into whiteout conditions.

Troopers were unable to search by air until Tuesday because of low clouds and snow, officials said. A foot and snowmachine search was suspended because of avalanche danger, troopers said.

Troopers finally reached the Cheyettes on Tuesday, and they were taken out by helicopter.

Trail conditions improve; race to proceed as scheduled

BETHEL -- The Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race is on as scheduled.

Organizers met Tuesday to make a final decision about the 300-mile race from Bethel to Aniak and back.

Trail conditions have improved enough to allow the event to proceed as planned beginning Jan. 19, the race committee said.

Glare ice, open holes on the Kuskokwim River and unseasonably warm conditions had organizers concerned about running the race by the scheduled start date.

But they said the trail looks good, thanks to some recent subzero temperatures and fresh snow.

The trail committee said it made the decision after flying the route Tuesday and having local search and rescue groups go upriver by snowmachine.

Several segment of the route will be changed for safety reasons, however.

Trail changed for Klondike 300 sled dog race

BIG LAKE -- Trail conditions have forced organizers of the Klondike 300 sled dog race to change the course of the race.

The 300-mile race normally is run from the Klondike Inn to Petersville, but the destination this year will be Finger Lake. The length of the race remains the same.

Race secretary Bob Spears said the switch was made because even though there is enough snow around Petersville, there is running water under the snow.

''We can't be running the dogs on that,'' he said Sunday.

Ten mushers have paid their $450 entry fees to compete in the race from Jan. 20-21. Last year's purse was $11,200 with a first-place prize of $4,800.

Spears said interest in the race is particularly strong this year because mushers are afraid they won't get in enough races to qualify for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in early March. An earlier qualifier was postponed because of warm weather, he said.

Iditarod mushers Rick Mackey of Nenana and Mark May of North Pole have signed up to run the race. Last year's winner was Charlie Boulding of Manley. Aaron Burmeister of Nome came in second.

Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week

Gov. Tony Knowles has proclaimed January 14-20 Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week.

Snowmobiles are important to Alaskans for recreation, transportation, subsistence and work in search and rescue. The Alaska State Snowmobile Association and its affiliate members are providing leadership in educating the snowmobiling public as to safe and responsible snowmobiling.

The mountains of Alaska are avalanche country. When traveling in avalanche terrain, the ASSA urges all riders to be properly trained and equipped. Carry an avalanche beacon, probe and shovel and know how to use them. Carry a survival kit that includes food, clothing, tools and extra parts.

When traveling, be on the lookout for open water and thin ice on rivers, lakes and marshes. Be courteous to all backcountry users. Be environmentally aware. Do not litter or damage trees and vegetation. Don't drink and ride. Have fun, be prepared, respect others and return alive.

--Clarion staff and Associated Press reports

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