Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Gin Gin 200 Trail Report---December 23, 2008.

As soon as you arrive check-in for your parking slot.

Race start is 11:00 am, Saturday, Dec. 27th. following the 8:00 am mushers meeting. Women's division starts first in 2 minute intervals. We will break 1/2 hour, then start the Men.
Teams will be brought to the start line with snowmobile support.
Race Director: Zoya DeNure
Head Veterinarian: Jeanne Olson
Race Marshall: Theresa Daily
Judges: John Schandelmeier, Zoya DeNure
Trail/Logistics: John Schandelmeier

The Gin Gin trail leaves Paxson and follows the Denali Highway until Milepost 30.. Expect windy conditions from milepost 7-20. There is wind-pack and a bit of asphalt showing in spots from Mile 9-Mile 15. However, there is good snow to travel on and plenty to hook down everywhere. Follow the highway signs! Moose at 26 mile that like the trail. Teams will depart the Denali on the mountain loop at mile 30.8---turn right at the (pink) markers. You are in open country with the potential for drifting. Deep snow off the trail and overflow in spots. There is potential for punchy trail for later teams. We had to snowshoe some of this. It is 19 miles to the first checkpoint at Maclaren River. The halfway point of this loop is midway thru a large lake. (7 Mile Lake). You are back on the Denali at Milepost 40---2 miles from the checkpoint. When you reach Maclaren---do not cross the bridge; turn right at the markers and check-in under the bridge, you will be directed to parking. You have a 6-hour lay-over plus time differential.
Teams depart Maclaren down the Maclaren. It will be 110 miles before you see another checkpoint. 20 miles down the Maclaren you will begin into the Maclaren canyon. Ice bridges and a short section of trail though a slough with a bit of brush. There is a cabin 25 miles down--the trail goes by this cabin, but there is open water in front of it so you would have to walk around the open lead to get to it. However, it is available in an emergency. Several miles below the cabin you will begin into a jumble ice area. Watch for moose. We did back sloughs where-ever possible and pulled a drag, but watch for cracks and sled getters...... About 6 miles of rougher ice. The Maclaren runs out at 45 mile. Turn right, (North), up the Susitna River. Absolutely perfect going. 10 miles up the Sue, a short halfway thru this run, is a pile of firewood for your heating enjoyment..... Another 23-24 miles gets you back to the Denali Highway-- approximately 8 miles below the Denali Highway bridge you may begin to encounter windblown areas with drifting and overflow. At the Denali, go under the bridge, take an immediate right up the boat ramp onto the Denali---37 miles to Maclaren. You are at milepost 79, Denali Highway.
From this point to Milepost 60 you will encounter as many moose as you will ever see on a dogrun. The snow is good, but not so deep that they tend to challenge for the trail. Use caution and give them room if you can. The trail on the Denali is well-packed and fast. You leave the timber at Mile 65 and are back in the open all of the way to Maclaren. Approximately 1/2 mile before Maclaren you will turn off of the Denali to the right---this takes you back down to the river and parking for your 2nd 6-hour lay-over.
Final 42 miles is down the Denali back to Paxson.

The weather forecast for the Gin Gin weekend is; cloudy with light snow--daytime temperatures-0-minus 15, Night temps. minus 15-30. Expect it warmer in the high areas, colder at the Sue and lower Maclaren.

Watch for snowmobile traffic on the Denali; flash your headlamp at approaching machines and at those coming up behind you.

We need one more handler for the dropped dog area in Paxson; if you are interested please e-mail.

John Schandelmeier