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Stage 494 – Grizzly Lake to Mentasta Lodge

This is an interesting stage because one minute you’re chasing the Cooper River back to its source, and the next minute it’s like “Where did the Cooper River Go?” But the good news is there’s fifty percent more descending than climbing and what climbing there is, is separated out into a bunch of lumpy lumps.

The rollout is uphill, carrying on from where the finish of stage 493 left off. That kicks on for two miles but the top of that climb is actually the highest elevation of the stage: two miles in and the big boy’s already in the bag: if only it was that simple.

By six miles the Tok Cutoff Road is down at the junction of the Copper River and the Slana River: the Slana flows into the Copper as both head downstream. The point where they merge is where Nabesna Road heads south east into the mountains, eventually ending up in Nabesna itself at four thousand feet.

Route 1 now follows the Slana River upstream, the road maintaining a steady north easterly while the river meanders all over the place in roughly the same direction. There are many undulations, namely at eight miles, fourteen miles, fifteen miles, seventeen miles and twenty miles: those are each of the summits with climbs and descents on either side, typically half a mile at a time.

There are no communities to report: this is the middle of nowhere remember. But there are river crossings at twenty one miles (the Stana River) and at twenty two miles (Stana Slough). Stana Slough is the crossing that sets up the finish approaching Mabel Creek, the crossing of which will have to wait until the start of stage 495.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 814 feet / 248 metres

RGT Magic Road: dIMuXUEtxF8V

Total distance: 22.06 mi
Max elevation: 2699 ft
Min elevation: 2176 ft
Total climbing: 814 ft
Total descent: -1198 ft

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