2002 was the year of the legendary July snowstorm. You can read the details in earlier posts. Check out some more pictures from that year that I haven't posted before.
The obligatory pre-race photo in Nabesna just a couple minutes before the race began. The temperature was in the low 40's and it was raining steadily. The first section of running water to float is just five miles down the trail from the start so several people have saved time by blowing up their packrafts in advance.
The racers taking off down the initial trail from the starting line. Everything was soaking wet after pouring rain all night and the trail was boggy. The first five miles was relatively easy going though compared to terrain later in the race.
Floating the Nabesna River. The weather hadn't improved much at all by the time we started floating. The low light made it difficult to find the Cooper Creek takeout on the opposite bank. If you look carefully, you can see someone floating in the distance in the center of the picture.
After the hypothermic float in the Nabesna River, we set a strong pace up Cooper Creek to warm up. This picture is taken a good distance up the Cooper Creek drainage. The temperature is dropping steadily, the rain is turning into sleet and we can see the snow in the background on the hills. Adrenaline is still running extremely high even several hours into the race. Typical strategy is to walk through the stream in a straight line up the drainage to save time and distance. Getting wet doesn't matter because you're already soaked anyway.