Rounding Ptarmigan Point. After flailing away for nearly 30 minutes at a long, deep drift on the west shore of Lake Fraser, the White Pass Rotary Fleet finally rounds Ptarmigan Point and heads for Log Cabin, just 2 miles ahead. The Ptarmigan Point sequence was one of most frustrating for the visiting photographers, because it was one of the few spots on the run from Fraser to Log Cabin where we could not see the train. We could hear the rotary running and stalling out time after time, and we could also hear the whistle signals as the train alternately backed up and charged forward....but there were no photos to be had of this most interesting assault. If only we'd had a drone....or better yet, JetRanger! Fortunately, we did manage this sequence as the train finally rounded the point, still throwing a nice plume of snow and ice.
The ultimate goal for this day was to reach the station at Bennett, at MP 40, but the drift that required so much effort to breach had consumed a lot of water and there was none available ahead. Time was becoming a problem as well. The crew would go "dead" in just 3 hours. The train did reach Log Cabin and did indeed press on for Bennett, but just a few miles short of it's goal, both the water and the crew time begin running out. The crew on the train had visions of finishing up the line-clearing today, but fate intervened. The rotary fleet ended up running back to Fraser, getting there just as the crew turned into pumpkins. As soon as the decision was made to return to Fraser, the railroad dispatched buses out of Skagway, to pick up both the crews and the photographers. On board the bus back to Skagway, our railroad host, Doreen Cooper announced that she had received the "word from God"....meaning Superintendent Hanousek. The new plan was to bus us all back to Fraser in the morning, and the trains would head north to Bennett to finish the job. We had expected 3 days of operation and we were going for four! As the beer commercial says: "It don't get no better than this!"