It was a hard day for going anywhere, let alone up the Redstone Valley and over Iviisaq Pass. My Eskimo buddy Clarence Wood and I plowed through loose, rolling drifts from the previous day’s blizzard, our snowmachines dragging basket sleds loaded with gas, gear and grub, bound for a week in the upper Noatak. Barely making headway on my long-track Arctic Cat, I leaned forward over my skis, teeth gritted as the engine howled. Clarence, with his shorter, heavier machine, was having even more trouble. He lagged behind—totally uncharacteristic Clarence behavior— then stopped. I doubled back to where he stood by his half-buried rig. “No use, buddy,” he shrugged. “Need to drop our sleds and break trail.” People who have never driven a snowmachine might have the impression they float like boats, and cross-country travel amounts to riding some sort of mechanized flying carpet. But anyone who’s driven long distances…