Cripple - Ruby
This leg is now a manageable 65 to 70 miles and can probably be covered by some teams in one leap. It is all on well-defined trails (mostly old mining roads) and there are no surprises other than some inevitable overflow and glaciering. They should expect to spend 8 to 12 hours on the trail depending on whether you camp inroute. For reference, this leg is a bit less than the run from Rohn to Nikolai, which is about 74 miles. As on the previous run, you must be careful not to run too far without stopping on this leg--it's just long enough to cause problems.
From the runway, the trail will head up through the old Poorman town site and will begin to follow old mining roads. Shortly it will drop down the valley of Fourth of July Creek to the Sulatna River on a long downgrade. It's about 15 miles from the airstrip to the river, depending on the exact routing. After crossing the old steel bridge over the Sulatna River, the trail runs up an old mining road like the one from Takotna to Ophir for 50 miles to Ruby.
The terrain is generally wooded rolling hills for the entire route, with black-spruce taiga (Russian for "land of little sticks") interspersed with heavier forests on better-drained slopes and in river bottoms, as well as the inevitable open swamp and muskeg areas. The road from Sulatna Crossing to Ruby has some moderate hills with long but relatively easy grades, with a few excursions to timberline. Scattered overflow is common all along the leg, as are short glaciered and drifted sections, especially on the road to Ruby.