Monday, April 24, 2006

A few shots of Dozer - one of our superstars. He gets to ride in the cab when we're on the road because he eats his way out of every dog box. Posted by Picasa

On the road to Iditarod. Hugh the rock star and Dozer looking over his shoulder wondering when it's his turn to drive. Posted by Picasa

Shyela and Dozer sharing a house. Shyela is a bit of a flirt and spends each night with a different companion. Posted by Picasa

How we spent the weekend

This weekend we took advantage of the high winds and good trails to take some teams out on the lake. Hugh took 4 teams out on Saturday and I took a team out on Sunday. The trail was a bit wet in spots but overall it was solid. There's been warm temps. lately so the snow we had last weekend is melting fast but the winds kept it cool enough to prevent the dogs from overheating.

This is Annie and Watson leading the second team back up from the lake.

This is Holly and her year-old litter. Great dogs - possibly Hugh's sprint team next year.

This is me coming down the lake. Chaney sees Hugh with the camera and gives a quick smile.

Then the rest of yesterday was spent getting wood for next winter. It's not all fun and games living in our doggy world - there's lots of day to day work involved. It's a good time to get wood - we beat the rush, there's no bugs out, and its not too hot.

This is Hugh unloading some wood and stacking it in neat piles.

Afterwards we relaxed with dinner, and some quiet time. Obviously Colby is waiting for us to turn the TV on so she can watch a movie. Or maybe she just likes looking at herself. Don't ask about the plastic covering the DVD player. Let's just say there's been a couple of accidents that don't mix well with electronics.

Monday, April 17, 2006

It's Winter Again!

So Hugh finally came home on Friday bringing with him a huge amount of snow. Actually he barely made it home. He left Fairbanks on Thursday night and by Delta Junction it started to snow. He slept for a couple of hours near the border but decided to cut his rest short because the snow was really coming down. He ended up getting home around 1 in the afternoon on Friday and at that point there was over a foot of snow of the ground. The snow was melting as it landed on the main roads but on Annie Lake Road it was deep and he barely made it through with his loaded down truck of 22 dogs, 3 sleds, equipment, and an empty trailer with another 20 hole dogbox on. After he got in and we'd put away all the dogs it continued to snow the rest of the day and all night. We woke up on Saturday morning with over 3 feet of snow on the ground!!! - more than we've had all year. Before the snow on Friday we were down to mud and all the snow had gone in the dogyard.

This photo is from Thursday April 13 on my way to work stopping to let a few caribou go by.

This next photo was taken on Saturday April 15. We had to dig a couple of dogs out of their houses where the snow had covered up most of their doors.

Even though Hugh was sick he decided to take a few of his bigger males that have been sitting for awhile, out for a run to break out a trail on the lake. I had started the trail with snowshoes but after a few hundred feet the dogs were so tired Hugh let them cut out and ran down the road back home. I guess we'll have to find a snowmachine.

Mahoosic, who just got home after doing the Quest, Iditarod, Salmon Lake Nome race, and the Kobuk 440 all in the last two months decided he'd rather just spend some time on the couch. I think he missed his favorite spot.

We spent Saturday shovelling out the driveway and clearing off the roof of the house - quite the workout, but we figured it would be easier while the snow was still light. The dogs are all happy to be home and our new additions Storm and Scrappy are fitting in well. Currently it's still snowing lightly with what looks like another storm front coming in. The forecast is for wind and warm temps though so we'll see. I don't really trust weather forecasts now though as they only called for 5 to 10 cm for Friday. Apparently though that's about all downtown Whitehorse and those on the Mayo road (other side of town) got. Hugh's happy because now he has a chance to do some puppy training with a sled for awhile.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Our man Flame Posted by Picasa

Here's Sampson leading the team to the finish line of the Quest last year. Posted by Picasa

Putting booties on Sampson Posted by Picasa

Kobuk 440 flashback

Greetings from Fairbanks!

Flew back here from Kotzebue with the pooches a few days ago. Unfortunately the flight was overloaded so we've had to stick around here a few extra days waiting for our sleds and racing gear. Feels like Miami, plus 30, compared to the wind chilled sub zero temps. on the coast. The dawgs are all happy and rested up once again though Omen is in heat and the boys have been a bit 'wild' of late. Much like any long-distance mushing event the 440 was a rollercoaster, not only the terrain we covered but emotionally as well. The team was a smorgasborg of Quest and Iditarod dogs as well as our beloved 10 year old leader Sampson who would be enjoying his 'retirement run'. Mother Nature was quite kind this year with temps. hovering around zero, snow flurries as well- dog friendly weather. The race rules stipulated that only 12 pooches were allowed per team so our remaining dogs participated in the Arctic Circle Championships, a 3 day, 25 mile heat race- Dempsey Woods and Mike Jayne were using them. Finishers for the Kobuk race included Flame and Titan in lead, followed in swing by Sally and Blondie, Nova, Colby, Mahoosic and Maestro rounded out the squad. Amazing to think that a third of our 23 competitive racing dogs this year were sprinters last season. Most of them competed in 6 or 7 mid and long-distance events with Flame finishing every one. As they say, "A good dog is a good dog." The average trail miles covered this season for most of these kids was over 4 thousand miles- good food+ good attitude= an enjoyable trip with enlightening entertainment. Former Iditarod champ Joe May was right when he said, "Give me a happy ten dog team and I could travel around the world." These northern beasts spirit is simply amazing, leaves one in tears on a daily basis as we saunter on down then trail heading off into the unknown. It's interesting that the four dropped dogs were all large males: Dozer and Piccalo, Darkie and finally Sampson. All of these males had been sitting for a month while I was racing the Iditarod so I was quite impressed that they all made it between 250- 400 miles.

A special thanks to Jesse and Alisa Guzman and the Jayne family who took care of our dropped Iditarod dogs while we figured out a way to fly them to the coast. It's always tough to drop a pooch from the squad but their health and well being shall always be priority #1. Sampson, our largest, 65 pd. dawg, is from Lance Mackey who eventually won this year's event. Congrats Coldfoot Brother! We'll be heading towards Whitehorse later this afternoon, it's about a 14 hour drive. I'm sure Tamra can't wait for our return. She has been heroically caring for our 40 remaining pooches as well as working her full time job. We're still hoping to travel down to the 'lower 48' in early May as we go from school to school showing others what a beautiful and unique lifestyle we enjoy up here in the NORTH. Presentations include a short video, chance to view numerous pix and trophies, q and a session and most importantly- a chance to meet Sampson! Posters, pictures, ball caps and t-shirts will be available for purchase as well. For more info. contact us at 867 456-7714. Looking forward to seeing as many of you as is possible.

Enjoy the view, Hugh
p.s.: A more detailed account of the 440 and Iditarod will be featured in our 1st novel which shall hopefully be completed by this fall.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thanks Candy! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kobuk 440

Well the Kobuk 440 just got underway a couple of hours ago in Kotzebue, AK. 19 teams all started together in a mass start. Hugh decided last week to do the long race instead of the sprint race - better training for the dogs and the trail looks good this year. Some great competition this year. Notable names entered are Jeff King, Mitch Seavey, Martin Buser, Paul Gebhardt, John Baker, Ed Iten, Lance Mackey, Aaron Burmeister, Ken Anderson, Darrin Nelson, and Gerry Sousa. Hugh has a good looking team and hopes to be competitive. The 12 dogs starting the race are: Titan, Nova, Blaze, Colby, Maestro, Blondie, Piccalo, Dozer, Darkie, Mahoosic, Sampson and Sally. Updates should be at throughout the weekend with finishers arriving on Sunday.

In other news it appears spring is starting to appear here in Whitehorse. We have a combination of ice and mud going on. The days are getting longer but the ice on the lake looks like it could be there until June.