Thursday, April 09, 2009

From the Yukon to... the YUKON

"You put the Magic into me. We make Magic when we do what we do..." - Billy Squier
Hey y'all,
Nice to be back at our Oasis on Annie lake. Amazing how many beautiful pups/yearlings we have at present. They are all out of Annie or our retired leader Omen. Fun time of year to train up the younsters. Always enjoyable to see what puppy predicaments they can get themselves into as they 'twist away' in harness- so much energy. Living within a mountain range affords us the opportunity to travel on decent trails even late into the spring. The high ridges provide lots of shade to keep the snow firm though a bit of soft snow for 'wallowing in' can be decent training too.
Considering the skin on my hands and feet is still shedding, I'll wait a day or so before heading back out into the bush. We need to plan our May school tour first -nearly 20 some schools so far. From Chicago to Buffalo, Conn. to New York, Jersey, Virginia, Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and let us not forget Atlanta- we`ll be everywhere. Tamra and I have a deal that if there are more than 25 groups I can bring 2 dogs instead of just one. (keep your fingers crossed- airline travel is expensive these days) The documentary we did during the Quest with ARD, Germany`s version of BBC is Easter weekend, 85 million viewing audience. Wonder what my pa would have thought- hope to make it over to Deutchland within the year if possible.
Anyways... Trip back from Fort Yukon was pleasant- no vehicle breakdowns for once. Last week my truck broke down at the border. The part to fix it was only $40 but the towing bill for 90 miles to Tok was nearly one thousand-yikes! We had 3 or 4 towing bills this season, I spent alot of time pondering `Deep Thoughts`. Figured this might be a sign that the Great Almighty doesn`t want us wasting so much time travelling to and fro. The drive to Whitehorse can be a bit bumpy at times yet the scenery more than makes up for any bruises. Gorgeous terrain, one of the loveliest ways to appreciate life that I could ever imagine. Full moon ahead, sunset in the rearview mirrow, shaded mtn. ridgelines- is that a Caribou on the road or Elk, maybe a moose, bison or bear- up here we see it all. We`re looking to purchase some land just outside of Tok this summer to save on travelling so often. Funny part of this trip was every spot we stopped in folks came up to introduce themselves and congratulate us on our season. At the border all of the Patrol people even came out to shake my hand, receive one of our kennel cards and wish us well. It was surreal. Like I told Lance last week, `I might be the most well-known unsuccessful dogmusher in the history of our sport.` Sure, I might not have won a race . However, I`m more than satisfied knowing that our Dawgs have the fastest time ever on the Quest Trail. They can give `Hugh Neff` a 2 hour penalty though no one is fooled about who the true `Winning Dogteam` of the race was.
Success can be defined in numerous ways. All I know is that I, once again, have the incredible opportunity this year to show others not only the beauty of our lovely pooches but also the grandeur and majesty of Alaska`s Greatland as well as its neighbor, the Yukon. Most importantly I hope that all of you kids out there realize (no matter what age you might be) that if a simple-minded cityboy can achieve all that I have over the p√Ęst decade up here in the Northern Wilds just imagine what you might be capable of. Believe and you shall achieve, as Mr. Wizard might say. I promise that we`ll begin figuring out the exact details of our `Welcome to the Doghouse` school tour which will begin 1st week of May. Right now, however, I have to head out to the dogyard to scoop poop- a musher`s fun never ends. Peace, Hugh


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