Dogs and ponies

The Quest

blogHey loves,

remember me? It’s me Archimedesthe most handsome pup in the whole yard. I am a big boy now. Just wanted to let you know, the Quest is on it’s way.

The Yukon Quest is a tough 1000 mile long sled dog race between Whitehorse (Yukon) and Fairbanks (Alaska). The race is on, no matter what the weather throws at the mushers and the dogs. Just 21 courageous teams signed up this year for the adventure, including 5 rookies.

Good luck!

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Dogs and ponies

All is quiet…

Iditarod has moved through Rainy Pass. It’s been a very fast race this year. Some mushers have pushed for long runs and little rest, some camped out at the checkpoints, some went stealth camping in the wilderness to get rest and keep the competition guessing. A few more days and the winner will arrive in Nome. The race goes on, until the last musher reaches the finish, which may be weeks…

In 2014 I was a caretaker at Rainy Pass Lodge, a hunting lodge and Iditarod checkpoint in the Alaska Range. As the crow flies it is about 120 miles to Anchorage. There is no road access to this remote place. Food and supplies are brought in by bush plane, when needed, or when the weather allows.

In the off-season it becomes real quiet there. Less than a handful of staff take care of the horses and the property throughout winter. All that changes in March, when three races come through and bring droves of competitors and spectators, press and support staff to the site. First, it’s the high-octane Iron Dogs, then the human-powered runners, skiers and bikers, and finally the furry stars of the Iditarod sled dog race.

I did not know much about the the sport of dog sledding then. It was an amazing experience. First, I was so surprised how small these dogs were. How could they pull a sled, a musher, and supplies for more than 1000 miles across Alaska? Where did they and the mushers sleep?

The dogs are amazing, so are the mushers. A small community of resilient spirits from all walks of life. Tragedy struck this year, when some of them lost their homes in the Sockeye wildfire. Nevertheless, this could not stop them from participating in this year’s race.

Everybody in this field has a story…

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Dogs and ponies

First musher into Rainy Pass checkpoint

142 miles into the race in less than 24 hours, not much sleep.

Rainy Pass is ahead of the teams, the highest point on the Iditarod.

In fast race years the first teams arrive in the dark, before sunrise. This year they get to see the mountains surrounding Puntilla Lake in full splendor. Nic Petite was first this year into Rainy Pass Lodge. Good luck.

iditarod

Iditarod 2014 – Puntilla Lake

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Dogs and ponies

It’s on!

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Iditarod is on!

It’s pretty amazing to see how anxious and motivated these sled dogs are. Maybe they won’t jump as high a week into the race, but running is in their blood.

The mushers? Not so sure. Probably happy to be done with training and having left the circus in Anchorage behind. They also know, what to expect. Long days and nights, little sleep, trying to keep their team healthy, resting just enough, and making good decisions along the way.

Will it be a hat trick for Dallas Seavey, three in a row, or can another musher break his winning streak?

 

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Dogs and ponies

Pooh

“I wonder what Piglet is doing?”
thought Pooh.

“I wish I were there to be doing it, too.”

A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


Hello. My name is Pooh.

Something is up. We have not been running for a few days. We haven’t seen snow flakes falling from the sky for a few weeks. I believe the season is over. So sad. Just when I got into it. I had a shoulder problem for a few weeks, so I could not run with my friends in February. And I so love to run. I may look a little chubby, but don’t let this fool you. I may be quiet around the house, but boy put me on the line and I am becoming “jumping” Pooh. I think the most fun is in the front. Following my musher with good-looking Johnny Cash on my side, that’s just great.

Well, now it’s back to the off-season. Less food, higher temps, rain, sun… Not sure what to do with myself. Ahh, there is always food. I love to eat. I could eat way more than what they put in my bucket. Then, I would look like a sausage. Can’t have that. Oh, well.

I am a bit sad that my musher is leaving in a few weeks. We got along well. He was no trouble. In the beginning I chewed a few neck lines out of excitement. Well, he seemed annoyed, so I let that go.

Man, I can’t wait for winter. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

How many days til Christmas? 266? Ugghhhhh…

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Viking

Viking-2

Hey, I am Viking, one of the strongest wheel dogs in the yard.

What?

I don’t look like a sled dog?

I have heard that a million times.

They always make fun of me.

I am an Alaskan Husky! Like everybody else in the yard. Just because I look like a Lab…

Anyways, I am even keeled. Not much that bothers me. I like our new guy. He always gives me a bit extra. I think it’s because I show my excitement, when the food arrives. Yep, I am a good eater. I have a thick fur. I am in good health. Life is good.

See my buddy Tiger in the background? We ran a lot together at the beginning of the season. He is blind! I have been very patient with him. He is so unruly at the start of each run. He barks and jerks as soon as he gets put on the gang line. Well he can’t see, so he thinks we are going to run any time now, even there is nobody in the sled yet. So, Tiger gets very anxious and that’s when he snaps at me, which our musher does not appreciate. So, for the last couple of weeks I have been running by myself. I like that. I have more space in the back and nobody is pulling the gang line sideways.

Viking

Last year I did bite another musher. I don’t actually remember why I snapped. Hey, it happened. Now they don’t let the kids getting close to me. Oh well. I have been good all year.

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