Friday, December 28, 2012

On the trails again!

We had a very busy day with a total of nineteen visitors.  Handlers today were Tanner and Jimmy, thank you, guys!!
Our first group of drivers drove four hours to get here.  Three of them drove sleds, Linda, Liz and Ben, doing very very well.
Josefina, age five, took her first turn at driving Grandma Julie's dogs, with Eos pulling her very well.  Fina did a great job!
Jennifer Loomis brought a group of skiiers to meet Navy and we hope to schedule them soon to run dogs.
Julia, Nita and Anna capped off the day bringing homemade peanut butter and fantastic cookies.

Thanks to everyone who made this a great day.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Today we'll groom the trails, very gently, as there is just enough snow for some sled runs, short ones.
There is more than in this photo, but not much.   We have two out of town sled drivers this weekend so we'll do the best we can.  More snow dancing, please.  The dogs are more than ready to run.

Friday, December 21, 2012


While we wouldn't plan a major storm and Christmas preps coinciding, we are happy to have snow cover on the ground.   It was a heavy, wet (high maintenance) snow, but we did manage to get to each pen, fix the gates so we could get in again and the dogs had high spirited free runs, like kids out of school.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December Rains

Sounds like a song, December rains.   The dogs are singing to run.   Photo is last year at this time.
Today we will have rain all day long and we guess that will do in our base, but looks like snow next week.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Copper's Job

Copper has excellent sled dog blood lines and is a veteran of Iditarod (2006).   He came to us as a retiree from Alaska via Utah.  He has a thyroid problem and is medicated for it.  In his heart he is a lead dog, but also , from his breeding way back possibly, he is a herder.  He has appointed himself the kennel herder/guardian/big boss.  He lives in the house, but prefers the porch where he can survey everything.  At night he sleeps next to my bed.  He knows the schedule and keeps us to it.

Yesterday he proved himself beyond expectations.   Lillen, our 16 year old retired leader, who is
deaf and partially blind, slipped her lead on her morning walk.   She looked back at me as if to say,
wow, I'm free.   She took off, as the gee haw command leader that she is, and did not stop.  The 'trail' took her out the driveway and headed for the highway.  No time for me to grab the ATV.  She may be retired but she's a lead sled dog and she was running to WIN.  I must have been the 'team' she was racing.  16 years old and she was winning the race.

Once I sat down so she wouldn't think I was chasing her (if she could even see me). No matter, she kept on rolling; she was on a trail!  I was so afraid in her semiconfused mind that she'd hit the highway toward which she was headed.  I YELLED " Copper, come!" (he had been on his porch bed through the trees and up the hill, not in view).  Next ,I saw his mighty chest came barreling down the driveway, you could almost see his Superman cape.  He was looking at me like, "What can I do?"  He saw Lillen, poured on the steam (maybe he was in race mode, too?),hurtled toward her and gently (as he has learned every morning) headed her off and turned her around.   It was a miracle. I was so afraid for Lillen and I can't run like a sled dog.  But he did and he saved Lillen's life. 

So I'm giving him the highest praise  doing what he does so well, taking care of all of us.  He can still run on sleds, but his guardian job is so important to us.  Every kennel needs a guardian/herder and he is ours.  Thank you, Copper!  Lillen is none the worse for her adventure, probably very happy to have had such a nice run.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making Spirits Bright and Dressing Right with Dogs

It seems like EVERYone wants to go dog sledding.   Is it the Christmas spirit or what that is bringing a request a day and more to our door?  We are happy for the interest in our favorite sport, so keep the requests coming.

Your spirit WILL be brightened when you take a fast and fun ride with our dogs.   You'll be most happy if you're dressed right, too.  Temps can range from ten below to thirty above zero when we're running, so it's important to layer.   Wear a wicking layer next to your skin (anything but cotton, no cotton), wear a layer of wool or fleece over your base, and wear an insulated jacket.  My preference is a pullover parka but any type of winter jacket works for short runs.  On your legs, wear a base layer of wicking underwear covered by insulated or shell water resistant pants.  On your feet , just one pair of wool socks will be plenty.  Hands are sometimes the hardest part to keep warm... we prefer layering with thin fleece gloves (for ease of hooking up dogs) and an over layer of warmer gloves or mittens.  On our head, we like balaclavas as a base layer and a warm hat covering it.   On very cold days we wear a beaver hat as the top layer.  Neck warmers are especially nice as you can turn them around if they get frosted.  If you have a parka with a fur or faux fur rim, that works nicely for wind blockage on colder days.   Down jackets are warm but can be almost too warm, so layer according to the temperature and wind chill.  On your feet, over your warm socks, wear a pair of reliable boots .  You'll want to be able to jump off the sled to run part way up the hills and you'll want your boot toes to not be so thick that they stick in the sled brake.  We like traditional Sorels or also Steger mukluks. 
We keep a supply of hand and foot warmers available as well.   Looking forward to our upcoming guests this winter.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Four to six inches of snow coming on Sunday!  We need it. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sad, but moving along. A new race, The Iron Line.

Missing Apache's great heart, but moving along here with winter activity. 

Uh, I thought this was winter, but it's in the high 40's and foggy and raining... almost all snow has gone, except a few patches.  So we have to start over with a base.

There is a new race coming in January, a two day in Iron River, MI... The Iron Line.   10 dogs, 20 miles, 2 days, pro class;   sport class, 6 dogs, 10 miles, 2 days.   I did ask them if they'd consider a sport class one day.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Apache, 2000 -2012.
A truer, more loyal friend could not be found.   We enjoyed being Grandma to him all of his years.
He entertained us, protected us, played ball with us, accompanied us on walks in all kinds of weather.
He guarded our granddaughter and her family and took his role very seriously.  Never did a dog
do everything as fully as did Apache.
We loved him very much and miss him so much.   On by, Apache, Godspeed!  We love you!

Fog, Rain, Meltdown but we ran

Team One:  Leaders, Buffy, Ruthie;  Swing, Eos, Navy, Wheel, Kiddo.

Team Two:   Leaders, Buffy, Ruthie; Swing,  Rosie, Yuki: Wheel, Herman, Matilda.