North Wapiti Siberian
November 1, 2002
Phew – as I sit in bed typing this I can barely stand to be in my own skin I smell so bad!! Yesterday was a ‘Mink Day’ at Jamie’s.
Virtually all serious mushers feed their dogs some kind of meat to supplement their kibble diets. Although now that we are feeding the Eagle Power Pack we are using substantially less meat, we will still add tripe, beaver, and fish into our dog’s diets this winter. Jamie’s meat source is a fairly unique one – she feeds ground up mink carcasses from a local mink farm to her dogs. Now they may make beautiful coats, but NOTHING smells quite like a dead mink! YUCK – YUCK – YUCK. Jamie deals in big volume with this stuff, as she also supplies it to a number of other area mushers, so last night we loaded 14 pallets of the stuff into her walk in freezer. Each pallet contains 40 – 40lb blocks. Thank goodness there were a lot of hands around to help out!! Still, it will probably take 2 showers until I smell human again.
Plans are firmed up for my trip home. We arrive back on Tuesday afternoon from the ‘Big Dog Bash’ and I will be loading up the dogs and heading out to friends in North Dakota that day. I should be back in Perryvale sometime late Wednesday evening. I need to be in a rush to leave after the ‘Big Dog Bash’ as I have Nik entered in a dog show in Grande Prairie next Saturday and Sunday. The trip is a ‘two birds with one stone’ deal – my best friend Lynda Brown and her husband Dwayne Dubetz live in Grande Prairie. They are the ones that do up all my meals for Iditarod each year. I jokingly refer to them as Brown/Dubetz Iditarod Catering Services. They do a fantastic job on my food and my meals are the envy of many a musher. Anyway, Lynda says the meals are ready to go, so in addition to the show, I am going up to pick those up.
Everything else is going very well here. The dogs are doing a little bit shorter runs now. – in the 15 mile range. That helps pick up their attitudes and lets any minor aches and pains go away after their big pushes the past few weekends. Olena’s back feet seem a little tender and despite her very verbal protests as I hooked up yesterday, she got an extra few days off.
When I was running on Wednesday there was a light layer of snow on the logging trail I was traveling on for a bit. I could see a lot of wolf tracks heading down the road, certainly not unusual for Minnesota, they have very high wolf populations in the area, but yet, I’ve never seen one in all the time I’ve spend out here. I’ve seen them in Alberta and always enjoy the glimpses, so I was keeping my eyes peeled as we ran. We came out into a big meadow area and just off to my right a huge blanket of ravens lifted off the ground with much squawking and complaining. Sitting in a tree nearby was also a good-sized bald eagle. Their object of interest was just over a little hill and I couldn’t see, but it was obviously something dead and that was what was attracting the wolf traffic too. I stopped for a moment and stood up on the 4-wheeler, but saw none of the elusive canines. I have no doubt that they were around and were watching me though! Yesterday the area was again quiet, with natures ‘janitors’ (the birds) having obviously cleaned up everything that there was to clean up.
Well, I think I’m going to sneak in a shower before everyone else gets up this morning!
All for now!