So far this winter mushers throughout
North America are whining about lack of snow and races
all around being cancelled or in danger of cancellation.
We here in northern Alberta cannot relate!! We are in
the midst of our snowiest winter in over a decade.
This morning we woke up to drifts piled up against the
front door and the wind and snow still raging around us.
The F450 (aka - The Dog Truck) was taken to Athabasca
for an oil change yesterday and I was going to have Mark
drop me off at the dealership to pick it up on his way
to work this morning. He headed out the door to start
his little Ford Escort and quickly turned around and
came back in. No way that little car was getting out of
the yard, forget up the big hill to the highway.
I had to wake up Colleen so we could all unload a pallet
of dog food that was on the F250 (aka - The Old Dog
Truck) so we stood a chance of getting into town and
getting Mark off to work.
Well, we got out of the yard and a ¼ mile down the
driveway before the F250's fan belt was pushed off by
the snow, leaving us without headlights, power steering,
etc, etc. The driveway was the worst I've even seen it!
We plowed up the hill and to the highway, just to 'break
open the trail' before turning around and heading back
to the yard. We got within sight of the house before the
truck slide off the road and into a snow bank.
We are now waiting until daylight before heading out to
dig, plow and stomp our way out of all the white stuff -
so I thought I'd take this bit of 'down time' to bring
everyone up to speed on the happenings around here in
the last few weeks since we got home from Sheep
As many of you may have heard, Mark came down with
'Norwalk Virus' the day after we got back from Alaska.
It was so bad, he actually spent one night in the
hospital on IV. As the nurse was hooking up his IV, she
looked at me and said "This is HIGHLY contagious, you
know". Well the morning of December 24, I knew. I never
ended up in the hospital (as most of you know, I'm
petrified of needles and I'd have to be next to dead to
agree to go in and have an IV hooked up), but Christmas
was not a festive occasion here.
The greatest gift we got over the holiday season was
from the Husch family. Markus, Anna and their Mom,
Gabby, all took turns coming down to help feed and
shovel the yard while Mark and I were so sick. It was
very kind of them to take time away from their family
time to work here. The dogs, Mark and I were all so
Runs on the dogs didn't get too behind, as it seemed
when Mark was the sickest, I was still able to train and
vice versa! It took almost a week for both of us to get
back to 100%.
Around New Years we trucked the team over to the
Blackfoot Grazing Reserve, east of Edmonton for a run.
The trails started out excellent, but we somehow ended
up on the equestrian trails - and let me tell you -
horses and dog teams don't mix!! Luckily, everyone
walked away fine from our horse encounters, although
Herman was proudly packing around a mouthful of tail
hair from one of the horses.
Our efforts to get back to the 'multi use' trails had us
careening down plowed roads, scaling snow banks and
crashing through blown in trail before getting back to
the nicely groomed stuff. It was a challenging day, but
none the less enjoyable - and great experience for the
I've been training at home on both the 4 wheeler and the
sleds and the team is looking FABULOUS!! Charge, Watt
and Tess continue to amaze me. They are well beyond
good. Charge, in particular, cannot seem to get enough.
The more I run him, the more energy he seems to have. I
am in complete awe of him.
Dasher is having a tremendous season. Both Mark and I
had runs over the holidays that had us standing in the
dog yard with our jaws hanging open at the end of them.
The common denominator in all those runs was Dasher in
lead. Watch for her to be one of our key race leaders
Also shining in the leader department are Kara (of
course), Snickers, Jinx, Spider, and Q. Standbys like
Hilda, Olena, Hector, and Draco are also putting a lot
of time up front.