I've been asked a few times how the team is
shaping up, so I figured that must mean it is time I do a
They are actually all doing very well. Runs are up in the
30 mile range now and they are coming home strong and happy.
We have had some issue with feet, but we got a couple inches
of snow over the weekend and that should clean up a lot of
our problems on that front, as the frozen gravel roads were
the root of the problems.
It is -20 this morning and I imagine that will close up the
Tawatinaw River completely. That'll make many of the dogs
ridiculously happy - especially Runner!
The few inches of snow we got make things easier on the dogs
feet, but it also makes steering the 4 wheelers (ATV's,
quads, whatever you call them) a bit trickier!
The other day I was trying to take a picture as we started
up the sand hill and failed to punch the throttle and steer
wide where I should of. It became obvious I was in a jam and
I took a minute to assess the situation (and uttered a few
'not nice' words'). The dogs were all around the corner
pointing north, the quad couldn't get any traction in the
snow and sand, - and it still needed to go west before I
could make the corner. I was in a quandary. I was going to
have to call upon my 'Jamie Nelson' training to get out of
I hollered out 'HAW' to Jr and Q and without question, they
scrambled up the sand cliff in front of us. No way I could
take a dog team all the way up there, but if they were
willing to try and 'crawl the wall' I could probably move
the quad forward enough that I could get it around the
problem corner. I was absolutely thrilled that they were so
willing to attempt to get up that 'seemingly impossible for
a dog team' hill for me - especially since all I did was ask
Sure enough, with them pulling as best they could and me
pushing, we got the machine forward the 6 or 7 feet I
needed. I called out 'GEE' and they scrambled off the hill
back onto the trail, plowing over some poor little saplings
in the process, and we were underway again! I praised them
silly once we got to the top. What good dogs!
Later in the run Jr nailed a turn onto a trail we had never
been down, that also had about 2 years of willow growth in
it. He is turning into quite the command leader!
You can see pictures from this run at
I have made a few cuts from the team. Two year olds Paxson
and Fritz were cut. That is in addition to Xena and Minto,
who were cut a few weeks back. I'm not disappointed in any
of them - they are all just young.
There are still a number of 2 year olds hanging in with the
'big dogs' - Isis, Bingo, Togo, Irving, Wolvie and X are all
doing excellent - really excellent! I think I smile every
time I look at Irv, Wolvie and X in particular. Stars!!
There are some newcomers to the leader pool - and some old
standbys still working hard.
Moses, Q, Jr, Runner, Crunchie, Sprite,
Spider, Hilda, Kara, Dasher, Tess and Jinx are all key
When I feel like 'banging my head against a wall', I put
Charge, Watt, Irving, or Boom in lead. They are coming along
nicely, but it will be awhile before I'm going to actually
call them 'leaders'. All are pretty good when we are moving
(well, except for Boom who turns down every driveway we
pass), but when we stop pandemonium ensues.
I've been really thrilled with Nahanni this year. She had a
'so so' season last year and I wasn't sure what she would
want to do this fall. She has let me know loud and clear
that she still wants to be a sled dog and is putting in
outstanding performances. Mark even had her in lead for a
bit the other day, as she was the only dog on his team
willing to dive right into the icy river. She did an okay
job for a few miles and then reminded us that she really is
not a leader, which is fine with me.
Well, time to get on with some other projects!!! All for