Go Willie Nelson Jr!! This weekend we traveled south to the Blue Mountain Sled Dog Race in Grantham NH. The dogs did fantastic, and ran at the pace we've been training at all year, a steady 9 MPH. And came into the finish with these big smiles!! I entered this race as a training race for the young dogs in the team who haven't seen a finish line before. And, especially, to give Willie Jr a test in lead during a race--where he passed teams from behind and head-on, had volunteers bring him to the start line, and go past so many spectators and trail help. Willie Jr shined in this race, which was also his very first race EVER!
Other 'tests' for the team was Oriana Fallaci in point, which is a big jump from her usual position in wheel, and she was driven and focused. Gem also did fantastic in point, loping along with her goofy hound tongue. The Mackey Boyz held down the back of the team and Hawkeye was psyched to lope the entire time. Vega also did better with photographers and volunteers on the trail, she was stressed by them during the Beargrease and this is a huge learning curve for her as a young dog. Aurora was the pro in lead that I've come to rely on, snapping her gee and haw commands like a steering wheel. The twists, turns, steep uphills and downhills, soft snow and open water and ice.... were a good test for the entire team, and for me as a driver--more than once I was up on one runner! Every turn was an adventure in this race.
It was a super special event for me personally as it overlaps with my day job--the trail crosses two land conservation projects I'm working on, with both the NH Fish and Game department and the Town of Grantham. The volunteers who brought my team to the start line are the local Ausbon Sargent Land Trust who I'm working with on one of the projects! And this photo was captured by the representative from the Town of Grantham. Because of all of our work, the trails we traveled on will be permanently protected, knitting together a patchwork of conserved land in that corner of the state. Lots of good vibes all around. And lots more work to do!
Thanks to all who made the Blue Mountain Sled Dog Race a success!
Deep snow. Steep climbs. Heavy sled. 8 MPH and an 8 hour run. Can Am 250 training. Enjoying the miles.
Yukon Quest cheerleaders volume 3!
Willie Nelson Jr lends his famous voice to cheer the Tukaway crew and Chase Tingle to the finish line! Willie’s aunts Sahara and Comanche have been leading a lot of the race, including the tough climb of Eagle Summit. Willie also gives a shout to his papa, Willie Nelson. Now Chase and the team are on the final stretch of this 1,000 mile race. Bring it to the finish line! #YQ2019 @officialyukonquest @tukaway_sleddogkennel
Yukon Quest cheerleaders volume 2! Fanzine wishes good luck to her nieces, nephews, cousins, and sister on Remy Leduc’s team. This is Remy’s first Quest, and he was part of the ‘Central Seven’ that left in a group to cross the stormy, snowy, windy, blown in summit.
Remy is a strong musher who takes amazing care of his dogs, and also understands how important it is to help his fellow mushers. In the Can Am 250 in 2017, when the leadership of my team flagged and Inferno needed something to chase, there was Remy, who made sure we got to Allagash. ‘You have to finish,’ he famously said. ‘You need gas money, right?’ Remy and team are now in the final checkpoint of Two Rivers, where they’ll rest for 8 hours before heading to the finish. Go Remy and team!!!
It’s your long-awaited and unedited snow report from Inferno: 8-9” and compacting fast! Turn the volume up to hear the entire yard full of excitement.
‘Hey-la, hey-la my boyfriend’s back!’ Way back in December, Zippo seriously injured his tricep. Two weeks off, and he was still hurting. Two more weeks and then we were in MN. We got back and I still wasn’t sure he was 100%. But then I just had to try. Zippo is the kind of dog that needs to run. Always.
As we are doing longer runs than he is prepared for, he goes in and out of the bag, in a plan that I have called 'Plan Z.' Having seen friends Erin and Matt do this to bring their leader Beezus back to and through the Beargrease, I figured it was worth a shot for Zippo. This is good training for the rest of the dogs as well, and if I do this right he just might be back for Can Am. At the very least, Zippo is back on the trail, doing what he loves, his barks and energy jazzing up the team.
Most dogs are hard to get into the bag, but funnily enough Zippo is hard to get out! I use a swaddling drop dog bag that turns the dog into a tidy little bundle, that I can easily secure into the sled bag. In getting him out of it, Zippo has broken away from me with it halfway off, running around the trail with it over his head, not able to see a dang thing.
Welcome back Zippo! This smiling boy is sponsored by A Clendenning.
During playtime in the dogyard yesterday, I just couldn’t stop goofing around with Rocky. Of all the dogs of that family, Rocky is one of the best listeners, the most bonded to his person, and the goofiest. He is playful, loving, and whether I’m wrassling with him or scratching his behind while flopping his ears, he is just grinning the entire time.
Rocky has truly come into his own in the team, much faster than I had expected. He is one of the most driven dogs right now, and eats and drinks and does everything that is expected of him perfectly. Just like his half-brother Hawkeye, sometimes when I watch him in the team my jaw drops a little bit. He is effortless movement, a shift from a trot to a lope, and pure joy for the trail ahead.
And, of course, at the end of every run, he’s the biggest snack monster and is often spotted rubbing is face over and over and over on the gang line.
Rocky came here this fall, as a last-minute/ impulse addition to the team. I wasn’t planning on adding dogs, but I am so glad he’s here. Rocky is sponsored by the Rydel family.
We’re forward oriented.
‘Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.’ -Zora Neal Hurston.
These dogs. These mountains. This silence and solitude. #bluebird