Well, here we are – at the start of another season of diary entries! As I sit here in 30C (85F) heat, in a T-shirt and shorts, Iditarod and Alaska seems so very far away. But in reality, almost every day I am working on something to prepare for 2001.
The weather here has been very humid and warm, even in the mornings. Usually, if I get up at 5am, I can get a team out for 7 miles or so before it gets too hot. But the last week or so it has stayed warm right through the night. There is still a lot to do in the yard. The best ‘chore’ is spending time with the puppies. We have 4 – 3 month old pups out of Jetti and Mannie and 5 – 7 weeks old babes out of Keesa. All are doing really well. Jetti’s litter is our ‘computer’ litter – Crash (NorthWapiti’s System Crash), Yahoo (NorthWapiti’s Do You Yahoo), Dot (NorthWapiti Dot Com) and Meg (NorthWapiti’s Megabyte). Yesterday I put a kiddie’s pool out in their pen to help them keep cool. Crash delights in prowling through the water like a shark, attacking any of his littermates that think they want to venture in for a swim. Mark tells me he will be a star when it comes to water crossings and overflow – maybe!! Keesa’s litter will be our National Park litter. We are favoring Kobuk, Denali, Kluane, Nahanni, and Terra Nova for their names, but nothing for sure yet.
I had a lovely drive out to Jasper National Park on Tuesday (yes, I know Jasper would have been a good name, but seeing that the park mascot is a black and white bear we felt none of our grey/white pups fit the bill!). I met up with Loreen Bridges to do a dog swap. I had had a few on ‘try outs’ for the 2001 team from them, two of these were going back and Bridges had two more for me to try. This is the end of adding dogs for this season – if they are not in the yard now, they won’t be on the Iditarod team for this year!
Anyway, back to Jasper. We had a lovely visit and the Park was incredibly beautiful. With the wet spring and summer we had, the wildflowers were everywhere. I saw some many mountain goats and a couple of big bull elk with their antlers in velvet. Those Park bull elk are so big, they look fake! Magnificent animals! For those of you that are not aware, that is where our kennel name comes from. Wapiti is a native Indian word for elk.
Iditarod entries opened June 25. I was one of 51 mushers that signed up on the first day. Unfortunately, finances did not allow for me to go up to Wasilla and take in all the opening day festivities. I was though, making good use of my time - I was at a dog show in Grande Prairie. A couple exciting things happened that weekend. First off, I was able to do my Iditarod slide show and presentation while up there. Grande Prairie was my home for 9 years, and it was such a treat to share my adventure with so many of my close friends. The other exciting thing was that Mannie finished his Championship, so he is now officially known as Ch. Kainai’s Anchorman. What a fun time that weekend proved to be!
Well, that’s the news for right now!