Gosh, am I glad I’m in Minnesota!! Mark tells me there is not a flake of snow on the ground at home. In fact, he said it is so icey in our yard at home that he had to put screws in the bottom of his boots before he could go feed the other night! I would certainly not be putting many miles on the dogs in those kinds of conditions!!
Alaska seems to be not much better! Every time I talk to someone from up that way, it is raining! The Knik 200 was canceled due to lack of snow and many other races seem in jeopardy. This could be a very tough year for rookies looking to qualify for Iditarod. I’m very grateful my qualifiers are done for this year!
Training here continues to go well. I feel I made some major breakthroughs with problems that I had had with the team last year. ‘Leaving Shaktoolik’ issues, as I refer to them! I have a CD at home, by an artist whose name eludes me, with a song on it called ‘Leaving Las Vegas’. ‘Leaving Shaktoolik’ fits in with the tune really well and I was humming that as I was working with the dogs! Maybe I’ll have to work on a complete rewrite of the song on the trail this year.
Grover is really working out to be the class act in this group of dogs. As I will on the trail this year though, I am trying not to use him too much in lead. He already knows what he is doing, so I’m spending my time developing Surge, Orion, Oreo, Smiley, Gus, Chester, Mork, and Camilla’s leadership abilities. Two year old Surge is doing amazing. He is bouncing around and playing with me as I put him away after back to back 50’s or other demanding runs. His enthusiasm and spirit on the trail will be a real asset to the team.
The Grand Portage Race should be a great introduction to racing for the young dog’s on the team!