Wednesday, 14 February 2001

February 14, 2001

Well, first off I must address one very sad issue. On February 1 my friend and dear sidekick Skeeter left us. Some of you may not been familiar with Skeeter, but this personable little mutt had been a fixture and constant presence in my life for 16 ½ years.  I always felt that he and I were fated to be together. At 19 years of age, I went to some pretty extreme lengths to make that particular dog a part of my life. For all the years we were together, I think I could count on one hand the times I had to go looking for him – usually, he was wherever I was – following so close to the feet of my horse I was sure he’d get kicked, running next to dogsleds, tagging behind me in the yard, sleeping at my feet as I worked on the computer…

Both Mark and I will deeply miss him.

On a happier note, I am now up in Alaska!! The drive up was pretty uneventful. It sure was nice to have company, in the form of my handler, Vivian traveling with me. Viv’s husband, Lloyd was following in our Suburban pulling a trailer full of all my food drop stuff. Luckily, the Custom’s guys were in a good mood and gave us no hassles crossing the border (not so for the trip home from Minnesota, where 3 Canada Customs officers spend close to 1 hour crawling through the dog truck and trailer).

The snow conditions were pretty dismal when we arrived. I took a couple teams out along the Iditarod Trail (which the place we are staying at backs onto) and had a 6 dog team break free a snow hook when I went up to fix a neckline. I caught the sled, no problem, but the thought of running a 16-dog team down that snowless trail was downright scary. And then it happened…..Saturday we received a few inches of snow, followed by about a foot and a half of snow on Sunday night!! WAHOO!!! Things are looking good now!!

Sunday morning I saw a BIG cow moose out on the trail with 2 calves. Camilla thought chasing them might be a fun idea, but a strongly worded suggestion from me changed her mind. Thank goodness! That’s as close to a moose as I care to be!

Our first task after arriving was to get on food drops. That required a little shopping and some organizational details. Monday was spent actually bagging everything and double-checking all the lists. This morning we will hook up the Suburban and trailer and drag everything into Anchorage. I will be very glad to pass them over into Iditarod’s capable hands.

Things are staying pretty busy. On Friday is the team’s EKG’s and bloodwork and Monday is our vet check at the Big Lake Susistna Vet Clinic. Next Friday (the 24th) is Mark’s arrival date in Alaska – it will be so nice to have him up here. Being away from him for so much of the winter has been the hardest part of preparing for Iditarod this year! (Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetie!)

Well, off to Anchorage for now!

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