Wednesday, 21 November 2007

November 21, 2007 Team Updates

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 'team update'!!

 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 this one.

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 once.

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 leaders.




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 now!


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