Saturday 28 March 2009

Okay Girls, Smile for the Camera

Okay girls - Smile for the Camera...

Kelly, open your eyes. Kim, look at the camera.


Ladies, it isn't that hard. Just look at the camera and smile.

Very good Kelly. KIM!!!

That's it Kim. KELLY!!!


Almost!!! Kim, watch your ears!!


Thursday 26 March 2009

What's Under Your Bed???

I'm sure I've mentioned a time or two in my journals and blogs that our house is pretty small. Honestly, it doesn't bother me much at all, except for the size of the bedrooms. Both are tiny and our fits only our queen sized and a nightstand - seriously. The way we positioned the bed, Mark has to climb over me to get in and out of bed, as I'm usually the last to bed and the first up in the morning, but when he works days and gets up at 4:20am, I get woken up too.

So the other day I got decided we needed to turn the bed. It's tight, but it'll work.

So, we began cleaning out the bedroom and the stuff under the bed to facilitate the move. The usual dust rabbits (these were way to big to be 'bunnies') missing socks and such were there but I also have something under the bed that most don't - dead dogs. No, no - not carcasses or anything - but the cremated remains of many of our dogs reside under my bed.

All the boxes were carefully removed with Mark demanding to know which dogs I was carrying out of the room on each trip. It turns out there are 12 dogs hanging out under there - Fly, Surge, Spud, Squeaky, Libby, Breezy, Howl, Buddy, Charlie, Butch, Striker and Chester, as well as the tin boxes that once held Orion and Snicker's ashes. Snickers ashes were spread on Cape Nome and Orion's on the Yukon River outside of Galena.

When ashes and memories were all carefully removed, we took the bed apart, I vacuumed, we moved the bed and remade it.

The last step before going to sleep in our 'new room' was to dust off the boxes and tuck them all safely back under the bed.

Some may think it is a tad morbid, but I can think of no souls better to share my dreams with.


Monday 23 March 2009


It started quietly with a few scattered flakes but very quickly snow fell heavily from the sky and a full fledged storm was underway.

The dogs wisely retreated to their snug houses, most curled up with their backs to the door, but a few watching intently for an end to it all. The big guard dog nestled in her favorite spot between the garage and the lawn mower and the cats banged at the door until they were invited in to weather out the weather.

For the better part of the day the wind swirled and the house shook. The snow began to collect and grow. By late in the afternoon a pristine blanket of white covered the woods and the yard - a blank canvas.
When it was apparent that the storm had moved on a few dogs began to stir. They stretched and shook, then trotted around on their chains making big circles in the snow.

Next it was little delicate kitty footprints. Soon the woods began to stir, with rabbits, coyotes, and deer opening up their favorite trails and pathways.

When the deer and coyotes begin moving, so does the big guard dog and soon Cricket's big pawprints were all around the perimeter of the yard.

After dinner we added our tracks to the yard, busting out pathways as we fed, watered dogs and picked up bowls.

The tractor rumbled to life and soon the neat little set of tire tracks down the driveway announced Mark's arrival home was obliterated by a freshly plowed driveway.

Overnight, while the huskies and we slept, the cats, Cricket and the woodland critters all worked on opening the pathways in their worlds.

The next morning more people tracks in the yard as I broke open trails shoveling the dog yard. The 4 wheeler and the skidder added their marks to the snow has I headed out to our 'dumping spot'.

Finally, the tracks of dog and the runners of sleds join the rest of the tracks in the woods and around the yard. Things are back as they should be - until the next storm arrives and cleans the slate again!


Wednesday 18 March 2009

Breaking Trail

Right now I'm just 'playing' with dogs. I'm free running puppies, hooking up puppies, playing with yearlings, enjoying my retirees and giving the main string dogs some short fun runs.

Yesterday I hooked up 1 main string dog - X, 3 retirees - Mo, Odie and Loki, and 4 'yearlings' (they are all closer to 2, but until they are 2 I call them yearlings) - Tie, TopDog, Roscoe and Utin for a short afternoon run.

They roared out of the yard and down the trail. We zipped and zigged through the woods. The snowmachiners seem to mostly be avoiding the trails down my way this winter, so with one or two exceptions, the only trails out there are ones that we have put in by dog team.

They are narrow but after a few runs, well set. After doing about 4 miles with the team I 'gee'd' Moses and X off the set trails and onto our 'Riverbank Trail'. They jumped onto that trail without hesitation, but I realized right away that this trail had not been used, except by a bit of local wildlife, at all this winter.

It took me moments to realize that I probably shouldn't have done that with so many young dogs in the team, but by then going forward was really the only decent option.

Utin never even flinched. He drove hard behind my wonderful leaders, Mo and X. He is a superstar!
The other 3 rookies all had moments of seriously questioning my judgement though. We took lots of breaks and I used trees to tie off to so I could flail up front to untangle puppy lines and tell them all how amazing they were.

In a relatively short amount of time the pups all decided it was easier to just forge ahead and be part of the team. Pretty soon they were a tight little trail breaking unit. I was very pleased.

X and Mo were battling the whole way to see who got the little 'deer trail'. Age seemed to win out most of the time, but X never gave up or backed off.
The last bit of unbroken trail - you can see the broken trail ahead of them.
Certainly, this for Odie, Loki, Mo and X this was 'old hat' but it was a big deal for those 'babies'. I'm proud of them and it was obvious at the end of the run they were proud of themselves.
It is these type of 'doable challenges' to the youngsters that will make them strong and confident sled dogs down the line.
I'm glad I called 'Gee'.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

The 'Toons

I was up hanging out with 'The 'Toons' this afternoon and they were complaining that they aren't getting any 'blogger time'. They are getting big now, but still have those nasty little puppy teeth, so I best pay attention to their complaining!

So, in order to appease the 'mass of killer puppies' - I present Toon pictures -

This is the incredible fence climbing Grimmy. She is actually the first dog fed in the yard every night. If she isn't, she scales the 6 foot chain link fence and comes down to see what the hold up is. She has trained us all well!

This adorable little 'Mo-ette' is Tramp. She is as sweet as she is cute.

Snert is a very cool young man. He was actually the last one I got to pose for a portrait as he always wants to be by your side!

Bolt is known for the black lightning bolt marking low on his chest. Very cute.

Astro is as scrappy as he was as a puppy, but being the biggest in the litter, he can generally get away with it. Very handsome - lots of presence!

Skookum was more then happy to pose for pictures. In fact, I think he was playing me to make sure I got his 'good side'.

We have these monsters separated into 2 different pens. Boys, Skookum, Snert, Astro, and Bolt in one pen and the chicks, Tramp and Grim in another.

A few weeks before I got back from Alaska, the girls got a roommate, the obnoxiously noisy Jack.

Now Jack, who is formerly known as Riverrun's Whiskey Jack, has a good excuse to be noisy - he is a son of our Nik (aka Ch. Chuchinka's Nicolai 2nd). Jack's mom is KitKat, littermate to Crunchie and Snickers - and he comes to us from Gwen Ross.
He is a doll and we are very much enjoying him - despite the noisiness.
Anyway, there we are guys - a post about the puppy pen. Maybe my shoes, hair, hands and sleeves will be safe from attacks tonight. I doubt it, but maybe....

Sunday 15 March 2009

Needing Another Short Term Handler

Well, burying my head in the sand and pretending that this wouldn't happen hasn't worked. Helen is leaving this morning. I am very sad, but the reality is that she has to get back to her own life. We have loved having her here and will all miss her deeply (well, maybe not Bait, but the rest of us will)

That does leave me in a bit of a situation though. I really could use another handler, at least until spring really arrives and we are able to put buckets back out on the dog houses.
So, if anyone is up to a 6 week or so adventure, please get in touch.

I'm sure you all know the details - horrible hard work for not much more then the gratitude of a bunch of dogs and their musher.

I do run alot of puppies and yearlings at this time of year - which is alot of fun - and if you were here within the next few weeks, you would be able to do some running on sleds before the trails fall apart.

Let me know ( if you are interested and available.


Friday 13 March 2009

New Training Tip!

So while Karen is busy recounting stories from the Quest 300 and her tales of judging the Quest I have taken it upon myself to share her latest sled dog training tip!

You see today it was warm (-3C/26F) and we decided to run dogs and also to let Kim and Kelly run along with the team. Still free running not harnessed and getting used to being around the sled and the team. Kim and Kelly were a little on the rambunctious side (that is code for wild girls running all over the yard and into the team as well) so I picked up Kim and brought her in the sled with me. I was the passenger and chief puppy handler! Well then we couldn’t get Kelly to cooperate either so I hopped out of the sled to get her. The great news is that both puppies were very happy to just go for a ride in the sled! It seems they were thinking that they should go for a ride the first time out with the sled and then maybe run another time.

See here is Kelly trying to convince Karen a ride would be best for the first time around!

Needless to say they only went for a ride long enough to get out of the chaos of the dog yard and then they were pushed out of the sled to run on their own. They had a blast and were hard running young sled dogs!

Next we grabbed Boo and Sobe to run with the team but they were even more rambunctious so Sobe stayed behind while Boo ran. She had a blast running by the sled and playing in the deep powder!

All in all it was a fun time for all and maybe tomorrow we will take out the little Toons for a romp on the trail! I wonder what that will be like...............

Wednesday 11 March 2009

The Quest From 2 Different Parkas - Part 2

After scratching we hustled back to Whitehorse. Okay, I slept in the truck, but the guys all hustled and loaded everything and safely got us back to Vincents. We chatted a bit with Lee, Tim and Hunter before I headed off to bed. Markus, Kelly and Chris all stayed up to drop dogs for us.
I slept about 12 hours, which might actually be a record for me!
We spent Tuesday at Vincents. The guys, under Mark's supervision, repacked the truck while I just hung out.I still felt sick and beat up. Wednesday morning I woke up just annoyed at everything that had happened and generally mad at the world. I figured that meant I was feeling better.

We hit the road back to Braeburn and beyond. We stopped in Carmacks to recover our drop bags before 'catching up' with the race in Pelly. The guys grabbed the drop bags while I checked in with Doug and picked up my blue 'Race Official' parka - aka 'The Yurt' for it's sheer size and bulk. I tossed all my gear into one of the race official cars, said goodbye to all (it was really hard to watch my loaded dog truck drive away) and beat a path for Dawson City.

The drive up was actually lovely and I enjoyed the quiet time to listen to CBC and get my thoughts in order. I saw 3 moose and a pretty little fox dashed across the road on the outskirts of Dawson City.

I wasted no time getting to the checkpoint as I knew the first musher was due anytime and I didn't want to miss that. The checkpoint volunteers told me I had a bit of time, so I zipped over to our hotel and got checked in before heading back down to the checkpoint to hang around and wait. Turns out I would do alot of that (waiting) throughout the rest of the race.

I was quite shocked at how big the crowd was waiting for the first musher. There was much spectulation about who they were and when it would be. Everytime more then one 'blue coats' (aka race judge) walked outside, a crowd would follow, sure that we had inside information. We didn't.

Finally word hit the checkpoint that a headlamp was coming off the river. When the musher pulled up under the banner and lifted their head it was William Kleeden. He was checked in and then headed off to the campground to start his 36 hour layover.

The next few days were spent mostly waiting and checking in mushers (although I will fess up to one very 'off duty' late night at The Snake Pit). I got to visit with alot of handlers as they waited (some patiently, some not so patiently) for their mushers to arrive. I think my favorite part though was to see the handlers and dogs reactions to each other in the chute. See for most of the race the handlers are not allowed to touch or even speak to the dogs, but as soon as they get to Dawson, handlers are allowed full access. It quickly becomes obvious what handlers are part of the team and which are just working the race when you watch their reactions to each other.

Checking in Warren Palfrey

Mike Ellis's wife Sue welcoming her team into Dawson City.

I wandered down to the dog lot a number of times, visiting with mushers and handlers, answering a few questions, chasing away a few spectator vehicles and just generally keeping an eye on things.

Brent Sass's Dawson Camp

Once the 36 hour layovers started to be done, we headed down to watch a number of teams leave. It was very interesting to have to time to look at other musher's gear set ups and interactions with their dogs. Usually in races I'm too preoccupied with my own team to pay too much attention to everyone else's.

Sab waiting out the last minutes of his layover

Eventually the last of the team's arrived and Dawson began to empty out. Time for us to head up the trail too!

More pictures at


The Quest - From Two Different Parkas - Part 1

Part 1 - the Skookum Parka perspective

With Iditarod out of the picture for financial reasons this year, Mark and I had turned out attention to the Yukon Quest 300.

Our training had lacked some due to weather and other extenuating conditions, but coming off a strong 200 miles in the Don Bowers race, I was confident and excited about our teams for the Quest 300.

We had originally planned on getting down to the start of the 1000 mile race, but since Mark had had to run to the airport at 1am to pick up Kelly and Markus, we decided just sleeping in was the best idea. We headed into Whitehorse in time to due some banking and grab lunch before the race started though.

Even though our bib numbers were very close we managed to get both teams to the start line without issue thanks to our excellent handlers - specifically Kelly, Markus and Chris.

My group was a pretty experienced one and predictably they stood (relatively) patiently waiting out our 2 minutes. I leaned down and warned the 4 sled holders that they would 'wake up' once the handlers let go of them at the 10 count. They assured me they would be ready. I chatted a bit with my buddy Doug, who was race marshaling the 1000 mile race before turning my attention back to my team when the countdown clock (what a neat idea!) said '10'. I motioned my handlers away and as I said they would, the dogs woke up and started to seriously hit their harnesses. I had 2 feet on the brake and was yelling 'Easy' to no avail. Three of the sled handlers fell off, the remaining one hanging on for about another 2 seconds before succumbing. The team shot off with a few seconds still remaining on the clock. I thought I heard Charge chuckling as we took off down the chute. He - and the rest of my dogs - really think that is a fun joke to play on starters!!! Hey - I tried to warn these guys!

The dogs rolled strongly through Whitehorse, passed the Walmart (the first time I've ever run dogs passed a Walmart) and onto the Yukon. The trail was lovely and there for little for me to do but enjoy the ride.

I enjoyed seeing my friends Doug and Marlene as we turned off onto the Tahanni River. They were there with a small crowd cheering the teams on. A few other spectators hung out on the river to watch the dogs roll by.

Thirty miles in we left the river and headed onto the Dawson Overland Trail. I recited a bit of Robert Service to the dogs "On a Christmas Day we were mushing on way along the Dawson Trail. Oh, the cold, through our parka fold it stabbed like a driven nail. If our eyes we closed our lashes they froze till sometimes we couldn't see..."

It was cold, though not near cold enough that I feared I would freeze to death - especially in my Skookum anorak (

Gerry Willomitzer and I played leap frog for a bit. I was very impressed by the unity and discipline his team showed. A tight group - very nice.

All of a sudden I began coughing. It occurred to me that I was about to throw up. "What the heck??" Two minutes before I was feeling fine. The next 20 miles was pretty much continuous bouts of coughing and vomiting.

Despite the issues with their musher, the dogs moved fairly steadily. About 40 miles out (thanks to my GPS, which is legitimate to carry on the Quest - YEAH!) there were alot of mushers pulled over , but I wanted to wait until closer to 50 miles before taking a break.

I wasn't carrying straw, so wanted to pull into one of the 1000 milers old camping spots and take advantage of their leftovers, so I was alittle scared at about 45 miles when I stopped seeing camping spots. Thankfully, just over 50 miles I found a nice little spot .

By the neatness of the spot and the tidy little fire still smoldering away I suspect it might have been Martin Buser's old spot. I've utilized his old camping spots before on Iditarod and they are always well placed, neat, clean and free of garbage. I'll confess, I'm a bit of a stalker when it comes to his camping spots!!

I fed the meal I had been carrying in my cooler, treated a few feet, and gave out a bunch of ear scratches before tromping through the woods looking for some dead wood and getting the fire going again. My stomach wasn't up to food, but I placed a few juice packs and bottles of Gatorade next to the fire. Turns out my stomach wasn't up to liquids either.

After a couple hours, I pulled on another layer of clothing (because I couldn't keep fluids down I was dehydrated and therefore cold) before waking up the dogs. They hit the trail beautifully.

A few miles down the trail I came up on another musher snacking his dogs on the trail. The dogs had picked up a bit before we saw him, at first thought it was because of the other team, but they were all looking into the trees off the trail. I shone my headlamp into the woods and saw a pair of forward set eyes (as in predator, not prey) staring back. The critter and I stared at each other a bit before he 'gave' and turned to lope off. The instant he moved, his profile and gait gave away his species - wolf. Very cool. We loped parallel to each for a bit before he veered into the woods. I'm pretty sure he was 'ghosting' the team in front of me and I startled him.

I continued to battle illness throughout the night, although most everything was out of my stomach by now, so I was mostly just dry heaving off the back of the sled.

As awful as I felt, it was hard to not appreciate the trail I was traveling on. I swear that it was the nicest groomed, best marked 100 miles of trail I've ever raced on!

I was very grateful to finally get to Braeburn though. I went through dog chores and got everyone fed and settled in before heading into the Braeburn Lodge for something to eat and drink. Drinking went not bad, but eating was not an option - or so I discovered after eating 2 bites of my 'long awaited' breakfast.

I tried to sleep, but all I could do was toss, turn and cough.

Around noon Mark showed up. He hadn't had a good run, but nothing serious was wrong with the dog nor him. (Or so we thought - turns out he had frostbite on the big toe of his left foot, which has lessor circulation due to his break in '06. He didn't discover it till we were back at our host families house in Whitehorse. The toe turned black, blistered and eventually the nail fell off, but it looks like no flesh was killed! Thankfully!!)

Mark and I spend alot of time chatting in Braeburn before deciding that it was best that we pull the plug on our race. Being unable to keep food down was a problem, but being unable to keep fluids down was downright dangerous. Besides if I completely ran myself down for the 300, I would be unable to fulfill my commitment to Part 2 of this adventure and I didn't want to let the Quest down in that regard.

Our YQ300 was over.

Part 2 to follow....


Wednesday 4 March 2009

BC Bound

With my warm and fuzzy post from this morning talking about how great it is to be home, you might be thinking that I'd actually be staying home for awhile - you'd be wrong.

Helen and I leave tomorrow morning for the Caledonia Classic Race in Fort St. James, BC.
I don't know how good they will be about posting results during the race, but the website is

I'm still humming and hawing a bit over which 12 dogs to race, but it looks like Jinx, Dasher, Spider, Tess, Jr, Wifi, Crunchie, Hector, Herman, Runner, Q, Wolvie, Charge, and Watt will be making the trip with us.

We will be home early next week, so watch for more details soon!


The Rest of the Story

This is the story that the Quest put on their website -

Winter Weather Brings Benefits and Challenges

Friday saw a winter storm system descend on the greater Fairbanks area and stretch up towards the Yukon Quest Trail where team are running. This system brought benefits to trail conditions and challenges to race logistics.Trail conditions were reported to have improved between Dawson City and Eagle by John Schandelmeier after he arrived at the Eagle checkpoint late Friday night . Areas of jumbled ice on the Yukon River had been filled in with the addition of a few inches of fresh snow. Snow and blowing snow can fill in uneven trail sections quickly and winds were moderate between Dawson City and Eagle. Trail reports from downriver on the Yukon also indicated that new accumulations had occurred with improvements noted to both jumbled and icy sections of the river between Eagle and Circle. While blowing snow can obscure the trail and the tracks of teams in front of mushers, the benefit of a small amount of new snow certainly outweigh any downfalls.The winter weather system also brought logistical challenges, especially when the race is moving between Dawson City and Circle. This section of the Yukon Quest Trail is covered by aircraft, not ground transportation, and yesterday's weather system made aircraft movement awkward.Two aircraft attempting to fly out of Fairbanks to move Race Personnel further to the North were held on the ground due to high winds, blowing snow and low visibility. This necessitated shifting flights and personnel movements for the three aircraft already stationed in the Dawson City - Eagle - Circle corridor to ensure that all trail locations were prepared for the arrival of dog teams.By late Friday evening both Slaven's Roadhouse, the next stop for the front runners, and Circle Checkpoint, the first checkpoint on the Alaska road system, were populated with Yukon Quest Judges and Veterinary Team members awaiting the arrival of the first teams. While teams are not anticipated to arrive in Circle until midnight Saturday, unpredictable weather conditions made it prudent to position Race Personnel at the earliest possible opportunity.Saturday's reported clearing weather should allow race organizers to complete the flights delayed by Friday's weather system, and the accumulating snowfall should continue to improve trail conditions for Yukon Quest mushers and their dog teams.

And this is the 'Rest of the Story'....

Once the 'Back of the Pack' hit Dawson City, it was time for the bulk of the race personnel to get on the move. I was to be flown to Eagle along with Eagle checkpoint manager, Scarlett Hall. I was thrilled to meet Scarlett as I've heard lots of wonderful stories about her and her husband, Wayne over the years. Scarlett and Wayne live 'in the bush' outside of Eagle, Alaska. Wayne is a Quest veteran, as well as a participant this year, so Scarlett was doing double duty as a handler/volunteer.

After a morning of hanging around the checkpoint waiting for a plane we were finally dropped into the hands of our pilot, Phil. Phil quickly refueled and filled out the necessary paperwork for flying across the border before we took off. The delays from earlier in the day meant that we were just squeezing our flight in before dark.

I actually quite enjoy flying in small planes and loved the opportunity to see the countryside and bits and pieces of the Quest trail on the flight over to Eagle. As Eagle is accessible only by plane, snowmachine or dogteam in the winter, Scarlett has made alot of flights into town over the years and despite the noise of the engine, she pointed out a few landmarks along the way.

As we got closer to Eagle a wall of dark clouds appeared in front of us. In short order it began to snow hard. Phil dropped down low over the river and tried to find a path through the clouds, but it was to no avail. We turned around and were alittle distressed to see that the weather had closed in behind us too. Phil tried to tried out a few lighter spots in the clouds, but it quickly became apparent that he wasn't going to find a way through the weather.

Thanks to a tip from Scarlett, Phil headed over to the mouth of the Forty Mile river to look for the 'landing strip' that the Quest had put in for their 'Hospitality Stop'. It took two passes over the area to locate the strip and one more low and slow pass to make sure we could actually land on the strip of semi packed down snow.

The actually landing was a bit rough, but nothing like what I expected. We climbed out of the plane and hiked up to the Sebastian and Shelley's cabin that acts as the Quest Hospitality stop. A couple dog teams were parked outside and as we entered the cabin we were greeted by warmth and the smell of delicous moose ribs warming in the wood stove.

After a bit of time visiting and making sure a message got to Quest officials that we were safe and sound (but stranded for the night), Sebastian took Scarlett upriver to the cabin of Earl and Sandy. The thought was that Earl may be able to take us by snowmachine to Eagle in case we couldn't fly in the morning.

Phil and I each enjoyed a plate of ribs while chatting with Kyla Boivin as she did the same.

After alot of discussion and debate, it was decided that we would spend the night up at Earl and Sandy's so as not to crowd the Hospitality stop and in the morning Phil would move the plane up to Earl and Sandy's strip (the one we landed on was not going to allow Phil to get up to take off speed with both Scarlett and I onboard - it was just too rough).

We snowmachined the 4 miles or so up to the cabin, where Earl and Sandy happily opened their Clinton Creek home up to the 3 stranded travellers. As the cabin was also open and marked for Quest mushers, Sandy had a great spread of food on the stove. Despite the relatively recent feed of moose ribs, I managed to find a bit for room for some buffalo stew. We chatted late into the night before crawling into our sleeping bags.

Around 1:30 am a Quest musher interrupted our sleep. It happened to be Wayne Hall, who was simply shocked to find his wife hanging out there. After taking care of his dogs, Wayne chatted with us for a bit, had a bit to eat and a few hours sleep before hitting the trail again.

In the morning we had coffee and breakfast before the guys headed up to the Forty Mile strip to warm up the plane so Phil could move it up river while the rest of us hung out and chatted.

In the 60's an asbestos mine operated in the Clinton Creek area -,_Yukon Over 500 mine employees and their families lived in the associated mining town 9 miles from the US/Canada border. When the mine closed in the 70's the company sold off all the buildings and put the 400 + acre town site up for sale. It sat on the market a long time before Earl and Sandy discovered and purchased the property. They have build a big spacious log cabin on the banks of the Yukon River where they now live year round. The property is accessible by road only in the summer months, in the winter they make their journeys to either Eagle or Dawson by snow machine.

They are a fascinating couple living in a fascinating home in a fascinating location. It was a great getting to meet them and see it all.

Around 11am Phil showed up with the plane. We exchanged contact information and piled thanks upon our hosts for a wonderful night.

The weather had completely cleared and our trip to Eagle was quick and uneventful!
As I'm sure you all beginning to expect by now, there are more pictures up on my Picasa site


Earl and Sandy's homestead at Clinton Creek
Looking back from the runway.

Home is where the dogs are!!!!!

After our unsuccessful Quest 300 (we scratched after I got sick on the first leg of the race) Mark, Markus, Kelly and Chris took the teams home to Perryvale, but I stayed in the Yukon to be a race judge for the second half of the 1000 mile Quest (more on that in another blog).

On March 1st I flew from Fairbanks home - and it is GREAT to be back!! The dogs are all happy, boisterous and obviously feeling fine!

Mark and Helen have been hard at work keeping the critters in shape and yesterday Helen and I took them for a really nice 40 mile run on the Athabasca River.

Hooking up along the Athabasca River front.

Helen's team heading out of town.

My team heading under the Athabasca Bridge.

A very happy Spidey Dog

Heading home.

Helen's team heading home.

Way fun!!!