Thursday 31 December 2009

Musher Tracking (by Kara)

The musher and the racing crew are traveling to Alaska, a trip I've made many times during my career, and no, even for a semi-truck full of Dentastix I won't reveal who actually went this time.

As most of you know, the musher was trying to come up with some new technological way to keep all of her fans apprised of her whereabouts and doings.

In past years her attempts were downright silly and too heavy to pull. She even considered using spotters on the trail to radio in her status and updates, but there weren't that many volunteers who wanted to camp out on the Iditarod trail and those that did... well, lets just say we're still waiting to find some of them and the others now have nicknames like "2-fingers" and "stumpy".

The problem with having a way to communicate is that it can't be too heavy and it has to tolerate the cold well. Its not like there are electrical sockets out in the middle of frozen Alaska, and typing on a keyboard with mittens usually just causes more confusion than its worth, so Twitter was out of the question (and if you haven't noticed, when the musher gets to typing, that 140 character limit goes right out the door).

So, facing all of these daunting requirements, I did a google search and then made a call to some friends I have in the Parks and Recreation department (cuz in retirement, I'm all about the recreation) and they actually had the perfect solution.

Lightweight, long battery life, able to withstand brutally cold temperatures and water.

Now everyone can keep track of her wanderings. For some reason she wasn't too thrilled with the ear tag.


Alberta Bound

Wednesday when I climbed off the ATV in the afternoon I had logged 1764.5 miles on it around the 'neighborhood' since the end of summer.

I watched alot of sunsets and a few sunrises. We passed loose dogs, loose horses, loose cows and a fair amount of wildlife. The highlight of the wildlife was definitely the wolverine encounter a month or so back!
I watched hay fields ripen, get harvested, and baled. Watched the tamaracks go from green to golden to snow covered. Watched all the locals - from squirrels to ranchers - prepare for the hard season ahead.

Many thanks to all my neighbors that are so patient and kind around the teams. Almost all slowing down, most waving and a number stopping to chat. It never fails to make me smile when a neighbor stops (as happened on my Wednesday run) and says "You must be Karen!", tell me they follow our races, and wish us the best this winter.

Two of my bigger fans!

I am lucky in that I get to travel around Canada and the US in my 'job'. I am often in awe of the landscapes that I travel through - by vehicle and dogteam - but none move me like my home does. Yeah, there are other places I love - and could even live in - but I think in my heart I will always be an Alberta girl. It's not just the land - which is so varied and wonderful - but it's the people and the 'feel' of it all. Warm, welcoming and friendly!!

So as we point the dog truck north again, know that I am looking very forward to our winter, but from the second the wheels roll over the Alberta/BC border I am really just "Alberta Bound" again.

Friday 25 December 2009

Christmas Day at NorthWapiti (by Richard)

What else could you do on Christmas Day ? What a beautiful day, fantastic scenery and such wonderful dogs to share it with.

Harnessing Turtle

Spam Bots - Kara

Kara here again!

It should come as no surprise that the Musher's blog has become quite famous and popular (it should, what with all of the adorable, stunning and beautiful "Pretty Sled Dogs" posted on it, myself included of course). Unfortunately, with fame comes annoying spam bots.

What are spam bots? You ask yourself... well, spam bots are evil ogres that try to attack blogs and leave silly comments with links to places that sell stuff for ED (apparently some disorder where humans can't stand up straight or something) and some are even spreaders of evil viruses because they've never been taught to sneeze in the crook of their elbows or something. Spam bots look like this:

As the Blog Mistress, I've been doing nothing but deleting these annoying comments and their silly links. Some are in languages that even dogs can't understand, such squiggly lines and silliness, its like Charge pee in the snow when he's running.

In order to stop the silliness, I've passed a royal edict that word verification be implemented. Now, before all of you technically challenged humans start howling, I'm going to explain word verification and show you how to do it, because you can teach an old human (or any human) a new trick, even if the experts say its not possible.

Word verification is simply a little box of squiggly letters that come up under the comment section and you simply have to type the same letters in the box. Very simple.

Here I am using a dentastix to show you what a word verification looks like, and where you type the letters. Don't get flustered if you don't get it right, word verification will give you several tries before it blows up your computer (ok, it won't blow up your computer, just kidding) but the spam bots never went to school and can't type the letters, so it'll stop the silliness and only allow my most coveted fans... I mean the musher's fans, to leave us comments.

Now, if you have any problems with the new word verification thingie, you can e-mail that annoying cartoonist person, I think her name is Lenny or something at and complain to her. Don't bother me, I'll be napping on the cloud... if Bet hasn't hogged it again... pfft.




Wednesday 23 December 2009

Dog of the Day - X

NorthWapiti's Excelsior
DOB - March 12, 2005
Sire - NorthWapiti's Robert E. Lee (Squeaky)
Dam - Alaskan's Olena of Anadyr

Nicknames - X-cellent, X-quiset, X-trodinary

X is named after Excelsior Creek, an infamous crossing on the Copper Basin 300. Regardless of the weather, this creek is always open and gurgling! Not many teams cross it without problems!!!
X's littermates are all named after 'landmarks' on the Copper Basin trail - Tolsona, Tazlina, Summit and Paxson.

Many know the 'story' of X's litter. He was the product of an accidental breeding while we were in Alaska. We DNA tested the males that we had taken north with us that year to find out "Who's Your Daddy?" and Squeaky was the 17th one we tested (out of 17).

X was the smallest pup out of the litter. As a youngster he was picked on and not particularly confident, but something about him struck me - and rightfully so. X is now a big, strong, confident and capable young male. He is a good leader and a very cool dog. One of my favorites.

He reminds me a great deal of his 'Uncle Surge' - who was an amazing and wonderful dog!

X is sponsored by Ursula and John Remple of Winnipeg, MB!

Tuesday 22 December 2009

After Dinner...

I absolutely love the dog yard in the dark with the kennel lights on after a snowfall. And once the dogs are feed and all is quiet, it is quite magical!

Dessert for my soul (better then that mince pie that Richard talked me into trying!)

Sunday 20 December 2009


Anyone that has stayed here for even a day will tell you that I am a morning person. I'm usually up hours before anyone else in the house. Most mornings I work out, watch a bit of TV (I tape the programs I like that Mark doesn't), and catch up on email before Richard arrives at the house shortly after 6 (dogs are fed between 6:30 - 7, but need to wait 2 hours after feeding before they are run). But I am not always fast about getting out the door and 'into' the day. I tend to get caught up in all sorts of stuff that requires my attention and usually we don't head out to start hooking up the team till around 10am.

This morning I wanted to hit the trail bright and early though, as I planned a big run (60 miles) and wanted to be in at or before dark so I didn't end up sharing the road with Holiday party-goers.

Now because we are right around the winter solstice daylight hours are not abundant, so that along with my long run meant that I got to see both the sunrise -

-and sunset

- from the back of an ATV.

Oh yeah - and a whole bunch of cool stuff in between!!!

And I got to share it all with a REALLY cool group of dogs -





Wolvie making faces!

Shooter and Roscoe



The whole lot of them!!

It was a GREAT run!!