Saturday 29 October 2011

New Handler Lessons Learned - Bet

Whenever we get new handlers at North Wapiti, there is a certain learning curve for them.

They have to learn:

  • the daily routine, 
  • how not to get locked inside the guest house... shed... thing, 
  • how to feed the Pretty Curly Tails
  • how to hook the Pretty Curly Tails up for a run
  • how to massage my crampy toes (THE most important thing to learn)
  • how to think on your feet
The thinking on your feet is probably one of the most important things (but not nearly as important as the crampy toe massage) because things happen here, and they also happen on the trail, and handlers just have to process things very quickly in order to figure out the best course of action.

For instance, the other day out on the trail, Brittany Handler had to process the following issues very quickly:
  1. dead road kill moose on the trail
  2. dogs in heat
  3. half of a can of beer on the roadside

Brittany has quickly learned:
  1. Don't get between the dog team and fresh moose roadkill
  2. Keep the males from the females
  3. Rocky is a happy drunk

- Bet

The North Wapiti Week in Review - Bet

Howdy Ho everyone, its your getting ready for winter Border Collie, Bet here!

The temperatures are starting to dip, and there's even snow stuff in the lower 48 (also known as the U.S.), which has the Pretty Curly Tails very excited. Me... meh, not so much.

So, lets get on with the week that happened on the Interwebs!

In a contrast of working together, we have Meg the good and Smartie the evil leading and doing a good job of it too. Don't ask me why Meg is good and Smartie is evil, you have to ask the Musher. They've both been nothing but nice to me, except for that unfortunate misunderstanding about whose turn it was to take out the trash.

In case you weren't aware, Jack (RiverIce's Whisky Jack) is one of THE noisiest Curly Tails around... even louder than Tramp... can you even imagine the off-spring if those two ever get hooked up? Here he is in in harness in the 1 second of quiet the Musher was able to capture on film.

Of course, everyone at North Wapiti has chores. From excavating holes, to taking out the trash (it was Meg's turn last time, no matter what she says), we all do something to help around the house. Here is Cricket doing the dishes.

Of course, not every minute of the day is spent training or doing chores. Once in a while we get visitors and then its play time. Here is Freya enjoying a quick ride with Wifi and Runner

Then it was Noah's turn with Shooter and the amazing Dasher dog

And Adam, with Q and Charge

But we can't play all the time, and soon it was back to work... there's more to the story of this picture, but I'm saving that for later... nooooo, stop with the whining, I'll tell you about it later!

Crackle made a HUGE impression on the Musher on this run. Apparently the Musher's socks were knocked off on the trail somewhere, but nobody has been able to find them yet. We suspect that she actually caught them on fire and isn't admitting it. I would be remiss to mention that the Crack baby needs a sponsor, and what with her huge contribution in harness lately, it would be a shame if she were Iditarod bound without a sponsor... just sayin.

Another definite sign that winter is fast approaching is that the Musher had to use the yard lights to hook up for a morning run. Of course, the only reason I know this is because I saw the picture... I don't get up that early anyway.

Leaders See and Rocket are plotting their run for the day

The Musher risked it all to take this picture of the sand hill leading down to the river. Normally it takes both hands, legs, and a lot of concentration to perform this maneuver without falling off.

This shot was taken after they Pretty Curly Tails successfully navigated the treacherous sand hill without dumping the Musher off

The Musher took a second team out in the setting sun.

Here is the team after dark, and although she didn't see any Northern Lights, the Musher did have the best viewing she's ever seen of the International Space Station (which you can't see here because its up in the sky, really, really high... just didn't want to alarm anyone into thinking that it plummeted to earth and landed on Perryvale).

Young Rocky was the rock star in the lead the next day, here he is recreating the famous "Balto" pose.

Of course, although Rocky would have liked to claim Lead Dog status all by himself, he actually was assisted by the very able, and very leady Top Dog (who really isn't as tiny as he looks in this picture, but when you're standing next to a dog that has stilts for legs, it tends to make you look a little shorter).

So, that's pretty much all of the fun happening of this week. I'll get right on writing about the "incident" after I post this, and nap... all that typing makes me tired and crampy.

- Bet

Monday 24 October 2011

On The Trail Of The Rising Sun

This morning was our first hookup of the season where yard lights were needed...

...and because we were running on the east side of the Tawatinaw valley this morning, we spent a lot of time running into the sun. Hard on the eyes, but makes for some cool pictures!!!

Heading back down into the valley.

Cresting the hill on the east side of the valley.

Along the Landing Trail.

We didn't quite catch the sun this run though...

...maybe next time!

Saturday 22 October 2011

The Not so Weekly Week in Review - Bet

Um.... oh, this is embarrassing!

Hehehe, yeah, um... howdy ho everyone... your not quite ready to give you the weekly week in review, but apparently I have no choice and need to finish some paperwork Border Collie, Bet, here!

Pop took a turn in lead last week, and did very well despite some distractions like mooses, moo cows, and a miniature horse...

Neo is now with the big boys in the regular dog yard.  He's been strutting his stuff and bragging to the Trampling girls about how mature he is... then he pulls their tails and giggles.

The Pretty Curly Tails took a trip into town and back across the river

Leaders Smartie and See show why they are not only Pretty Curly Tails, but awesome leaders (and calendar models)

At the end of runs, most of the Pretty Curly Tails are set loose to return to their houses, but Tramp had to go smack Charge in the head for spreading the rumor that the reason she isn't sponsored is because she's a hussy... or husky... something like that.

Once again, the moo cows were on the rampage (unfortunately Ninja Border Collie was studying for her sheepie thing exam), but Trina and that hussy Tramp managed to stave off the rampaging pot roast.

There was frost on the ground for training, so its only a matter of time before the snow arrives!

A tired dog team is a photogetic dog team

Wolvie and Scud in the frosty morning light

The Musher says that Scud, Squib, Molly, Mighty, and Todd are some of the best yearlings she's ever worked with.

Molly and Scud still needs sponsors!  Come on, they really deserve it!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to freshen up a bit.

- Bet

Sunday 16 October 2011

Muskeg Musings

Today was our first trip back onto the muskeg trails for the season.

The dogs were thrilled...

New smells...

In fact, they were so thrilled that Rocket entertained us with a 'Rocket Dance'..

...and Wolvie sang us alittle song...
How sweet!!!

I will admit that I was pushing the season a bit. The trails were still pretty wet and the morning came VERY close to being a 'Karen Adventure'.
It's going to take a few more -8C mornings before we head in there again.

All's well that ends well!!!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Taking Advantage...

This is a bit of a special time of year. We are able to run dogs just about each and every morning, but the runs are short enough that they still leave a bit of time in the day for other things too. And now that Brittany is around, that has freed up a bit of my time from yard chores.
Soon everything here will be all dogs, all the time, so I figured I'd take advantage of these all to squeeze in a few last moments of 'non dog' time.

Yesterday after a nice 15 mile run with the team...

Smartie, See, Tess and Tramp against a gorgeous tamarack backdrop!

... I had just finished tossing a meal in the slow cooker, paying some bills, and doing some cleaning when my neighbour Gabi phoned and asked if I could be there in 20 minutes to go horseback riding with her. I was there in about 15.

Cello and Gabi

 The weather was ideal and the horses alittle extra spunky because of it!! Very fun!!

 Today we finally had a nice hard frost (-4 this morning) and another good run. (Sorry, forgot my camera!)
After a 2 hour teleconference meeting for an Iditarod Trail Committee that I'm on I had to run into Athabasca for a few things from the store and decided to take Bet and my bike along.

Bet in her 'going to town' collar.
We went and explored a trail that I found a few weeks back and was keen to get on before winter set in. It wasn't as long as I hoped, but we managed to find a few trails that really weren't trails and make it 'long enough'.
We even flushed no less then 8 whitetail deer out of the bush!!!

We went all the way down the bank to the Athabasca River.

The ride down was a lot of fun - the ride up - not so much!!! Lucky I had my faithful sidekick and companion along with me. She is an excellent cheerleader for me...

"What's the hold up??? I want to make it home in time to watch the start of the NASCAR race"

Okay, maybe not so much!!

At the top we were treated to a some lovely scenery!!

These feel like 'stolen days' - and I'm doing my best to enjoy them. Which is good, 'cause Mark just emailed to say that the forecast for October 22nd contains the 'S' word!!!!!!!