Sunday 24 February 2013

Until Next Time - Simone

    A few impressive moments a NorthWapiti handler would like to share with all of you before packing my suitcase full of exciting memories!

    I had the opportunity to go to Oregon for the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race! It was an awesome experience. The drive itself, all the handling stuff, the exciting race, the time after Karen left, the snowshoe hike, the shopping part and and and…. Thanks for having Helen and me around, Karen  – we were having a blast!!

·      Helen and I finally got to meet – thank you for everything! It was such a cool week in Oregon, I was having so much fun! You are awesome, don’t ever forget that!

·       Back home, I spent much time with the older dogs. I used to open up the gates between their two pens so they could have some playtime for a bit. They enjoyed it very much!

·      Moses and Olena – a romantic love story that can’t be told – 
it can only be seen!

·      Oh, cutting toe nails – part of my job as being a handler too..

·      I LOVE pancakes!! I sure was a very happy girl that morning!

·      It was time for the puppies to leave their pens and get out on a chain to the big dogs – after a few escapes they all settled in fine!

 ·    Sky and Daddy are moving up to Alaska to a new home, so I got them used to staying in a crate - I hope they’re comfortable now. If not, I'm sure Karen will let me know if they bother her too much while driving.

·      Cricket, Crunchie and I waiting for Karens team to pull into the yard and make sure that we have the soup ready for them.

·      Giving and getting lots of kisses and snuggles – one of the hardest jobs to do here at NorthWapiti!

·      Bet, thanks for being the warm, fluffy pillow on the long drive down to the race. And of course your blogs – honestly, what would we do without them?

·      For the very first time I was out running at night! What an experience! Shutting of the headlamp for the last stretch into the yard and watching 6 shadows pulling me under a billion of stars – unforgettable!!

·      Wonder – my constant companion for the last few weeks. I know you enjoyed the jogging runs as much as I did. Even though you seemed to disappear for a good amount of time on the trails – I knew you were always around! Wonderific – the perfect name for you, my dear!

·      And there’s always puppytime… A lot of playing and just goofing around – 
we just loved it!

·      The fact I’m most proud of – Karen gave me the chance to run young Missy (Mollys sister) in lead! I had her out on her very first run ever in lead. She ran next to retired-superstar-leader Jinx! I was very impressed… From that moment on, there weren’t many runs where she hasn’t been running up front in my team! Missymissy, I know you’re going to be a rockstar in the upcoming seasons – you’re a very special gal – all the best from a very proud handler!

·     To run those incredible dogs is just an honor for every handler. Having the chance to run Jinx, Dasher, Olena – just to name a few Iditarod finisher – thank you Karen, for trusting me with your best friends! It means a whole lot to me!!

 Ohh and Bait?! - stay safe!!!

 Once again, it's time to turn off the light and say goodbye - until next time.......!

Love, Simone (the falling off things handler)

Friday 22 February 2013

Congratulations Team North Wapiti Kennels!!!

The North Wapiti Minions, Handlers, and fans congratulate Karen and her Pretty Sled Dogs on their second place finish at the 2013 Canadian Challenge!!! 



Official finish picture
Karen crossing the finish line at 2:37pm in 2nd place!

Canadian Challenge Day... I lost count - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies!!!

I'm so sorry that I didn't get you an update last night, but we've been here, there, everywhere, rushing, rushing, driving, sliding, and doing the handler thing to help the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails!

When we last left you, we were nestled at La Ronge waiting for the team to arrive.  We were all making sure the beds were toasty warm, and testing all of the hot food to make sure everything was ready for the Musher's arrival.

We got an unexpected visitor in the form of one Rocket Dancing Dog.  Rocket had sore wrists and a sore back and wasn't having any fun, so she got a snow machine ride from the LT's checkpoint to us at the hotel.

Rocky was NOT happy about this and refuses to speak to Rocket.

Richard was out making sure the dogs would have comfy places to rest and relax and was warming up his magic massage fingers to work out any crampy Pretty Curly Tail toes or wrists.

For those of you that aren't aware, the Canadian Challenge International Dog Sled race is one of the races where mushers can qualify for the Iditarod!  If you are qualifying, then you HAVE to do everything yourself.  No handlers along the trail, no help for ANYBODIES, the musher has to do everything themselves and finish.

If you aren't qualifying, like my Musher, then you can pretty much have help by your Handler, and you can take advantage of the local stuffs and things, so when the team pulled in, the Musher took care of the Pretty Curly Tails and told Richard what was going on, then stayed at the hotel room where I warmed her feety feets, and Briffany got her some hot foods and stuffs... and things, and everybodies rested there.

Soon the team was off to the next checkpoint: Grandmother's Bay.

We packed up the dropped Curly Tails and started driving over the river and through the woods to the Grandmother's House Bay thing checkpoint.

I would just like to say at this time that both Briffany and I kept our eyes closed for most of the trip because HOLY MOLEY!!!  It was very icy, slickery, slidey, and mountainy, and I nearly soiled my very fashionable ensemble at some points.

Thankfully Richard is the besty bestest driver in the world... and he brought his handy rusty ninja can opener in case we fell off the mountain and had to hunt wild animals in order to survive, or repair the dog truck, or fight off ninjas.

THANKFULLY we made it in one piece and greeted the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails at Grandma's house, then drove to the Stanley Mission for the mandatory 5-hour layover.

This morning, the Musher and Pretty Curly Tails set off for the final check point: La Ronge! 

More later!

- Bet

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Canadian Challenge Day 2 - Bet

Howdy ho everybodies!

We're at the La Ronge hotel right now, all toasty warm.

It's been a busy, busy, busy day following the team along the trail.

When we last left off, the Musher was taking a break at the Elk Ridge checkpoint with all 12 Pretty Curly Tails.  She said she had a good run and was happy with all of the Pretty Curly Tails and the effort they were putting in on the trail.

After a five hour rest, off they went to the next checkpoint, MacLennan River.

On the way there, Todd developed a sore wrist, so when the team arrived at MacLennan River, she decided to drop him.

Molly also had a sore wrist, and she is also in heat.  The Musher didn't want to stress her out on her first race and risk a more serious injury, and since Molly's heart wasn't really into that race... and because her condition meant that the boys on the team were more interested in Molly... and to avoid an "Iditarod Moment"...

... Molly also got dropped.

Which leads us to Rocky.... poor silly Rocky.  Rocky was half asleep and miscalculated the trail.  He totally thought that they were approaching the LTs checkpoint where he would be packed up and get a cool snowmachine ride back to the drop dog area at La Ronge.

He was so disappointed to see that he had misjudged the checkpoints and the dog truck, Briffany, Richard, and I were there to take him back to the hotel with us.

All three of them are resting and recovering quite well... except for Rocky, who is moping about not getting to ride the snowmachine, but he'll get over it soon enough.

We want to send a big shout out to Gerry Walker, last year's Canadian Challenge winner.  Gerry scratched in the best interest of his team, and we applaud his effort and for being just an all around good musher and stuffs and things!!!

So, here we are in the hotel at La Ronge.  Molly, Todd, and Rocky sleeping it off in the dog truck, and we sit and wait, and check the GPS dot, and hit refresh and wait and hit refresh, and wait... and where's that pizza??

I decided to do the googles for all that girl stuffs Molly was telling me about why she was feeling all funny.  Sounds icky. Who knew !?!?

Urp... maybe I'll wait on that pizza for a bit.

I am making sure that Richard doesn't go anywhere without my knowing it

Until later everybodies!

- Bet

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Canadian Challenge - The Start

Howdy Ho Everybodies!!!!

It's your on the scene Roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet, here!

I must say, the leftovers from the banquet were VERY tasty!

I think they were dinner roll things, or something... no clue actually.

Anyhoo, most of you probably know that the last time the Musher came to the Canadian Challenge, things didn't go so well.  They went BRILLIANT for Richard and his team, but the Musher's team caught an oogie stomach thing (and no, we have ruled out that Richard's team did NOT poison the Musher's team), and she was forced to scratch at Sucker River because the Pretty Curly Tails did not feel well at all.

She had to pull into a town and find a phone to call Musher Mark to bring the dog truck and all.

They all recovered quickly, but it wasn't a good experience for the Musher.

One of the demons in her list of things to do was to come back to the Canadian Challenge and finish it.  So here she is, and after selecting Bib #2, there she went with her team of Pretty Curly Tails.

The weather is nice and cold, just how the Pretty Curly Tails and Musher like it. 

After the first checkpoint, the Musher is in the lead.

If you don't know it already, all of the mushers have a GPS and you can follow the race along with everyone by going to the Canadian Challenge site and clicking on the live tracking button thingie in the near middle of the page.

In case you wanted a picture of the start, here is the only one we have

 Yeah, um... well... Richard and Briffany were busy with getting the Musher and the Pretty Curly Tails into the chute and off without a hitch, and ... well... I don't have thumbs, so this is the best I could do!

Sorry for the lack of details, but Richard has the iphone and the interwebs aren't very sturdy around here.  More later!!!!

- Bet

Monday 18 February 2013

Canadian Challenge Trip and Vet Checks - Bet

Howdy Ho everybodies, it's your Roving Border Collie Reporter, Bet, here, reporting from the site of the Canadian Challenge 2013, Canada's Premiere Mushing Event!!!!

I'm very excited to be here everybodies, because HOOO that drive over here was a bit scary!  We were awfully glad the Richard took the wheel, he's very good at the driving thing, so we didn't end up stuck in the big snow drifts or in a ditch like a lot of the other peoples did.

As you can see, I was very tense during the ride


Um... what are you doing?  I'm trying to sleep here

Briffany, are you drinking my latte?

I'm giving you the evil eye!

Are we there yet?
Yes, you can clearly see that it was a nail biting scary scary drive!

Of course we made a few stops, and since I had packed most of my cold weather fashionable ensembles, the Musher made sure I kept warm by tying me into a blankie

I'd like a sip of MY latte now Briffany
Of course, after all of my work helping to navigate, give advice, direct, and snuggle, by the time we got to the hotel, I was EXHAUSTED!!!

mmm, fleeeeeecy pillow top bed with down honk honk goosey downy down fluff

Has anyone called room service yet?  I'd like a pizza
Of course, there was work to be done, so off we went to get the Pretty Curly Tails to their vet check.  Molly was not really impressed with this part of the race.  Since this was her first ever EVER race... EVER, she wasn't quite expecting the famous Dr. Ruth Sims to pull her arms out of her sockets.  Here's an article about the health checks she did for the race.


Oh, geez, thanks for putting that back in where it belongs
Here is Rocky getting to know Dr. Sims VERY well..

Ok Rocky, turn your head and cough!

Richard is there for emotional bonding and guidance and to keep repeating Rocky's new mantra: "Snowmachine rides are bad, chicks love finishers"

Rocky apparently needs more mentoring as he attempted to drop out of the race on the table
Once again, all of the Pretty Curly Tails passed the vet exam with flying colors and are ready to race... this also means that they were officially marked as ready to race... with green paint... oh the humanity!!!!  Thankfully having had my annual physical a few months ago, nobody dared paint me... it would have clashed with my fabulous ensemble... harumpf!

They painted my white head stripe green... I kinda like it

What's that spray bottle doing in your hand... why are you smiling?

Does this green stripe make my butt look big?

don't look at me!  I'm hideous!!
Ok, so we're all ready to go and will spend tonight double checking and checking and double checking the gear again and again and again and order pizza or something nummy, then when we wake up tomorrow... we'll be busy busy busy getting the Musher ready.  I hope to have more news for you later tomorrow... but in the MEANTIME....

All of the Mushers will get a GPS put onto their sleds!!!  You can follow the race with everybodies!  I certainly hope that all 4,147 of you don't all click the button at the same time, but you can watch the whole race live and as it happens on the GPS things... you too can follow the little dots around the course and watch the fun as it unfolds... and freak out when the dots stop... and ask why the dots aren't moving, and ask why the dot hasn't moved for a long time...

Go to the Canadian Challenge website and there's a 2013 Canadian Challenge Live Tracking button in the middle... ish part of the screen.  If you don't see it, then you may be using a Firefox, which was having issues, or Chrome, which was having issues, or... just try to empty your browser cache (don't ask me, I have no idea, someone told me to say that) or try another browser.  I know it works using  IE, some people can get it using Firefox, and Safari works... just keep trying... steal someone's computer if you must.

Rules of the race, let's just get it over with now:
1.) We'll tell you when we know.  If we don't tell you, we don't know
2.) I don't know who the GPS is.  I had heard that Wayward got demoted from Iditarod because he fell off, and had been working as a GPS on a meat delivery truck in Tupolo, Mississippi...
3.) You can ask questions, we'll try to answer them, but we won't answer "why aren't they moving, why is the sky blue, or if you could be any tree"

Until later folks!