Friday, April 29, 2005

Spring activities in full swing

Right now spring has sprung in the Yukon! What a great feeling. It's gotten really warm here really quickly. The dark winter days are long gone and now the long sunny days bring a sense of renewed energy and life to everyone and everything. Now it's time to get the dogs out for free runs down by the river - most of them LOVE to swim and wade in the water! See?!?
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
It usually goes like this with these four - Kuna goes out first, then his little harem (or ducklings) follow swimming behind. It's hilarious to watch. They weren't into swimming too much today. Maybe because the water is so freaking FREEZING!!!!!??!!!

This is a classic head shaking shot, which I didn't realize I captured until I downloaded the photos.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Hey guys! Check out that crevasse!!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

With the onset of spring, it's time for:

Paddling:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Steph and the *iceberg* - a beautiful +20 day, but there is still a bit of ice in the river.

Takeout is easy when you can drag the canoe along the ice!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Bonfires!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
I would tell more about this evening... but don't really remember...

Now if I can get rid of these damned viruses on my computer, I may be able to blog regularly once again. Although it is tough to stay inside when the outside beckons!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Holy internet withdrawal...

So I'm going through a bit of a *dark spell* right now. I'm currently having computer problems, so I'm having trouble finding an outlet for all my dog drivel!! I'm going to implode. In the meantime, I'm must be driving my friends nuts...(ok, only the non-dogsled friends) with all my yabbering about my dog crap. And we're talking literally here. One thing I'm sure Tyson would have rathered I DIDN'T share with him is my ever exciting drive to the dump last week with some doggie dung (god, do I need to get busier or what?!?). Some of the bags had the bottoms drop out (dog food bags - not exactly waterproof) and thanks to all this melting, I had a lovely trip and subsequent cleaning out of the back of the truck. Garbage juice is one thing... but poop juice is entirely another!

Anyways, updates will be sporadic till I get this figured out. Good news is that the yard is all nice and dry and not totally unpleasant and disgusting to walk through! Woo hoo!

Also, Ivy had to go into surgery last week- that's 2 abcesses in my yard in a month. Totally unrelated, yet the pus keeps flowing. Hopefully this is the last visit to the vet for a while. I have just switched to this new clinic (they are great), but they all already know me to well. I'm seeing way too much of them. But Ivy is doing great, and even came out for a run today. She has no problem with this tube hanging out of her throat. Or me coming out to clean it and flush it and play with it twice/day.

Boy, talk about getting young dogs used to new and different things - how about wading through deeper than belly deep water/mud/muck?!? It wasn't my plan (these things rarely are...), but lo and behold, the roads are pretty dry but the one sideroad was a gooky mess. It was fun, and I went into it wondering if the 4-wheeler would make it through as I saw the dogs sink down and almost disappear! The 4-wheeler did fine, and the pups acted as if they'd been through this stuff a hundred times. All the leaders went through it fine - especially Kate - who I think LOVES spring training just so she can dive into EVERY PUDDLE THAT EXISTS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!! I made the mistake of letting her do that last year (oh, they need the break... yeah, to cool off...), and now it's becoming a bit annoying because there is puddles all the way down the roads. She pretends she doesn't hear me (she may almost be 13, but her hearing is damned fine when I whisper "cookie, Kate?"), and kept plowing through the water. At one point all the dogs were running in the watery ditch beside the nice dry road. It's not like it was hot out either, it was cloudy and cool. Then I got annoyed, as did Ripper who was her co-pilot and finally yarded her over onto the dry road - and did so for the rest of the run. She has trouble yanking him back if he doesn't want to be there, so it went fine after that.

I didn't even bring the camera on the mud run! Damn. Next time...

Anyways, it was a blast - Jack & Harris led the next team and even though Harris had a thing with avoiding water last spring, he was blazing through this stuff like he was "Aqua-Dog!" I was expecting to have to drag them through it... but apparently THIS YEAR spring puddles are OK!?! And George, who wasn't crazy about getting wet before, was dragging her running partner, Lucy into the deeper part of the puddle. Why are my dogs so weird this year? Hmmm... maybe I'll reflect on that since I have more free time now...

Ok, time for a beer.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Career move?!?

Hey, check this shit out!!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Ok, no that's not me in that purty dress (although I am pretty much known around these parts for strutting around in early 1900-era outfits...)

Check out the last feature near the bottom, entitled "STACIE'S DOGS"!!! Yeah, that's right, I'm now a published author!! Woo hoo - fame and fortune await!! Really! Or so they tell me - apparently the cheque is "in the mail!"

(and YES MOM - your 57 copies are on their way!!)

For those interested, let me know if you want a copy. Or go to
www.yukoner.com to order your own copy.... TODAY!! And tell them that Stacie & her dogs should be a regular permanent feature!!! (and I will send each of you something of... value... yeah, that's it...)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Return Trip

Woke up the next morning fairly early (7am early!) as I was a bit chilled. Putting on freezing cold (some frozen) clothes and frosty boots was great fun! Why were we doing this again?!? Oh yeah, it's FUN!! Anyways, it was a good incentive to get a fire going:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The girls keeping warm in the morning - yes there are dogs in there! You can *kind of* see Gracie & George in there all curled up in amongst the fleece and sleeping bags:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Harris & Lucy getting cozy:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And short-haired Jack claimed my fleece the next morning. Yeah, it's ok guys, you keep sleeping while I put on cold clothes and boots and make your breakfast!! I don't mind being your slave as you guys are dragging my ass and gear all over the wilderness! I'm fine with that. They got up when they were good n' ready...
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It was a rather uneventful run on the way back, but fun nontheless. It did start out a bit hairy as the trail out from camp was a bit tricky and the dogs were super excited to get going. But all went well, and Ray & I headed out last.

Heading back on Sunday. This is one shot where the dogs are actually all straight in a line... lookin' good! I put Harris up in lead with Ripper despite their mutual *semi-hatred* for each other. I had lent 2 leaders to Tyson and didn't want to use Jack in lead, so I didn't have a lot of options. So with these two, I found not using a neckline helped (they didn't HAVE to be too close to each other). Ripper was great as usual, and Harris really showed some improvements on this trip. They all seemed to mature a bit over the weekend. The hills (and there was one really good steep long one), posed no problem to them and they all (Gracie & George included!) worked well on them.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Love this shot of Octane in the back with his tongue slurping. And Ripper, once again while in lead - checking out what I'm up to, or... forgetting which way is FORWARD!!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Back at the truck - Jack & Kate:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Loki - did really well on this whole trip. He does have some *issues* with chewing necklines and grabbing the gangline and pulling back on it when we are taking a break that he's not ready for. But you can't fault the poor guy for his sheer excitement!! Something to work on this summer...

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Rest of the team:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And that's just about it for sledding this season. This trip went so well, I hope to get out a lot more on overnighters like this. Having a REAL dogbox next year should help me with the travelling situation and make it a lot easier.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sean's dogs, ready to hit the road.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Camping Trip Part 2

So we arrived mid-afternoon at the camp spot and it took a while to get everything for the dogs set up before we could unhook them. They were still raring to go and wanted to keep heading down the trail, and were sort of confused as we staked them out. But the weather was just to warm for these furry beasts! We had a short run planned for later that night as it cooled off.

L-R: Rupert, Kate and Tyson's new Irish (or Scottish?) dog, " Patty" or "weeee Patty"- as we were referring to her with our thick Scottish accents later that night. See, this does make sense in a way, Laura is Scottish with a thick accent, Ray and Tyson have Irish backgrounds, and all (plus Sean) can do great Scottish accents. Or, maybe it just seemed that way as the beer flowed?!?
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Note 13-yr old Kate in the middle - looking like she needed the rest. But she performed flawlessly on Tyson's team - and the rest did her well, because the next day they were really flying down the trail! I think Kate was trying to lose me as a way of saying "I bet you wish you had ME on your team....sucker! I'll show you for passing me off to your friend!"

As I went to snap the above photo, Laura stepped into the frame and looked like she was doing the Chicken Dance!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The Gang: Laura - way too interested in her methyl hydrate - whereas the guys are more interested in the important things...beer!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Check out those new alcohol cookers of Laura's and mine. Our exciting purchases from Alaska. They worked great, but I used up about 4 Litres of Methyl Hydrate! I was obsessed with melting snow and passing out hot water to anyone who would take it. Ah, good times...

The dogs don't take long to settle in.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us


My guys did really well on what was their first overnighter. For the first bit, they were the most howly and whiny out of all the dogs, but soon figured out what the deal was. Another run that night tired them out a bit before bed and they slept well all night. They were fairly quiet until Harris thought he heard something in the dark at like, 3am, and got my other dogs up and woofing at whatever it was Harris thought he saw. I say "thought" because not one of the other dogs in the other teams sensed anything.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

That little hovel with straw in it would be my bed for the night. I had George and Gracie to help keep me warm.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Night falls and here I am going over the days photos. I learned a lot from this trip. Most important is to bring EXTRA CLOTHES!! Check out those wet pants - they were frozen solid the next morning (luckily I did have extras). Also good thing to remember is to undo the bunny boot laces. I could barely wedge my cold feet in those frozen things the next morning!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

View from above the camp. The dogs on the left are Laura's, Sean's and Tyson's. Mine and Ray's are on the right of the frame.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

And it ain't over yet! Somehow I am managing to spend more time writing about this trip than it actually took!

To be continued...

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Perfect way to end the season...pt.1

What better way to cap off the season than a beautiful weekend camping out with the dogs. Not sure if I'll get out on the sled again this season (there IS snow, you just have to get to it), and if we don't, I think the dogs and I are more than fine with that.

A bunch of us headed to Haines Junction to meet up at our friend, Sean's place. We arrived Friday night and hung out for a while discussing the plans for the next 2 days. The plan was to follow the Silver Sled trail. The trail had been groomed and packed all year after each snowfall to keep the trail in great shape for the Silver Sled race. It was still in great shape when we hit it. There were a few bare spots, and a few soft spots, but mostly the trail was great.
Friday night after we arrive in Haines Junction:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Pups on yet another road trip. They stayed back at Sean's (along with Kuna and Gabe) and didn't come on the trip, since they're not quite up to an overnighter yet. They took all this in stride though, and were very excited to see me when we returned. Nice to see us bonding already!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The trucks at the starting point just off the highway. I had to stomp a trail through to the main trail (where I am standing to take the photo). The snow was unbelievably deep! Thigh deep or so. We got off 2nd last and the dogs did great making their way through this soft, deep stuff to the main trail.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Finally! After weeks of planning, hours of organization and driving, we finally hit the trail! Woohoo! If you look real hard, you can see teams ahead of me - Tyson and Laura.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

For day one, I had Ripper and Octane in lead. I had 8 dogs including these leaders - Lucy, Loki, George, Gracie, Jack & Harris. Tyson took my Kate and Rupert with him in his team.

Ray heading up the rear on Saturday - hey... is that a beer in his hand!!??
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Photo op!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This old roadhouse is off to the right of the trail. This trail is an old historic wagon road which leads to Silver City. A small settlement was established at Silver City around 1903-1904 at the time of the Kluane gold rush. The town was largely abandoned by 1924, when gold was discovered near Burwash. However in 1942, with the construction of the Alaska Hwy, a construction camp was located here. Today there is the Kluane Bed & Breakfast there, and you can see the remains of some structures, including fox farming pens and buildings, a military complex and a N.W.M.P. post. Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Unfortunately we didn't go all the way to Silver City, or I would have a crapload more of these historic photos...Because it was almost +8C out, we decided to stop after a less than a couple hours on the trail. The dogs were really warm, so were we. We decided to stop, make camp, then do a run later on further down the trail. Here's my crew waiting as we stomp out trails and set up the dog areas:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Time for change...

Settling in on the new format and kennel name.... we're just not very "chaotic" anymore!