Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall, or early winter in Two Rivers is golden. I have left behind the deep greens, deeper grays of Juneau where everything is muted by rain. Soon our “Pleasant Valley” will be whitened with hoar frost and a few hours of a weak and milky sun. But now, everything glows. The sun is still bright enough to reflect off the crust of snow. The sedges and hay still sway gold and if you get out early enough they are still coated in frozen dew. Even though the leaves of the fireweed are bent and brittle they still have a brown “sun-baked” look to them. If I were to pick a soundtrack to the landscape the dogs steadily pull me and the 4-wheeler through it would be epic, operatic, or symphonic. But really I am listening to reggae, RHCP, and 311(oo0o amber is the color of your energy…) which is fine. It is a nice happy rhythm to cruise to, we aren’t building on speed right now just strength and endurance. I am running 2 ten dog teams, and 1 nine(old guys and pups) everyday so that leaves for plenty of socialization with all the mushers of Two Rivers, “Hi Judy, hi Rick, hi Allen, Aily, Jason, Susan, Judy‘s handler.” Some people don’t have names because I don’t know who they are. “I saw Carhartt Guy today.” We aren’t all spread out yet with big miles so we have lots of encounters.
The sun is also one of the best improvements of the new dog yard. Our old yard was kind of in a hole. Surrounded by tall black spruce, it didn’t let much light in. It made for a dark cold dog yard. For property value purposes our stubby black spruce that surround the new yard are less than desirable, but for us it’s a vast improvement. Its also a great spot for stargazing. Last night I saw the whole winter hexagon. A group of 6 constellations, each with a bright star making up the points of the hexagon. Taurus, Orion, Canis Major and Minor, Gemini, and Auriga. The waning gibbous moon was right dab in the middle of it when we got home last night from seeing my friend Brady’s band, Sweatin’ Honey. They rocked the Howling Dog. Good thing because there is no heat in the Howling Dog, so they had to churn up some dancers to make it warm in the joint. It was nice to get out and see live music, it will probably be the last time in a while. It will be a busy winter, so Jim and thought we might as well get out while we still can. Well it time to feed dogs and get on with the chores, so I can get to work on time. Even though it is totally irrelevant I will end with a line from Sweatin’ Honey just because I liked it,

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cosmic Canines are Quest bound!!!!

I don’t know how one could feel nervous and excited as well as somewhere deep down, calm and relieved all at the same time. But that would be how I would describe how I feel after turning in my completed Yukon Quest Race Application. After 9 years I am finally going to tackle the adventure again, its been too long. Somehow that makes me feel a kind of peace. A generous sponsor from my employers, Alaska Icefield Expedetions, unhooked the snap at the end of the chain I’ve been yanking on for years and after running full speed for a while down the trail, experience tells me I better slow down, it’s a LONG TRAIL AHEAD. But still…
Time to EAT SLEEP DRINK BREATHE DOGS. Sounds like heaven!
We had a quick trip, though greatly delayed trip from Juneau. The other exciting event this winter is living in our new house. We got the dog yard put in, that was a project. Pounded all 30 posts in by hand, by myself. Moved 3 trailer loads of dog houses. The dogs were staged at Kris’s place 5 miles away, I was going to do whatever it took to get the dogs home ASAP. Soon we will have a well house, imagine running water! Busted out our out trail. What a magic carpet ride compared to where we had to run last winter. No more traveling down icy roads, dodging cars. No more 90 degrees turns 100 feet into our runs. Just a nice gradually turning private trail off the property, then down a powerline right onto Baseline, the main vein that connects many of the trails here in Two Rivers.
The dogs look good, strong, mature. Snow is on the ground. The freezer is full of moose (thanks to Jim’s 69 inch moose), rock fish, and smoked salmon. Spent the last couple of days at the Mushing Symposium, catching up with every musher on earth, getting inspired, researching. Booties are on the way, ointments ordered. Stockpile, stockpile; Batteries, handwarmers, snaps, runner plastic.
I also signed up for our first race, the Gin Gin 200 on December 27th. Unique in that it is an all women’s race. Just about every woman musher I talked to is running the race too. So its sounds like it will be a nice turnout.