Monday, December 27, 2010
I think that's it for now. Happy New Year from all of us here at the kennel.
Monday, December 06, 2010
The team was moving nicely up a side-hilly incline and we got to a junction which we call 'Moose Camp.' So far this year, we've gone left. Today I wanted to go right. Since we got new snow, the trail to the left wasn't even there anymore and the trail to the right was a highway, so I figured it wouldn't be an issue. Instinctively, my leaders - Ku and his son Tim - turned left. I stepped on the brake and told them 'Gee!' They went right. Good dogs. But then they ducked back over to the left. 'No, Ku! Gee!' Ku moved back over but this time, since we had moved forward a little, he and Tim went the wrong way around a big hump topped with a big stump. Dammit. I was now in powder, so there was no setting a hook. Well, Ku and Tim were pointed the way I wanted them to go, so we might just have to climb up and over this stumpy hump. So be it. I call the team up and off we went, each pair going up and over. Easy. Until my wheel dogs, Crush and Doyon got there. They went on either side of the stump and Crush's tugline got caught up. Double dammit. The team came to a stop and before I even realized what I was doing I ran up while the team was still fairly calm (confused) and pulled back on the gangline, releasing Crush's tugline and thus sending the whole operation slingshotting forward. I turned to get ready to catch my sled, got hit with the brushbow and rolled onto the sledbag. I grabbed the handlebar, flopped off the sled and, hand over hand, worked my way back. We were heading downhill so I tipped my sled hoping to create enough drag that the dogs would stop momentarily so I could get back on the runners. They did and I did. Off we went, the dogs with a renewed vigor knowing they had dumped me, and me with a parka full of snow and a huge, embarrassed grin on my face.
These days we still not doing big miles but gradually increasing and just having a bit of fun. I've come to the realization that I have to get a real (read: full time) job. I'm still planning on a entering a couple of races at the end of the season and we're still going to do some weekend tours, but taking the winter off from a full time job is just not feasible right now. I put a lot of pressure on myself and it's made things that I used to love doing very, very stressful. So, I'm taking the stress out and getting back to basics. A 1,000 mile race is still on my radar, but not this year and not next. Meanwhile, we've got all the dogs running and they're having fun, too.
Heading down the Swiss Cheese Trail.
Ku, on the left, cooling off while Tim looks on.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We take off for New York early next week for the family Thanksgiving event and I'm really excited for a holiday. Yes, upstate New York qualifies as a holiday, thank you very much. Our friend Tory will be taking care of the dogs while we're away and has promised to take Roy on a few outings when we're gone.
Rich is still working his butt off at the winery and the new winery building, and I'm working as an Outreach Advocate for the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic. The hours are really flexible which is perfect for running the dogs and my co-workers are really nice. We focus on women's health so I'm actually learning a lot, too.
I'd like to welcome Susan Tavares and Mark Atkins to the Spitfire family. They both made a generous donation to the kennel which will help with dog food and other day-to-day expenses around the kennel this winter. Thank you so much for your support.
I think that's it for now. Time to feed the mutts and head to work.
SNOW!!! And lots of it!
Friday, November 05, 2010
We've decided to bite the bullet and buy a snowmachine. We just can't rely on other people to break open trails for us anymore, especially when it really starts snowing here. We also need it for getting wood to heat our cabin.
I took off a couple days ago to visit Libby (Casey) who was in Anchorage from D.C. covering the election for APRN, for whom she works in Washington. We realized we hadn't seen each other in nearly three years!! We both talked a mile a minute and it was so nice to catch up and reminisce. I drove up in a snowstorm and had to keep pulling over just to unclench. I listened to three-year-old podcasts of This American Life because for some reason, Ira Glass really calms me down. Don't ask why because I don't know. "Act one: fishtailed through Sterling. Act two: nearly hit the ditch coming down Turnagain Pass." And on and on. I left the next day in a blizzard but the plows were out and the roads weren't as bad. I returned to new snow here at the old Love Shack and am looking forward to less bumpy times ahead. That's it for now.
I've been trying to put some pics up, but it's not working and irritating me so you'll just have to imagine for now. Sorry.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
That's about it. We're excited for our trip to New York for Thanksgiving.
We're giving the main team a day off today but will run the pups and oldies...I'll take some photos on the run...
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Leaving the yard with a team before heading out for our road trip. You can see our cabin with the new addition on the back.
Rich and I coming back from the second run. Tim and Hazel in wheel with old Sister and young Linus in front of them.
The great Denali, North America's highest peak. Here she is on a nice calm day.
The wind was rippin' on Denali a fews later.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Yes, people, I am living the dream.
The last days on the glacier were pretty uneventful. Bad weather, I think. I've pretty much blocked it all out. The transition from ice to ground went surprisingly well. I was saddened to hear that the very tour after I got down to the ground had a woman on it who was looking for me. Apparently, she's been reading the blog and wanted a ride with the Spitfire crew. So, Mrs. So-and-so (sorry, I didn't get your name from Andy) this is an invitation to come to Homer this winter and take a ride with us. Heck, you even have a place to stay with all the room we have now.
Upon arrival back home, Rich and I spent a day relaxing and unpacking. And now we're in full swing with training pups, looking for land and getting ready for the winter tour and race season. We've got a freezer full of moose, salmon, halibut and other goodies for us and the dogs this winter and will picking up our first ton of kibble in the next week or so. The weather here has been clear and sunny with temps cool enough in the mornings to run the dogs. The newest pups are doing great and getting better with each short run. The glacier dogs will be back in action this week and then, I'll be training three teams! Of course, Rich will be there too, but with him still working long days at the winery, most of the training will be left up to me. I can't wait for winter! We still need to stockpile more wood to keep us warm this winter, but we've got enough now for a while yet.
Rich's parents arrive on the 17th for a week or so, and we'll take a few days to road trip with them, which I'm also really looking forward to. I think that's it for now. Expect more regular updates. Here are some photos from our first week training the puppy team. They actually look like real sled dogs now!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
On a good note, I've only got two weeks left until I get home to my baby and my little cabin and fall training and a budding winter business and Roy and, and, and...good things are going to happen this winter, I can feel it!! I'm excited to race this season and start in earnest on my book and, and, and....
You know, it's funny, whilst wallowing in my sorrows on the glacier during the endless weather days, I'm surprised to find that I am actually enjoying the people around me. I know! I was surprised this past week when a few of my fellow glacier geeks left early and I was genuinely sad to see them go. I even cried a little...but don't tell anyone....
Peter is recovering down here in Juneau, we've acquired a few more dogs from our friend Greg AND we have a four-wheeler! Things are looking up.
Since I have been too 'blech' to take many photos I'm adding a few taken of me by other people. Stealing them, if you will. Enjoy! All of the following photos were taken by my ex-roomie Tessa and used without permission. Sorry about the sizing...blame Tessa...
Trying to get the group assembled for a group photo...Josh's ass kept getting in the way...
Monday, July 26, 2010
Peter's foot is still infected. It's been two months. I am fearing the worst. He's still on antibiotics and hopefully a vet will be up soon to look at him again. He's been hanging out in my tent a lot so his foot can stay dry, but it's still oozing. His spirits are good though and he's eating well, so we'll see what happens.
The countdown to Homer and my Rich is on!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here are some photos that Kym and I took on our hike to the ice caves.
Kym and Dustin on the way to the caves.
Getting there was half the fun. It wasn't a long hike but there was some rock scrambling and river jumping.
Kym, me and Tessa at the toe of the glacier.
Heading into the caves. I can't even begin to describe how cool it was. What a nice way to spend my 33rd birthday. It would have been perfect if Rich was there to share this cool adventure.
A completely different world.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Peter, on the right, when he was healthy. Here's wishing a speedy recovery to my Sneaky One.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
A word about weather days on the glacier: They suck. Nice segue, eh?
This week on the glacier was full of crappy weather which means, very few tours. Which in turn means, I don't get paid. Yes, we get paid by the tour and when the tours don't come, we sit in the rain, in our tents and make the best of it. I learned how to crochet. I am also the reigning champ at speed Scrabble. Sorry this is a short post, but we're on our way back up to the glacier. I'll post more next time, I promise. Thank you to all the supporters who have left comments or emailed me, I really appreciate it. Meanwhile, enjoy photos of my first three attempts to crochet myself a hat. None of them fit my head, thought the last one was really close.