Saturday, May 29, 2010

We all try harder as the days run out

My face feels leathery. Like an old catcher's mitt. Despite slathering on layers and layers of SPF 50 sunblock, I have a dark tan/burn on my face. I wear big glacier glasses to protect my eyes and thus have the worst tan lines ever. I'm serious. I look like a freak. We all have it, but still.
Despite my freakish raccoon tan, things are rolling along swimmingly on the Mendenhall Glacier. We're getting ever busier and I'm exhausted. The dogs are doing great despite very hot temperatures the last several days. They don't run much compared to winter training, but they're pulling heavy loads in punchy conditions and it's just enough to keep them active and happy. Plus, they get loads of pets and pats from kind strangers. Mr. Lahey, with her blue eyes and fair skin isn't doing so well and will most likely get sent down to the ground to run with a friend and super dog driver who is working for AIE's cart-tour operation. I'm sad at the thought of sending my celebrity micro-tiny away, but it's the best thing for her health.
I miss Rich terribly, but am busy enough now that at least I can focus on that. He is working his butt off at the winery and we are both saving every penny for the winter. I don't have any new photos to share but tomorrow I am pulling out my big camera to try and capture some of the beauty and goings-on up on the Mendenhall. I'll post again when I come down Thursday night.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's so bad, it's got to be good

Down on dry land once again and it is oh, so good. I never thought I'd say this, but it's good to get out of the earlobes are sunburnt!! Ouch. The dogs and I are adjusting well to life on the glacier. I'm loving the tours and have met some amazing people from every corner of the world. I gave a tour to a family from Dubai the other day. Crazy. Lots of Aussies and families from India and all over South America. I usually wind up asking my guests more questions about where they live than they ask about the dogs.
It's been challenging keeping the dogs eyes healthy but I've been very proactive about giving drops and getting the dogs with more sensitive peepers out of the sun. The days are getting busier as the season gets underway and before I know it, it's 10 p.m. and I am more than ready to snuggle into my sleeping bag. Our weatherport tent is cozy with a little propane heater and my sleeping bag is good to 40 below, so even though it dips below freezing at night, I'm usually pretty comfortable at night. We have a chef that cooks all our meals and the food has been spectacular. Too good, even...I eat way too much.
I've been running Nova and Bully in lead with less experienced dogs and so far every dog has been doing a great job. It's nice to have them working in the off-season again.
Here are some photos from around the camp.

Running dogs in paradise.

'Upgrade' wearing a pair of doggles to protect his eyes from the sun. Yes, it's a real thing.

The kitchen tent.

Andy demonstrates our morning ritual: sunscreen and lots of it!

And big sunglasses. Ear protection is also good when the helicopters are in.

Kyle and Alissa discuss the stock market and world events.

The camp from the air.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The sun no longer sets me free

Sorry for the delay, but I've been...LIVING ON A GLACIER!! Glacier life has been interesting. The weather changes on a dime and it's hard to stay dry...but all in all, it has been an adventure that I won't soon forget. I have that 'I-live-on-a-glacier' tan line around my eyes. But rather than bore you with lots of words, I've decided to post photos of our trip to Juneau and my first weeks on the Medenhall Glacier. The season is just getting underway so we're not that busy yet but oh, the tourists will come. And we can't wait! I've had some great people already...including, but not limited to, an awesome couple from Arizona. I miss Rich more than I could ever write here but I know he misses me just as much, so we're getting by. More on my next day on the ground.

Dog noses poking out at our first stop in Chistochina. We stayed with our good friends Darrin and Heidi after a long day of driving.

On the second night, we stayed at Kathleen Lake outside of Haines Junction, Yukon.

It was beautiful and secluded.

My two best boys: Rich and Bully.

Rich and Joe testing the ice on Kathleen Lake.

We woke up to several inches of fresh snow.

Upon arrival on the glacier, I was overwhelmed by the beauty.

Our tent city.

My dog yard.

Inside my tent, which is pretty much always cold and which I share with two other girls

Tourists on the tag sled and a loose dog running behind.

Each day after tours we walk the trail to scoop up poo. This is fellow musher Kym, and our handler Ben.

My trail-scooping mobile. I take a small team out to scoop trail. In lead on this day was Foxy and Peter.

Coming into Juneau for my first day off. I was almost two weeks on the glacier before I was able to come down to the ground for a shower!