O.K. time for a long overdue Blog. The last one was after following the Iditarod on a snowmachine. Yeah, I am a trader, converted to the iron dog. Man, let me tell ya, handwarmers are a handy invention. The feeding schedule ain´t bad neither. But nope, I am not completely out of dogs. Yes. I have bought some great young dogs from Sven Haltmann and have a litter of Skunk pups, which Gerry Willomitzer is raising. I am even looking for a few more young dogs. No. I am not racing. May old gang, of whom Gerry already said in 2008 that they need a wheelchair, is getting that, older. If I want them to pass on some of their knowledge I better work on that now, as I need to replace them eventually for doing the glacier tours in Juneau. And even without racing, I still love to go on long camping trips. Lot´s of country calling my name. Some I will do by irondog, some I will to by dogteam.
Speaking about the glacier tours. Man, what a season. Rough start. With Matt Giblin dealing with his Iditarod problems, unbeknown to me at the time, I had to start and run the season without him. I had never build a sling load, learning on the go once again, I guess it was about time I learned that part too. When we had all the stuff on the ice, the skies opened up. Between May 2nd and May 12th we received an unbelievable 11 feet of snow. Don´t get me wrong. I like snow. But 11 feet right when building camp was a challenge. Everything got snowed in over and over again. But at least we were on the ice and able to keep digging so things would not disappear for month. On the upside, we had enough snow to easily last us through the season. A rainy season it was. Rainfall Record for June in Juneau. Juneau is in a temperate rainforest. Not known for lack of precipitation. Despite the rough start the crew really came together and in the end it was a great season. It is always very rewarding to hear guests comments like: “ best part of our cruise “, “ nicest day of my life “. August was unusually pleasant weather for Juneau standards, with quite a bit sunshine. A few of those day I was able to go out sailing, visiting places like Sitka and Pelican, seeing whales bubble net feed. South East Alaska is a truly spectacular place. Where else can you go mushing for lunch and whale watching in the afternoon. The decision to stay long into September I still regret, as the rain came back in full force, but we got the stuff off the ice and once again stored away for the winter.
Winter was quick to arrive. Its been a cold, but dry ( I like that part ), October here in Whitehorse. I just came back from a whirlwind trip to Fairbanks and the Copper Valley, pretty much same thing there too. Little snow, but early frozen Rivers and Lakes. With having winter all summer long on the glacier, I have been trying to “ set the season back “, visiting out east in New Hampshire, Main, Vermont a few weeks ago. Indian Summer at its finest. Now I am about to take off again. Yeah, I am still bitten by the travel bug. First stop is Churchill Manitoba to go Polar Bear watching. Something I have wanted to do for years. With Karine and Kelsey ( www.polarbearalley.com ) having a place up there, its too good of an opportunity to pass up on. Taking the slow way up, by train. After Churchill I will once again go back to fall season with a visit to Spain. See if a sailboat will cross my path for a day or two. Once the mushing season will even arrive in Germany in November, its time to visit family and friends again. The plan is to tour throughout the home country and giving quite a few presentations. Looking forward to Christmas cakes, matter of fact looking forward to many Germany foods. Once the new year rolls around, I should arrive back in the Northland, ready to tackle the trails. The plan is to be a race judge for the Yukon Quest.
My dogs will have to vacate the cabin and live in the dogyard for the next 2 month. I am fortunate to have Diana run and take care of them. Its been everything but quite here at the old homestead with Olaf training for the Quest 300 and Rob Cooke training for the Quest 1000. Rob trains hard, hooks up early each day , urgh, where are my earplugs… and has a very nice looking team of beautiful Sibes.
Happy trails to you all, yes I keep the pictures coming, if I will not get eaten by Polar bears.
We made it to the Bear Creek Cabin, which is about 32 miles short of Nikolai. Its been a wild ride as usual. Rainy Pass was windy, but not too bad. Visibility was a real challenge as the light was more than flat. I managed to flip my machine on its side twice. Good thing we were 2 people 2 bring it back upright. And also a good thing we went ahead on the dogteams, so we were not in anybody’s way.
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Short report from 10.30 to 2 p.m.
It is 10.30 and by now there are 5 teams into Rainy Pass. Jim Lanier 71 years young was the last team in. Melissa: “he got a black dog in there?”. My comment: “he needs to drop that”. Hugh and Lance both had some breedings happening, Iditarpuppies! Some good genetics there, talk about born and raised on the trail!!!!
Ray Redington pulled into the Rainy Pass checkpoint first. His dogs looked very energetic. Barking to go. He quickly loaded his food drop bags and headed to his parking spots. The vet crew eagerly waiting. Almost within sight came Hugh Neff onto Puntilla Lake. His team also looked nice and strong.
First Team in. Ray Redington Jr. Started first, came in first. Also came in with a bit of a gap to the second team, being Jody Baily. We passed her coming in alongside a big bonfire. Come to think of it, she had a bale of Straw strapped to the sled, so she might have been close to Ray but will choose to camp. Right behind her was Aliy Zircle and Jeff King behind that. Read the whole post »
First off, I have to admit I overslept this morning. I guess that is how it goes, if you are not a musher pumped full of adrenaline. Got to 4th Avenue late, was kicked out I do not how many times from the dog staging area, that I lost count. And that was even with wearing a damn handlers-mushers badge.
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Sebastian just passed under the arch in Nome and finished his Iditarod 2010 with 13 dogs. Unfortunately he didn’t win but he placed on a very good 7th place.
While Sebastian is heading for the last 77 miles to Nome, Lance Mackey makes history is now the first musher winning the Iditarod 4 times in a row.
GRATULATION LANCE – GOOD JOB !!!
Mar 11 – 3.00 AK (13.00 MEZ) In the official standing Sebastian is “only” in 12th position, but when we take into count that he already spend his mandatory 24h layover (together with Jeff King, Hugh Neff and Mitch Seavey) then we see him in the Top-4.
Mar 9 – 4:30 AK (14:30 MEZ) Sebastian leads the pack with about 9 miles before Mitch Seavey, Hugh Neff and John Baker – hoping that’s not a disadvantage as it snowed some feets last week and so he has to break trail.