{Tsuga Siberians}
February 8th, 2009 - "Wyatt's Way"
 

 
Cutting up meat.
Packing lots of gear.

I had started a doglog all about how our drop bags for Quest were finished, the major miles of training are over, and we are just riding on in to the start line of our second Yukon Quest with the best team we’ve ever had the honor to run. Then we got an email from our friend back east with whom we left our six retired dogs this winter. He had news that our dear friend and the very start of Tsuga Siberians had passed away in his sleep. Wyatt turned 14 just last month and we weren’t completely surprised by his passing, but we are very sad that we could not be there with him at the end of his time.

13 year old Wyatt getting some air on a training run last winter.


Wyatt had seen the entire life of our kennel. He was the very first puppy I raised and he wasn’t always an easy one. I started with him ski-jouring my way through the New Hampshire woods, teaching him commands and him teaching me about friendship, endurance, and drive. He always wanted to go further and see what was around the next corner. Very honestly, he was never as happy as when he had his harness on and it was time to go running. When Sue and Birch came into our lives, we had both found the loves of our lives. About a year after Sue and I got married, Wyatt opened the gate between his and Birch’s kennel and bred Birch, without our permission. Sixty-three days later, Tsuga Siberians was born with our first litter. Wyatt had his way and he finally had enough help that we could graduate from ski-jouring to running a sled. By 2000, Wyatt and Birch were joined by the three puppies we kept, Jim, Squiggle, and Kobuk, on our first races. We had to run 5 dogs in the 6 dog class of 30 mile events, because that was what we had. We finished just our second race ever, the popular and well-attended Sandwich Notch 30, in second place with Wyatt leading the way. We knew pretty early on we were on to something with some special dogs. Since those early days of our kennel, we’ve grown and learned a lot along the way, Wyatt’s way. We will miss our dear friend and mentor. Thanks for everything Wyatt. We love you and will miss you.

Thankfully, Wyatt lives on within our kennel. All but 5 dogs in the entire kennel are his kids or grandkids. Of my Quest team, 10 of the 14 are descendant from my Wy-guy. We are deeply grateful that they have inherited his drive and desire to get on down the trail.
Now, as we are ready to set off on our second Yukon Quest, we’ll draw on Wyatt’s strength and determination to run the long trail the very best we now how. Which brings me full circle to our Quest. The competition is very stiff this year and although I hope to improve my time significantly from last year, we have no idea where that will place us in the final standings. Last year the goal was simply to finish. This year we are racing for the best results we can achieve with what we have. We vet-checked 15 dogs last weekend, but really only have 14 that are truly ready for 1000 miles. Wyatt’s son, 10 year old Jim, is now the patriarch of the kennel and this will be his last race ever, whatever happens. His kids, Wilson, Reba, Eliza, Hood, Logan, Merlin, Lotus, and Trip will join Ambler, Stump, Mugs, Gila, and Gecko on the team.
 

Jim
(M)
10 yrs old
 

Wilson
(M)
3 yrs old
 

Reba
(F)
3 yrs old
 

Eliza
(F)
3 yrs old
 

Hood
(M)
3 yrs old
 

Logan
(M)
3 yrs old
 

Merlin
(M)
3 yrs old
 

Lotus
(F)
3 yrs old
 

Trip
(F)
3 yrs old
 

Ambler
(M)
6 yrs old

Stump
(M)
6 yrs old

Mugs
(F)
6 yrs old

Gila
(F)
6 yrs old

Gecko
(M)
6 yrs old
       

Sue and Zirkle are my handlers and we’re still hoping everything will work out for Moe to join us in Dawson for the 36-hour layover there. Everything is set and we’re ready to drive the 12 hours to Whitehorse tomorrow for a week’s worth of pre-race events before Saturday’s start on the Yukon River.  
Almost done packing....
Closing up bags.
Drop bag drop off.
Taking blood for the Mike Davis research study & Stump at the vet check.


We’d really like to thank all the folks who have helped us get here again. Our friends and family mean everything to us. Thank you. The businesses (Mountain Ridge, CB Sleds, and Loyall Dog Food) that have stepped up this year to meet our needs in tough financial times are critical. Thank you. All of you that have sent messages in the last few weeks wishing us luck, thank you. This one’s for Wyatt and Romeo. Thanks boys. Ready? Let’s go…
 

 

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