{Tsuga Siberians}
July 27th, 2009 - "Big Changes"
 

 

New Additions: NorthWapiti's Boom & NorthWapiti's Togo

Hello all.
I know Iím very overdue for this update. Itís been a busy time since my last DogLog with major happenings. Iíll try to get yaíll up to date on things with TeamTsugaÖ
Ok, where to start? Well, the trip home from Alaska in March held the first big change, as we left our visit with Karen and Mark Ramstead with two new dogs in our truck. Karen apparently has a very good memory and offered us two boys that had stood out to us and we had made mention of to her. Togo was actually born in NH at Kim and Kellyís and weíd known him from a puppy. I brought him to Karen on my spring 2007 trip to Alaska to run the Taiga 300 for my pre-Quest qualifier. Boom is a son of Moses and a dog whose long legs, good looks, and happy attitude will be a great addition to our team. We really needed a couple more solid, strong, bigger boys in the team with Jim and Curly retiring. It may take three or four more dogs to fill Jimís spot in the team, but we hope Togo and Boom will make the race team this winter and weíre enjoying having them in the kennel.

 


Birch & Wyatt

Sadly, not long after we got back to New Hampshire, we lost our Birch. She was the puppy I gave Sue as an engagement present and she became the matriarch of TeamTsuga. Loosing both Wyatt and Birch within a couple of months was tough for us, but in some way itís fitting that they would go together. When Wyatt bred Birch and began our kennel in 1998, our future changed forever. Weíll miss them, but always remember and cherish what they gave us. One of my favorite Birch stories comes from the first time I reached the finish line of the Can-Am 250. I was overjoyed with accomplishment but exhausted as I worked through the dogs at the truck in the parking lot in the dawn light of a sub-zero morning. Laying on the snow with Birch, rubbing her legs, she reached up to my face to chew the ice out of my beard; biting and breaking the ice like she would do to clean her own feet/legs. She was careful and methodical and didnít stop until my face was clear of ice. After 250 race miles and our first distance finish line as a team, my Birch was busy looking after me, just as I had done my best to look after her. Iíll always believe the more you do for your dogs, the more theyíll do for you. Thanks Birch.

 


Eliza gave us 4 new pups!
 
 
Stinson
 
 
Baker
 
Bebee

Pemi

At the start of June, Eliza delivered 4 beautiful new pups. Ambler became a proud daddy for the first time. Weíll see how breeding two of our rowdiest and loudest, but also hardest working and smoothest moving dogs works out. Our hopes are high for them, of course. For now, they are growing well, learning words and ways, and just being rowdy puppies. Itís been a pleasure every day to have pups around again.
 


New house, pre-addition

As far as other news, we finally sold our house in the end of June. Our camp sold shortly thereafter. We are living at a friendsí house temporarily while we finish up our obligations here in New Hampshire and wait for the puppies to be old enough to travel. Where are we going? Well, youíve probably guessed if you didnít know Ė ALASKA! We have put a deposit down on a small house in Two Rivers that mushers Aliy Zirkle and Allen Moore had just built and are finishing with some touches for us. We are super excited to finally be relocating to a place where we can run dogs safely and efficiently from home for the majority of the year. Leaving our friends and family is very difficult and more than a little sad. Luckily, they seem to understand our passion and support our move. We hope theyíll all find a time to come visit us in the Great Land. We expect to be in Alaska by the end of August, ready to start making Two Rivers our home and get the team training earlier and more seriously than ever.

What will we be training for?? Well, after we add a couple more dogs via our friends Rich and Loranne, our team will once again be at a point where we plan to train for and compete competitively in the Yukon Quest. This race has very much grabbed us and held on. Last yearís scratch was dreadfully disappointing at the time, but in many ways, I feel we proved more in our second Quest than our first. We were moving along at a very competitive pace before injuries incurred on the Yukon River ended our race at Circle. The dogs that remained completely healthy were strong and moving along very well. Although I had slowed down in the second half of the race after leaving Dawson with only 9 dogs, the team was still on schedule to finish at least a day faster than in 2008. Iíve been asked numerous times since we made the decision to move to Alaska if we will switch to running Alaskan huskies to become more competitive. I donít have to think about my answer. I know that I still have much to learn to become a better musher. I still feel I can do better with my team. We still love the dogs we have and donít consider them interchangeable. I am very happy to stay with the dogs we have and continue to try to do what people say canít be done. We WILL be competitive with Siberian Huskies. Go ahead, tell us we canít. Weíve heard it all beforeÖ

So, itís off to Alaska. Scary and intimidating at times. Sad to be leaving our longtime home, wonderful friends and family, and everything weíve built here. But excited and ready to start a new chapter in our lives and our kennel. Alaska, here we come!

 

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