{Tsuga Siberians}

November 27th, 2007 - “Chugging Along”

Stump & Mugs leading the team

Sue with Ambler

Quiet Lake

Howdy again from the Yukon.   We've had some serious troubles  emailing, so I haven't gotten more out to Kim back in NH.   We'll  keep trying...  If you are trying to contact us by email, please try  us at tsugasiberians@mac.com

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  We had our "Yankee"  Thanksgiving with Moe, Jere, Finn and Maible next door, and a fine  meal it was. I've only made it in to town for one Pats game, but at least it was  the Indy one.  I guess we had a bit of a scare yesterday versus Philly, but it's good to have some tough games.  Too bad the Super 
Bowl is during the Quest.  It sure will be hard to watch the game out  on the trail at forty below...

The weather has stayed pretty warm, by Yukon standards.   Highs have  been from 15-25 degrees and lows have been from 0-15 degrees.  We've  had numerous dustings of snow, but there is still only a couple of  inches on the ground most places around here.  The sun never hardly gets above the horizon, especially with the mountains around, so even 
midday feels like it's early morning.  It's light enough to see by  9am, but it's dark again before 5.  The sun's only actually "up" from  10-2:30 now and we've got almost another month before solstice.  We  don't sit still much when it's light out!We haven't seen more than  a faint glow of the northern lights yet, but with all the time out in  the dark running dogs, we will!

Annie Lake Sunrise

That brings me to the dogs!  Our training has progressed way more quickly than we can do at home.   The good trails, cold temps, and dry ground prevent any of the mud and refrozen mud and puddles that  we battle at home this time of year.  Last week I did a 100 mile day  on the sled with 14 dogs out on the Canol Road (a summer road that's 
just trail this time of year.)  On that run, I saw 10 other dog teams and just one snowmobiler.  That's not quite the ratio we're used  to.   Our "short" runs now are 15-20 miles on the atv and those are  mixed in with some 50 mile trots out the snow-covered Annie Lake Road  right from the cabin, also on the atv.  Tomorrow Sue and I are both  loading up the truck and going back out to the Canol Road and will  each run a team with sleds about 50-60 miles.  It'll be Sue's first  sled run of the year and it'll come almost two months before we had  both been on sleds last year at home.  The young dogs are doing great  so far this year.  Lotus, Trip, Wilson and Reba have all been doing lots of leading.  Logan and Hood are taking after their father (Jim)  and working their tails off every mile of every run.  Cassin has been 
a real surprise this year too and if the Quest started tomorrow,  she'd be coming along.  The veterans on the team have to be looking  over their shoulders because these young dogs are working hard to  take their jobs.  We're still training 24 dogs and only a few of  those aren't being considered for the Quest.  We assess the team  every day try to figure who will make the final cuts in February.

Canol Road Camp

Jim & Hood

1 Ton of Beef

We got our Quest "drivers' packet" the other day in the mail.  It's a  bit daunting with all the forms to fill out and all the advice from  the race organization on the vet program, deadlines for paperwork and  drop bags, trail guides, etc.  There's a lot of good information and  maybe I'll be able to finish reading it all before the race starts!   We've also been busy getting our dogfood squared away for the  winter.  We had brought some Blackwood with us (Thanks Mitch!!!!) but  it's almost all gone now.  We can't get the Blackwood here, but hope  to get some in Alaska next month when we go up for Sheep Mountain 150  and GinGin 200.   We've had to get some other kibble (Inukshuk from  Frank Turner) and just got a ton of 60-pound blocks of frozen ground  beef.  We had all sorts of fun cutting that up to usable sizes with  an electric chainsaw.  I'm glad that project is over!  Other than  that, when we're not running a team, our time has been filled up in  the dawgyard or cutting firewood and burning brush.  I think we've  finally got enough firewood to last us through the winter although I  wouldn't even bother bringing wood like this in the house to burn at  home.  There is no hardwood at all here, just spruce, pine and poplar- campfire wood!  Lots of things are different here...

Take care all, and thanks for checking us out.
All for now-  Mike.

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