Thursday, May 23, 2013

LIfe Below Zero

                             See us now on the National Geographic TV Show

                                                                 'Life Below Zero'                               



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Black Bears and Red Plaid Flannel

June 2011

Daylight exceeds 21 hours a day in June.
Tired from the days work we settled down for the evening with a movie at 9:00 pm.
I went outside to go to the outhouse and what did I see but another bear in the fish rack. When I relayed this to Andy he hopped up and said, " Enough of this!" He pulled on his red plaid, flannel robe and slipped his feet into his rubber boots, picked up his gun and headed toward the trees on a rise above the rack of fish. I was laughing because all I could think of was Elmer Fudd in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
I was watching for the bear from the porch when he popped his head up from the willows, so I called to Andy that the bear had moved up river several yards and he headed in that direction hidden by the trees. Just a few minutes later I heard a shot and then another within seconds of the first. I went to meet Andy as he walked back to the cabin and I called out "Did you get the bear?" he replied, "Nope! I got two!"

I was now almost 9:30 PM and we have two bears to skin. Movie on hold till dawn.

Archeologists who come each summer to dig on our site, which is believed to be an ancient Han summer camp, were camped nearby with a group of students . I walked over and told them what had happened and asked the men if they would help us move the bears. The whole group were eager to come see and happy to lend a hand. They stayed on for hours and helped with the entire process. The students cheerfully learned something new and different that night.

Bank Swallows and Bears = Spring

Always a treat to see the Bank Swallows return to the houses Andy built for them. What a flurry of fussing over which house to choose.

She says, "I want to live in this house!" He says, "I want to live in a hole on the bank!"

After sometime of the silent treatment guess who won?

As springtime awakens so do Black bears and they migrate through our property. Their curiosity is peeked when they smell our dog fish hanging in the rack and they have to investigate before they move on. Fun to watch them from a distance but a little daunting getting fish in the evening to feed the dogs but when we need meat for the freezer it is nice that they deliver.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blitzen's Booboo

May 13 2011
Shortly after letting some of the younger dogs loose for playtime, disaster struck. Blitzen was leading the stampede towards the cabin for cookie treats when he slipped on the wet stairs his leg went through the open riser. The rest of the pack behind him propelled him forward shattering his front leg. Andy took him to the vet in Fairbanks where he remained for over 4 months. His leg is not perfect and sadly long trips with the team are not likely for our sweet Blitzen.
Blitzen in his makeshift splint.

Back on the Yukon River

May 12 2011
The Yukon River is starting to run mostly clear of ice after breakup. Andy clears the hugh chunks of jumble ice that are left on the banks for a boat landing. No snowplough to clear our road becauce the river is our road. He is always the first on the river with a boat around here.

Where did 2011 Go!!!

As we all know , it is not the years that go by slowly but the hours.
I have been negligent in my blog duties due to no fault other than my own procrastination. So without further a-due here is my lapse in a nutshell.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Yukon River Breaks Free From Icy Hood

May 3 2011 Pre-breakup

Everyone knew that the river would be late breaking up this year due to cooler than usual temperatures this spring. I predicted the 8th of May and I was pretty close only one day off.

I have to admit my eyes rarely leave the river on the days leading up to breakup, watching the ice go smooth then arc as the ice lifts shedding puddles of water to the edges of the river.I place sticks in the water edge so I can monitor the water level watching as Ducks ,Geese and Swans fly in flocks overhead coming to feed in the plant rich water of Ford Lake.

Friday, May 6 I was on the river bank watching the water come up, anticipating some action.Then I heard the deep short resonant sounds of the pressure building on the ice and I knew the time had come. Just moments later miles of ice slowly advance still in one piece, then it fractured and parted like an earthquake separates the land. At Simons bluff you could see the ice pilling up straight across from bank to bank in hugh chunks. It did not last long. It stalled,just a tease.

Saturday, May 7 you could not tear me away from the river and then at 4:20 pm the whole thing let go. It happens slowly at first then picks up speed like a freight train. The sound is amazing as the massive sheets ice break and shear the banks, crashing and scraping onto the rocky face of Calico Bluff. Then comes the jumble ice just as it is named chunks, crowded,rolling and tumbling and moving swiftly, for about 30 miles this year. With the water so unusually low we were able to get extremely close to the action, totally awesome.

Sunday, May 8 The final stage. The rush is over and the ice becomes less dense. I am always fascinated with the show I sit on the bank for hours watching this extravaganza that is a ballet and demolition derby all in one. It is truly mesmerizing.

No picture can make you feel this awe-inspiring event you have to witness the power it to believe it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Driving Jeep Down the Yukon River

On April 20th 2011 Andy and I went to Eagle to bring his, worse for wear, Cherokee Jeep to Calico while the Yukon River was still frozen thick.

It all started out well enough, I drove the snow machine and Andy drove the jeep but when we got to the site of the summer sonar camp about 4 miles from home the snow got soft and deep. The jeep got stuck so Andy took the snow machine and went to Calico for lumber to fix the problem.

When he returned Andy built two ramps to help support the jeep over the deep snow. The distance was about 1/4 of a mile to get back onto just ice. He would drive the jeep onto one ramp, then we would move the other to the front and so on. It was a tedious task but it worked until there was a slip of a tire off the narrow boards and game over, the jeep was acutely stuck.

We abandoned the mission for that day and came back the following morning when the snow would be set hard after the below freezing night.

Armed with jacks it took some time but we did get it back on the ramp then about 8 feet at a time we edged the jeep to the end of the deep snow then it was easy going for a nice drive down the river and to it's new home at Calico.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Introducing the Puppies

Born Sept 20/2010 to Vixen and Typhoon

The puppies are now 6.5 months old and growing like weeds weighing over 70 pounds each. Not running in a team yet but love to follow along.

Time to introduce the final 5!
Hope you enjoyed meeting our canine family.

Shilling the Gentleman

Peso the Unrevealed

Drachma the Loyal

Kugeran the Timid

Rupee the Frolicsome

Prancer,Vixen,Donner and Blitzen

Swing and Team Dog
Born 2008 to Lucy and Minto
Personality- Princess

Prancer is a sweet, gentle and loving dog she is very well behaved and easy to have around.

Prancer is what I call a reluctant sled dog, put her harness on and she will go hide in her house and you have to go get her and walk her to the sled to be put in the team. Although once all that is said and done she loves to run in the team and do her job, I guess she is not fond of all the excitement of the others.

Prancer like her sister Vixen thinks she is a lap dog, we teach them to sit to before they get pets and their ears rubbed. She sits ok but then one foot comes up, then the other and the next thing you know there is a sled dog in your lap. Prancer likes to try and steal indoor toys and hide them in her dog house, a little kleptomaniac in her genes, plus a bit of a hoarder of items around the yard.

Lately she has taken to playing with the new pups a game that sounds mean but they all love it, she brings out one of her treasures and teases the pups with it and growls at them when they try investigate. It must be a fun dog game they all do it for hours. I was worried at first but now I understand the game.

She is just having fun, the way it should be.
Swing and Team Dog
Born 2008 to Lucy and Minto
Nickname- Vixie

Well, if you ever knew a dog who could use her feminine ways for attention, you have already met our Vixen.
She is the only dog allowed on the couch because unlike her name she is just plan sweet, you can't resist her affection or the way she rolls on her back to rub her belly.

Although since first experience with motherhood last September, to 11 pups, you would not what to be a wolf or coyote prowling around, she goes savage, barking and screaming, like any overly protective mother. I am glad I am not on her hit list!

Not sure Vixen is that loyal of a dog,she will roll over for anyone. Like I said Suck-up.

Team ,Swing and Future Lead Dog
Born 2008 to Agata and Iceberg

Donner is a pretty dog, she looks just like her mother, Agata from Helmer's kennel in Eagle. She is an intense highly focused observer almost to smart, you can see her wheels turning calculating any given situation.

I believe Donner was meant to walk upright, at every opportunity she has her front legs up on her dog house or a nearby dog, anything as long as she is standing tall. Andy says she is one heck of an intelligent dog and will be a great lead dog someday.

Lead Dog in Training
Born 2008 to Agata and Iceberg
Personality-Typical Young Buck

Blitzen is an amazing watchdog he sniffs out the first sign of any intruder and barks this high pitched panic bark. I like having him around when I am alone here, nothing can sneak up on me with Blitzen as a warning signal.

It was a cold fall day when Andy brought Blitzen and Donner to Calico in the open boat, he had them both tucked inside his coat all cozy and warm. He put them on the ground at the boat landing and they followed us to the cabin to meet Prance and Vixen. Now we had puppy fun x4.

Later that evening Blitzen was hiding under the couch, Andy reached it to get him and Blitzen went ballistic,such a commotion for a tiny puppy more like an outraged loin. We laughed so hard at this baby with enough attitude to take on a grown man. Eventually he came out on his own and settled into his new home, Calico.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Wheel dog
Born 2007 to Gucci and Minto
Personality- Goofy

Alt is as close to a wallflower dog as you can get. He is unassuming,never causes any trouble, obedient and all round good dog.
Alt has a goofy way about him, from his look to his actions.
You just smile for no good reason when you look at Alt.
I like smiling at Alt.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gilligan and Memories of HIs Brother Skipper

Wheel Dog
Born 2008 to Control and Tab

Born- 2008 to Control and Tab
Died- 2009

It would be amiss of me to write about Gilligan without Skipper, they were the most attached siblings I have ever seen. I used to call them my little bookends. I have attached some photos of them as puppies.

Skipper and Gilligan were conceived by accident during a dog mushing trip at Cassiar Creek on our way to Dawson City, but it turned out to be serendipity.

Gilligan may not have the best work ethic but we love him like crazy, to quote Andy he is " Insanely loyal."

Gilligan is big and strong but when you come to a steep hill with the dog team all dogs put their backs into it heads down focused but Gilligan looks back at you from his wheel position closest to the sled, with wide eyes as to say," If you expect me to pull you better push harder."

I have been asked many times if Gilligan is the dog in movie in 8 Below, he is an actor all right but not in movies.

Skipper and Gilligan were an incorrigible pair, in constant motion how they loved to wrestle. The only time they would sit still was for their dog biscuit treat, I would say cookie, cookie and they sat so still I would tell them to wait for the tails and they understood the tails had to wag in sync and the did.Once Andy let them loose and said lets see how long they can wrestle, well 7 hours later still going strong. Andy put them back on their chains at their dog houses, that were of course next to each other and they immediately collapsed into a deep sleep.

Skipper was the fattest little puppy and that is how he got his name. We would take them to Dawson when Andy was Captain on the Yukon Queen and happened to be there for Canada Day 2008. I went to the festivities with my friends and the puppies. We hooked on their new red Canada leashes, Sarah lee took Gilligan and I took Skipper so they would not get tangled together. What a chore it was to keep them apart as we walked around the grounds of the museum, good thing they were only a few months old. When it was time for the official ceremonies I had become separated from the others, no matter I had a nice view of the podium right behind some RCMP officers.

Then the strangest and cutest thing happened, as soon as the Canadian anthem started Skipper took his place next to one of the Mounties, who were dressed in their red serge dress uniforms. Skipper sat right next this now at attention mountie leaning on his shinny brown leather riding boot and never moved a muscle just looked straight ahead. Cameras started clicking and flashing, all directed at the sight of this little husky puppy with a Northern RCMP officer.
My eyes welled up with tears at this postcard image, I didn't dare try to move him not wanting to make a fuss during the singing of the anthem. When it was over Skipper looked up at the face of the handsome officer as he looked down at this puppy sitting calmly by his side, smiling broadly he bent over and scooped him up into his arms and said, "Well I think you stole the show little man." I never got a photo of that day but the image will be with me forever.

Our time with Skipper ended far to soon durning the spring flood of 2009 that nearly killed us all. I often look into Gilligan's eyes when he is sitting alone waiting for his cookie/cookie and think, I am missing a bookend, how do I stop from falling.

This is a podcast of an interview with CBC radio about the night Skipper died.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Wheel Dog
Born 2007 to Gucci and Minto

Tab and his litter mates Alt, Control and Delete were born at the Denali Park dog kennel so I missed their birth.
Tab is a handsome boy donning a beautiful black coat with a broad white chest and dark brown eyes,he is extremely devoted and steady, a true companion.
As a puppy he was so responsive and was the first to learn how to sit to be petted and come when called, always eager to please.Durning his first year in harness he was not what you would call an outstanding sled dog, somewhat lazy but the following year he same into his own and is now a first rate team member.

For the longest time Tab was had a tenancy to occasionally be aggressive when loose, but we discovered he was just on the defense from, guess who,Dickel. We were relieved to detect that our sweet Tab was simply misunderstood and now with some intervention the problem is solved.

As I write this my eyes divert to a delightful sight, Tab dancing and playing in the early morning sun with his buddy, Ouzo.


Team and Swing dog
Born 2006 to Gucci and Solo
Personality-Easy going

Stoli is a solid no hassle sled dog, she works almost to hard and tends to wear herself out. Hook her into the team and she jumps and lurches with joy and anticipation, ready to get the show on the road She is such a pretty gal, gentle,calm with an independent demeanor.

I feel bad for her when we have to feed her half the amount of food than the others during part of the summer months. She has a tendency to gain weight just laying around in the sun. I think most can relate to that little vacation problem.

Stoli is simply a gem.


Wheel and team dog
Born 2006 to Gucci and Solo
Personality-Class Clown

Ouzo was born the smallest in the litter and as he grew we noticed he had a problem with his back leg causing his gait to look clumsy. Andy was certain this gimpy puppy would not be sled dog quality but Ouzo proved him wrong. He may not run as fluid as the rest but he is strong,steady and full of heart.

Ouzo is unmistakably the funnest dog we have and one of the most playful. As a puppy Ouzo always carried a toy around like a trophy, now he has upgraded to a stick, well more like a small tree, the bigger the better. Without fail, whenever anyone comes along or it is feeding time, he picks up his trophy stick and prances around with his head held high to balance this treasured possession with absolute joy and delight.

People often have trouble distinguishing him from his father, Solo, he certainly is a chip off the old block, similar in so many ways. But Ouzo takes the award for being a great entertainer.

Ouzo is enchanting, kind and gentle, so much fun to watch, adorable in every way!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Swing and team dog
Born 2006 to Gucci and Solo
Nickname- Dickey Do
Personality- Bully

As you can see from Dickel's photo he looks like a prize fighter,strong build with intense blue eyes at the ready for the ring but I know the pussycat that lies beneath the facade.

This boy is very loyal and can be jealous at times especially when he is loose with other dogs and notices you petting another he will run over to you, butt in and bad vibe them. Don't get me wrong he is otherwise polite and makes a great house dog companion as I found out when he hurt his paw and spent quite some time in the cabin. He loves to be petted and brushed or just lay at your feet.

Poor Dickey Do will be going under the knife on Monday when the visiting vet comes to Eagle. Having Dickel neutered should take care of his personality flaw and then he will be a perfect inside and out.

Wish him a speedy recovery and know I will be lovingly pampering him during the ordeal.


Lead Dog
Born 2006 to Gucci and Solo
Nickname- T

What a looker Tia is with her amazing blue eyes highlighted with black eyeliner and pretty blond coat, simply stunning.

When she was a puppy we took her to Dawson on the Yukon Queen, it was the forth of July and she wore a shiny red, white and blue garland around her neck, so cute. Tia's feet did not hit the deck of that boat the whole trip. People gravitate to her and she loves the attention.

When Manuela was here from Switzerland she fell hook,line and sinker for Tia,I am sure they both had separation anxiety when Manuela returned home.

She is mild tempered and a no nonsense gal, when Andy puts her in harness Tia is all business ready to lead the team and smart as a whip. Her only fault is being a finicky eater in the cold and takes her time when on the trail being a glutton is important.
With some dogs there is not a lot of stories to tell and Tia is one of them but she has that certain something, that you just can't resist.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Lead Dog
Born 2006 to Gucci and Solo
Nickname - Bergie Bit

Iceberg is my Johnny Depp, my Jack Sparrow, handsome and dashing. I fell madly in love with Iceberg the second he was born, I named him immediately my little Iceberg.

Iceberg and his litter mates were the first I witnessed being born, what a thrilling experience. The theme we picked for them was spirits, Tia, Stoli, Ripple, Kalula, Dickel, Smirnoff, and Ouzo and Iceberg.

Socializing Iceberg and company was so much fun, Andy was still working as a Captain on the Yukon Queen so we got to take them on the boat to Dawson regularly. The tourists loved getting their picture taken holding sled dog puppy and the pups loved all the attention and being cuddled.

I used to take them for walks sometimes on the old airstrip near the historic mule barn in Eagle to meet the Holland America tour bus. After several of these visits the coach drivers would announce to the people they were about to meet Iceberg, the driver would open the door and the pups barely able to climb the steep steps would pile inside with Iceberg in the lead. The crowd would go wild.

One day the coach was ready to leave when Iceberg about 6 weeks old was no where insight we looked everywhere, I called and called for him to come but no Bergie Bit. Then one of the passengers in the front whispered " a lady took him to the back of the bus". When the driver inquired another tourist pointed and said, "Inside that ladies jacket". What a strange thing to do is all I have to say about that.

In 2009 during the flood recovery in Eagle after a long days work some of the volunteers and kids would play volleyball in the field next to the old school. Iceberg and I walked down one night to watch, he studied the ball for a while as it travelled back and forth, then leapt into the game. He loved to play! It was such fun to see him run and stop the ball when it went out of bounds. What a sport!

As Iceberg got older and becoming a big boy Remington decided to put this young whipper snapper in his place. After the short tussle was diffused I cried, "Not his FACE! My poor baby had a puncture just below his eye, I was as mad at Remi as I could get when I put him back on his chain at his doghouse. This did not sway Icebergs confidence for long but did teach him he had to have patience to become top dog.

I could just go on forever about my wonderful white Bergie Bit with his clear blue eyes and leopard spotted ears. One of the most photographed and truly one of the great loves of my life!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Lead dog
Team dog
Swing dog
Born 2004 to Flame and Frodo
Personality-Sweetheart of all Sweethearts

Solo came to us when he was almost two years old from our friends Scott and Robbie's kennel and are we ever glad he did what a honey of a dog, extremely affectionate. He is almost to nice and has been picked on by other dogs in the lot as the newcomer. One winter he had a bad encounter and got chewed up really bad and had to spend a fair amount of time in a vet hospital in Fairbanks. When Andy when in to bring him home the staff at the clinic were reluctant to let him go calling Solo the sweetest most gentle sled dog they have ever had to care for.

As for being a Lead dog he had one fault when in chase, that means following another team,Solo would sometimes take shortcuts to catch up.

One day when we were on the river trail going to Eagle, Andy and his team about a half mile ahead of me and out of sight. I was crossing the river and Solo caught sight of the other team and veered off the trail and picked up speed taking me and the team careening over rough jumble ice . I can't believe I held on and road it out without incident.

When we got close to the cabin in Eagle Solo saw the ultimate shortcut, instead of turning the corner on the road he went over the banks of snow piled high by the plough. Down I went in the snow watching the runaway sled dragging on its side with Solo at the helm, proud as punch as he reached the dog lot. I walked the last few feet feeling both vexed and humiliated.

Solo looked at me with those tremendously wide blue eyes that always seem to say, "I'm sorry," and all was forgiven, after all, he was still young.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Team dog
Born: 9-11- 2001 to Soup and Father unknown
Wishbone's nickname Bone or Bonehead
Personality-Plus Plus Plus

Wishbone is still an active sled dog and has the ability to be placed anywhere in a team you could call him a Jack of all trades. Lovable with personality plus and a bit of a talker at times, he believes he can speak. Melts me when I say I love you and he says I love you back.

Bone does have difficulty with the extreme cold temperatures of the Alaska winters so we have to bring him inside at night. His coat is not typical of an Alaskan sled dog it is smooth and silky with makes him perfect for petting. We have been looking for a good loving home with room for Wishbone to run for a while now,he is a loyal companion,a perfect house dog quiet and never gets into trouble . He would also be great for anyone who likes to skijor.

It was a site to see, a young boy in Eagle named Shane used to hook Wishbone up to a kid size dog sled called kick sled and put his 2 year old sister Alicia in it. Away they would go all around town both smiling and laughing,Shane giving Wishbone commands, Haw for left and Gee for right as they maneuvered here, there and everywhere. Did I mention Wishbone was also smiling?

I love Wishbone from the bottom of my soul and will be heartsick to see him go to another home but it be for the greater good. Our life revolves around what is best for our family of dogs. So "wish" him luck.


Retired Team Dog
Born 1995 to Moon and Mic
Chisel's nickname Chiz

Chiz is our oldest dog turning 16 this year but you would never guess by his appearance. One look at Chisel's teddybear face and it is game over, you are in love. This dog is extremely loyal and knows how to turn on the charm.

Although retired he still gets into harness with the team to go get water and that really makes his day. Aging dogs are not like people advancing in years longing to relinquish a lifelong job for rest and relaxation, they have an intense focus and purpose.

Last March our friends Britta and Bjorn from Germany came to visit and help build an extension on our cabin,which is another blog story in its self. Bjorn and Andy hooked up all the dogs except for Chisel and when on a dogsled trip for a few days. Several hours after they left Chisel was let off his chain. We should have waited longer as it turned out. He played and followed Britta and I around the yard as usual then all of a sudden I could not see him and called but he did not come. Where did he go? We kept calling for a what seemed to be forever but he was gone AWOL. My heart sunk as evening came and no sign of my sweet companion. I was dreading Andy's return to have to tell him Chisel was missing. When Andy and Bjorn arrived a few days later who should be with them but Chisel! Andy said he saw what he thought was a wolf behind them on the trail and as it got closer he realized it was Chiz, that old guy followed the scent all the way to the Tatonduk River,an amazing distance run for an old man. I did not know what to do, kiss Chisel or kill him.
I kissed him, he was only following his heart.

Chisel enjoys coming into the cabin for the cold nights and any other time, as soon as I let him off the chain he heads to the door looking back at me to hurry up and let him in. He has also taken up a great fondness of toys and parades them around teasing others by dropping them and snatching them up when another dog gets inquisitive. Once a man twice a child applies to our dear Chisel.


Retired Swing dog
Born 1997 to Moon and Cruise
Personality- Aloof

Arrow is one of those dogs who seems not to care to much about people one way or another a little cool and distant. If you have ever met a teenage who was into Goth and a bit standoffish well that sums Arrow in a nutshell. Although in his old age and spending time inside,which he would never ever do before, seems to becoming more attached to us mere humans.

Arrow is a hard working dog, very obedient, mild temperament and easy going, he still loves to run in the team but he only does short runs now. I his heyday, to quote Andy,"he was one hell of a sled dog, fast and steady."

I am so honored that he now takes food from my hand, puts his head on my lap to get petted and tolerates getting brushed.

He stays inside overnight now when the temperatures are cold and is so cute in the morning laying there with his eyes open but not moving a muscle pretending to be invisible. Sometimes I have to drag him by his collar to get him to stand up to go out for a minute to pee.

Arrow is winning my heart.


Lead Dog
Born 1997 to Moon and Cruise
Remington's nickname Rem or Remi
Personality- Charmer

Still running in the team although slowing down quite a bit and bumped back to the slower B team his heart is still in the A team.

He is funny to watch him as struts on tippy toes around the dog lot telling the young bucks "I may be old but I am still the alfa male around here."

Remington had a bad experience with water a few years ago and is now quite leery of it. Andy would have to tell the story to be accurate but the short version is this mine. A mishap on the Yukon River resulted while Andy was walking ahead of the team to see if it was safe enough to go around Eagle Bluff. Remington decided to follow but as fate would have it he walked toward an open lead in the river and in they went.

I will not tell the complete story as Andy is not here to verify the facts, I will tell what I saw. I was at the cabin in Eagle whenI heard something and looked out the window and truly I could not believe my eyes. Have you ever looked at a situation and it is so bizarre it does not compute. First, why was Andy and a dog team in the driveway,I never had seen that before, second the dogs and sled were all white and incased with ice. Then It hit me!
Andy herded them all inside and I went to work with towels galore pulling ice from fur and drying their wet soggy frames as he pulled the sled into the work shop to melt.

They all stayed inside cozied up to the wood stove for a long time, stretched out like a dog fur rug until every hair of every dog was dry.

I will never forget that day and neither will Remington he avoids open water in the winter at all cost, although he does enjoy a dip in the Yukon on a hot summers day.

Another funny short story about Remington and me was one summer in Eagle when some tourists walked by and wanted to take pictures and meet the dogs. I took them around to pet all of 26 dogs we had at the time. Remington was the first dog in the lot as lead dogs have that prestige, so when we were done with the meet and greet I stood next to Rem as I chatted with the visitors, he looked at them, lifted his leg and peed on mine marking his territory. Not sure if I should be mad or flattered I told him in uncertain terms that was not acceptable and he has been a good boy ever since. I love him dearly.

What Sled Dogs Do

Sled dogs are born to run, try moving a sled in the yard or unclip a hanging harness and you will witness such excitement, tails wagging, jumping, barking. Pick me! Pick me!
The poor unfortunate few that have to remain home watch as the others speed off looking at the trail with sad eyes then voice themselves with a mournful howl.

Pulling a sled is not a job to them. It is a passion!

I would like to share with you what a sled dogs job is in the team and follow with posts on each of our delightful dogs.


Lead Dog is just that the dog in the front who leads the team, takes commands well and has a good head and drive to do the job. Not all dogs can or want to Lead. Qualities for a good lead dog is intelligence,initiative,common sense,and the ability to find a trail in bad conditions.


Swing dogs are directly behind the lead dog,they swing the dogs in the team behind them in turns or curves and help set the pace.


Team dogs are the dogs between the swing dogs and wheel dogs,they add power to the team.


Wheel dogs are nearest the sled and a good wheel dog has to have a calm temperament so as not to be startled by the sled moving right behind them. Strength,steadiness and the ability to help guide the sled around tight curves make a great wheel dog.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Come to Calico

Have you ever wanted to drive your own dog team?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wondered what the mighty Yukon River sounds like when the ice breaks in the springtime?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wanted to build a log Cabin?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wanted to float the Yukon River in a canoe?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wanted to see the Northern Lights?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wanted to work at a checkpoint for the Yukon Quest dog sled race?
Come to Calico.

Have you ever wanted to experience life in the wilderness and all it has to offer?

Come to Calico for your custom wilderness adventure vacation. Winter or summer, alone or with friends or family. Stay in your own log cabin with a view of the Yukon River. Eat fresh just picked vegetables, dine on salmon from river to table and wild game.

Your time with us can be spent just about anyway you would like from learning wilderness skills, felling large trees for cabin logs, dog mushing, skijoring, winter camping, knife making, canoeing, rock collecting and polishing, salmon fishing from a fish wheel, canoeing, hiking, gardening, or just sitting quietly on your porch and make a walking stick from diamond willow or learn how to carve a bowl from wood, it is up to you.

The list of things to do is long. If you like dogs there are 22 ready to be your friend and hiking companion.

If you think this is the get away from the everyday for you. Come to Calico.