Updated: May 19
Good morning from the Hattie Creek Homestead! It's the first bluebird sky morning we've seen in what feels like forever.
Training in Fairbanks has been delayed due to mechanical issues. The Yukon Quest dogs and their musher have been not so patiently waiting the past few weeks for both, yes both, ATVs to get out of the repair shop. BUT we finally got the call yesterday and went and picked up the 6-wheeler today!!! I'm so excited -- it's the best time of fall now -- chilly misty mornings, the ground turning red and the trees flaming yellow. It hasn't frosted in the hills yet, but hopefully soon.
HUGE thanks to Darby's Performance Machine for tuning up the old 6 wheeler and replacing the tire for no extra charge. The folks there are great to work with and big supporters of the local Fairbanks community, from snowmachiners to mushers alike. Highly recommended!
We will be taking the first team out tomorrow morning when it's coolest. I am NOT a morning person, but the feeling of having all the teams out already and the day ahead of you is nice. Besides, sleep deprivation and self imposed suffering are the hallmarks of distance mushing, right? I've gotten quite spoiled with all my expedition-style travel the past two years and can't quite believe I am voluntarily trading in sleeping ALL NIGHT in warm, wood-stove heated tents or cabins, plus income, for the rigors of training a Quest team, but I'm excited anyway. The whole process of deciding to sign up for Yukon Quest was a musher's existential crisis -- WHY. I've mused about the why for a whole year, and have turned it over and over with clients, my partner, and myself, and the short answer is -- it makes me happy. There's more to it, including honoring the true capabilities and purpose of my huskies, which I'll write about another time.
I currently have 28 dogs in the race pool ranging from 3 to 8 years old, plus two 9 year olds, Buffy and Dirka. The older girls are both good lead dogs. Buffy has been to Nome, and Dirka ran with the Rondy team until last year. Buffy spent all last winter breaking trail and will leap through 5 feet of snow to get to the next trail. Dirka has never run distance before. Ruby, my absolute all-star, is turning 10 this year. She sustained a partial tear to her achilles three years ago and I have retired her to expeditions as I don't want to her to re-injure herself. She'll run with the race team until mileages and intensity start increasing. We'll see how the old girls will do; if anything I am hoping they will transfer some leadership skills to my up-and-comers: Wiluna, Rusja, Jasmine & Jenny. Developing stellar lead dogs will be key this year, but real lead dog is born, not made, and unfortunately you usually don't know if you have one until 700 miles into Iditarod, or Day 3 of the Fur Rondy. There really is a difference between a dog that can run up front, and a dog with the true desire and drive to run up front no matter what.
YUKON QUEST RACE POOL
Buffy (Lead Dog - LD)
ARCTIC DOG TOUR & EXPEDITION POOL
The dogs in Willow have been going out regularly for the past week or so. The Fritzlings (Fritz x Sunshine pups) are doing awesome on their puppy runs and it sounds like they are going to be some big strong dogs! The goal this season for the Willow dogs is the Fur Rondy Open Class Sled Dog Race and to build up the yearlings for a strong performance next year.
I have been receiving some messages as to "Where is my gear that I ordered?" First off, THANK YOU so much for your order. Without the financial support of husky fans around the world we would not be able to do what we do, which is honor the true purpose and history of the Siberian Husky as a working dog. Second, apologies to those of you who have been waiting for your gear. We did a pre-order, meaning we do not have inventory on hand; we order it as needed. The first shipment came in right before I left for Australia and it is sold out. The second order is at the screen printers and should be available in the next week or two. So, your gear is either on the way, will be mailed next time I make it to the post office, or is at the screen printers. Thank you for your understanding. If you are curious where in the chain of supply your gear is please message me & I will do my best to get back to you. Yukon Quest is without a doubt a TEAM effort! Thank you for being part of our journey! If you would like to order a t-shirt or sweatshirt, check out the Store link at the top of the website. There are also hats, mugs, and thermoses available at www.cafepress.com/lisbetnorris -- those items ship straight from Cafepress.
We are currently offering husky hikes & wilderness lunches through the fall season. We will continue to operate our dog mushing business, Arctic Dog Adventure Company, as the winter progresses. We offer "drive your own dog team" tours, not rides. Half day, full day and aurora overnights with a focus on "rustic luxury" are our speciality. Truly comfortable winter mushing experiences. After Yukon Quest we will be offering multi-day expeditions across Interior Alaska, namely the White Mountains north east of Fairbanks, the Denali Highway, and to Tolovana Hot Springs. If you are interested in our itineraries please shoot me an email! We are also offering a women's mushing retreat in March. This trip will be magical. I am teaming up with Wendy Battino of Wendy Battino - Live Your Adventure who will offer life coaching along the trip. I cannot overstate Wendy's talents as a life coach. Anyone who is going through a change in life, or is searching for a change in life, can benefit from her guidance. Learn to mush, or improve your dog skills, in a safe and supportive environment, in a landscape that teems with power and inspiration. For more information check out the retreat's webpage: www.arcticdogco.com/susitna-river-retreat.
That's it for now! Happy Fall! Wish us luck with the start of the 2018/2019 training season!
xx Lisbet & Team
Rain showers in the Chatanika River Valley.
Looking like autumn.
Seb and Mygga, my berry picking "helpers"
Pitiful harvest but a nice dog walk!
The tips of the birch trees are just starting to turn yellow.
We've had 4 solid weeks of rain in Fairbanks and spread wood chips in the dog lot to soak up some of the muck.
Sunshine loved her husky hike.