Happy October! As I write to you from our main homestead cabin on the Arctic Dog property, hot coffee in hand, snow is falling fast outside. We are in the midst of our first winter storm of the season. The dogs are tucked inside their cozy, freshly strawed dog houses. We "straw" the dogs every month, or as needed, in the colder months. The straw comes baled, and flakes off in thick sheets that we stuff inside a dog house and fluff. Everybody got a thick layer of straw yesterday, a sure sign of approaching winter.
It's been a glorious fall, with little rain, and temperatures cool enough to run the dogs almost every day since the end of August. We are in training for tours and..... racing!! I (Lisbet) have signed up for the Yukon Quest 550 and have some other major races in mind, pending how well things get set up here at the homestead this winter. Running a long distance race takes a team, and not just a sled dog team! In order to reach the start line, a musher needs a support crew: to help train dogs, to keep the home fires burning, to assist with the many minute preparations needed for the race, and to run the business! I am very excited to welcome a talented crew of guides to the Arctic Dog team this season. Botanists, naturalists, archivists, and artists, outdoors people all, I can't wait to introduce you to them!
I currently have three 16 dog teams in training. I am using an ATV to train the dogs. It's a side-by-side, and quite heavy. I help the dogs with the motor in order to set the speed, and sometimes employ the brake to keep them from running too fast on the downhills. Training speeds vary between 7 and 10 miles per hour. We are currently running a distance of about 10 miles and will slowly increase the mileage as race and tour season approaches. Fall training is about building up a base, i.e. strength training. The tour dogs are on a lighter training schedule. For me to feel they are trained up enough to conquer any type of inclement weather we could possibly encounter on our tours, they need to be capable of comfortably running 40 miles a day. In comparison, the race team needs to be able to comfortably run 100 miles a day. If you'd like to support our race aspirations this season, please consider Sponsoring a Dog!
We are slowly chipping away on our homestead building projects! Nils has nearly finished the greenhouse/event space. He laid a floor using excess siding material from the house. It's soooo beautiful! I tiled the hearth for the stove in the sauna this week. Pretty soon these outbuildings are going to be more finished than the house!
We are forecast to receive several inches of snow this weekend, but with temperatures forecast to be above freezing next week, we may not get to keep it all. Irregardless, these early snows are much appreciated as snow on the ground serves two purposes: 1) to cool the dogs and 2) to protect their feet from frozen gravel, which can be quite abrasive. The difference in our runs with cold snow under the pads has been remarkable. The dogs are fresh and full of energy as they greet the transition into winter, our most favorite time. Soon we will be whipping along on dog sleds and preparing to welcome guests to the kennel for their own dog sledding adventures. We can't wait! To check out this season's tour offerings please visit our Winter Tours Page: https://www.arcticdogco.com/winter-tours .