Sunday, January 12, 2014

fun day playing with iditarod dogs!!

 the Cardy's held a fundraiser for their friend, Charley Bejna.  here he is getting in some dog time and getting them lined out again.  very kind of him to open up his kennel for us novice mushers!!
 tried to wake up early...failed of course.  the event began at noon...i think i arrived about 1:30.  i drive slow in the winters..i had precious cargo on board...Blossom and Rio Catalina.  meant to get them walked before we left, but instead i just picked up dog poop in the yard and loaded them up.  i debated this as well.  after i parked i took the dogs walking around the neighborhood.  everyone in this neighborhood has a kennel of no doubt 15-50 dogs and i think every one of them barked at us. my dogs seemed a bit baffled at all the commotion. one way down the road we ran into a pair of moose so that turned us around.  they must  be used to dogs living in this hood, but it's best to not to push it with moose.
 my dogs chilled in the car while i headed down to the kennels.  had fun taking a few photo's of the dogs.
 get my iditarod juices flowing.  Charley ran last year but dropped after under 800 miles so pretty he'll give it another go this year.  he's from Illinois and it sounds like he lives there in the off season and runs a landscaping business.
 Rio keeps whining. should have given her pain meds tonight.  might have to sneak down and give her some and see if that stops the whining.  Blossom was just barking and Rio joined in...she never barks so i had to get up and make sure we weren't under attack.  maybe her arthritis is making her feel vulnerable.  hmm.
 was just reading that Charley is diabetic, type I.  wonder how he keeps his insulin from freezing on the trail.  always great that people don't let a diagnosis prevent them from living their dreams.  there are plenty of people out there who deal with less and give up on life it seems.  others too who don't seem to appreciate what a blessing health is and seem set on destroying the health they have.
 GB Jones was there as well. he's completed the Iditarod a few times and is retired now.  Bejna started out his mushing career working in Jones's kennel.  one of my favorite iditarod pics is of these two with the iditarider.  i'm always the fan of black and white.
 of course, many of my shots from today were throw aways but i think i came away with a few good ones.
 on the way home i stopped at mirror lake and let the dogs out for a bit again.  they didn't have the most fun day, but it was great to have them along for the drives.
 there was a loop which runs right off the original iditarod trail by the kennel.  they had a team set up down there and were letting everyone take turns doing the loop.  i've never been on the runners of a sled behind a team of dogs.
 i knew this was a great opportunity to just give it a go.  of course, the dogs did all the work.  i'm sure they know that loop well.  it was fun though.  i can be a wee bit of a chicken...shocking i know. haha!!
 when i was getting ready to do my loop there was a little girl next to me and her parents were gonna have her ride in the sled with her brother on the runners.  she did not want that at all i think.  she looked up at me, a total stranger and asked if she could go with me.  i of course, said yes.  her brother was being a wee bit bratty so i can see why she'd rather go with a stranger. i  must have looked safe.
 it was probably good that i had a wee one with me as that took my own focus off of the speed we would be traveling at. i know these dogs can go way faster than they were going with me today, but they do travel pretty fast for a wimp like me.  it was fun riding the runners though.  that first jump as the dogs kick in is a bit of a moment for the nerves, like what have i just gotten myself into, and then you just enjoy the ride!!
 we got a quick lesson in sled brakes 101 and i think i was a fast learner.
 fun to see several familiar faces out there.  i think everyone had a great day.
 the sled dogs are always so cute.  so many of them have these beautiful blue, blue eyes.

 had to flip it back to color just to get the eyes.
 i guess this means i didn't accomplish much again today.  must get my summer plans started lest i be left out in the cold!!  tomorrow look at booking cabins and then monday misty fjords.
 dog harnesses.
 the loop is only 1/4 mile long, good enough to get a feel for what it's like to be on the runners with a team out front.
 i think there were 7 dogs out there.  they were getting bored i think with the loop, but then i think in the summers they are leased out to some company for  tourist sled dog tours.  so they probably are used to some shorter runs.  once the snow hits they are probably itching for the longer runs though.
 not sure which of these dogs will end up on his actual Iditarod team.  they generally start with 16 dogs.
 coming back from the loop
 of course this loaded sideways, but it's me on the runners along with Charley Bejna and GB Jones so i'll keep it in here.
 off i go on my first dog mushing run...very cool!!
 tracy was kind enough to take a few shots of me...thanks!!
 i'm bent over talking to the little girl, making sure she's having fun and not scared.
 almost done...that was too short, i want to do it again.  :-)
 tracy's turn.  liked the dog action on this shot.
 i think she had a great time out there as well.
 a few kids on the sled
 the crew
 Maureen showed up just in time to get in a loop.
 liked this shot of her.
 one of my co-workers in the sled.
 GB Jones
 tracy gets another loop with Charley on the runners.
 back at the kennels, hanging out.
 on the subject of mushers, Jeff King runs his dogs out of Denali National Park.  he apparently ran across some grizzly bear tracks that were bloody.  he followed the tracks a bit but thought better of it.  an injured, tired, and hungry grizzly bear is not something you want to run into.  my grizzly bear was only hungry and young.  not sure what the deal is.  they weren't sure if it didn't get caught in a trap and found a way out despite being injured.
 haven't decided how to entertain myself yet tomorrow.  it keeps looking like it may snow, but we only get a dusting if that.
 it was a bit foggy on the drove out to wasilla today.  not a lot of great views. did see loads of moose.  coming and going.
 this guy was knik-goose road, bolted across and then off into this field.  always cool watching them run through the snow.
 the Iditarod headquarters are on that road, i drove in, but they were closed.
 along the road, from the other side of cook inlet
 a few more with my little camera.

 work friends
 just worked with this nurse quite a bit this week.  super nice...and the mother of these 5 sweet little girls.  i think they all had fun...they got to ride a sled many years before i ever did.  haha.
 the kennel
 "dog team crossing".  not a sign that you see in the lower 48 very often i'm guessing.
 soon the race will begin...
hopefully, i'll be more on a normal schedule tomorrow. off until thursday.  good night

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