Monday morning arrived and Jeff put on his 1988 Kuskokwim 300 belt buckle for good luck. The team was loaded up into the trailer in the predawn light and off they headed – bound for Anchorage some 240 miles to the south. Dogs and humans caught their evening flights and everyone arrived safe into Bethel.
Bethel is home to the Kuskokwim 300 and this Friday begins the 34th running of the race. Jeff is the winningest musher in the history of the Kusko300 and currently holds eight 1st place titles (does he always wear the belt buckle?). The Kusko race is known for its weather – there was so much water on the trail in 2008 that teams were knee deep in it and it was dubbed the KuskoSWIM! This year reports say the trail is looking good and everything seems to be frozen. That’s got to be good news to the ears of all mushers awaiting the start!
Since the crew arrived into Bethel on Monday, they’ve been keeping busy with chores and prepping for the race. Yesterday they rented a snow machine and took the dogs out for a bit of a leg-stretcher run. Our very own handler Ellen Donoghue took some photos that we have shared with you in our gallery below.
14 dogs make up the teams for the Kusko race, and Jeff took: Bailey, Burglar, Deets, Ebb, Guilder, Kroner, Menace, Merlot, Norton, Rebel, Skeeter, Spider, Suspect and Vespa.
The race can be followed on either the Kuskokwim 300 website or their Facebook page. As we hear from Jeff and Ellen we will also be sharing some updates with you, so stay tuned to Husky Homestead and get ready to race!
While some of the team headed to Bethel, the rest of the crew stayed home and is now enjoying 4” of fresh snow! Barnum was so excited about the snow that he actually ‘ate’ all of the snow off of the top of his house – mouthful after mouthful – nom, nom, nom. Silly dog! Temps are heading south on the thermometer again and the dogs left here will head out on the trail today to continue their training with handler Dave DeCaro. Cantwell has received 1-2’ (yes, that’s FEET!) of snow and reports say that the Stampede trail got a nice dumping as well. We’d like to take a moment to thank Mother Nature for this nice return to winter!
The HH Crew is also keeping a very close eye on the Iditarider Auction! Two more days until bidding closes on the chance to ride in the basket of a musher for 11 miles during the Ceremonial Start of the Iditarod. Thanks to all the donations that we have received to date, we do currently hold the winning bid on Jeff’s sled! We have yet to tell Virgil of our plan – we’re keeping our paws crossed that we come out on top when the bidding ends on Friday. If we win the bid Jeff will telephone Virgil and share the good news with him. =) We are very excited to be so close to making this happen for our dear Virg and we surely couldn’t have done it without those of you that have contributed. Thank you!!
If YOU are interested in riding in someone’s sled for the Ceremonial start there are plenty of seats left! Head on over to the Iditarider Auction and place a bid for your own ride. All money received from the Auction does benefit the Iditarod.
Alright… time to go play in the snow!
The HH Crew