Crystal clear skies
A waxing quarter moon
Temperatures deep into the “belows” (-40 to be exact!)
Life in Denali is a dog mushers dream. And we at Husky Homestead have been hard at it. This year boasts some of the best training efforts in many seasons.
First and foremost, keeping the lights on, the fires burning, and fresh Kaladi Brothers coffee on tap is Carrie Skinner. In the office making sure the world goes round. Most often spotted with her trusty sidekick Gale, Carrie is our resident dork at heart.
Secondly we have Dave DeCaro – Iditarod veteran, long-time Husky Homestead employee and friend, and a pretty damn awesome mandolin player. Dave keeps the kennel clean, the dogs fed and oh-so-happy (another belly rub??), and helps with training of our all stars.
Ellen Donoghue is a Portland, Oregon, skijoring transplant and proud half owner of our Husky/Hound “Opposite” litter, as well as two screaming fast Streeper Hounds – Griffin & Cael. Ellen is keeping a handle on team nutrition, scheduling, yard work and hours and hours of in the trenches training behind the team.
Then there’s me. I do a little of each of the above.
We have 27 race age adults in the midst of rigorous training that has included over 300 miles in November alone. Training has been predominantly large teams (all 27 dogs in most cases) hooked to the front of the Toyota Tundra, in harness on the Denali Highway. Most of these incredible dogs are Iditarod veterans from Dave DeCaro’s 2010 Iditarod race, Matt Hayashida’s 2011 effort and my 2012 debacle.
At nine years old, Deets is the standout monarch, and continues to set the bar for the rest to follow.
Twelve year old Salem, and sire of many of these superstars, spends most of his day riding in the truck with Ellen and I, barking out orders as needed. Only to quickly resume his snoozing in the backseat… again.
This Weeks Superstars!
We will continue to highlight these and other stars of the team in our blogs over the weeks to come!
Barnum & Bailey (Skeeter x Salem), now in their second year, show tremendous promise. Barnum weighs in at 70 pounds, and he may be the biggest – for sure the heaviest – sled dog that’s ever made my team. Sure hope he never needs a ride in the sled…
His brother Bailey is no pipsqueak either. At 55 pounds he is a going machine and spends much of his time in lead.
As far as races for the coming season, our dance card is pretty full. Ellen and I will both be entering a team in the Alaska Excursions 120 in mid-December. Following that, in late December I’ll head up to Tok, Alaska for the inaugural running of the Top of the World 350. From Tok, Alaska teams will head through legendary Chicken, and on to Eagle, Alaska on the Yukon River – and return. Clearly I’m not the only one who thought it sounded like fun as the 35 team race entries filled quickly. Then, January 18th I will be returning to Bethel, Alaska for the infamous Kuskokwim 300. The Kusko is a race where the Best of the Best show their stuff, and race for the over $110,000 in prize money, as well as bragging rights from Anchorage to Barrow.
The Denali Doubles
February 8th, Husky Homestead is presenting for the 2nd time, the Denali Doubles Sled Dog Race from Cantwell to Paxson, and return. This race takes place on the famous Denali Highway. Dave DeCaro and Ellen Donoghue will drive the Husky Homestead team, as Carrie & I provide management and logistics as needed to put on this unique event. Each team will consist of one group of up to 20 dogs, and two mushers. Check out our Facebook page for detailed rules and lots of photos from our last Denali Doubles race. Give it a ‘like’ and stay tuned!
It seems like there is a race in early March too. But at the moment I forget which one that is…. If it comes to me, I’ll fill you in.
Until next time… May your turkey be moist, your taters mashed, and your supply of whipped cream for the pumpkin pie go on forever….