Friday, January 27, 2006

Red Rock Trail

What can I say. This trail is just beautiful. See for yourself.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Red Rock Pass

Red Rock Pass is one of the three passes over the divide within our local area. This is the highest one at 7120 ft. In the winter, it is a dog sled and snowmobile trail. Round trip from my house to the top of the pass and back is about 40 miles. I am doing longer miles now, on up to about 60 miles, so I go over the pass and beyond, into Montana. This is an incredibly beautiful run, flanked by the Centennial Mountains.

Here we are heading up to the pass on a rare sunny day. We have been getting huge amounts of snow and wind everyday. The dogs are getting tired of breaking out their own trail every day, so a nice day with snowmobile tracks to follow is a Godsend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Last month, many of the females on my team came in to heat. Normally, I don't do anything different when running females in heat other than to avoid putting them next to an intact male. Well, one day I decided just for convenience to run a team of all females in heat. Unfortunately, Walnut got away from me as I was hooking the team up, and she zoomed around the dogyard and got tied with Quasar. I was really bummed. Walnut is one of my best young leaders, and I didn't like losing her from the team, and Quasar is her half brother, and this past year he started having seizures. So this is not a dog I want puppies from. In fact, all of Quasar's brothers had already been neutered for various reasons.

Today, Walnut went in to the vet to be spayed. Since we do not live near a vet, Mike had to make a long trip to take her in and then hang out and shop all day until she was ready to be picked up. They said she had seven little fetuses inside, so I am very, very, very glad we had her spayed. We do not need any more puppies! Here she is resting and recovering in a crate.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Extra Dog

In this picture, I have an extra dog in the back of the team. Amtrak, the black dog on the right, pulled his chain off the post and followed us just as we were leaving the yard. He was trying to play with the leaders and generally interfering with the team, so I removed the trailing chain and hooked him to a neckline in the back of the team (wheel position). Coconut, the white dog on the left, was left to run without a neckline. Fresca is the small black dog in between them. My leaders on this run were Current on the left and Luna on the right. The dog in the middle who is howling is Almond. She is quite the cheerleader and doesn't like to stop for long. The dog beside her who is commiserating with her is her sister Raisin.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Test Post

Blogger has not let me post anything for the past week, so this is a quick post to see if it will work yet. I have been wanting to tell you about the five moose I saw on one run. Three of them were on the trail, but they skedaddled into the trees as soon as they saw me. And then there was the run where we were breaking trail in a foot of new snow the whole way, and the leaders were zigging and zagging all over the place in an attempt to find that elusive hard packed footing. There was also the day when the clouds finally lifted, and I saw the scenery on the Sawtelle Trail for the first time!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Stepping Up The Distance

This week I stepped the dogs up to a 35 mile run. Up to now, we have been doing 15 and 20 mile runs. The dogs handled the longer distance quite well, but then I gave them a couple days rest afterwards. Next week I will try to do at least two or three of these longer runs. The problem is that it is still not safe for me to run large teams, so it takes a lot more time to do long runs with two separate teams. There are some road crossings and other tricky spots where I cannot safely control a large team if it decides to head down the plowed road or other such acts of disobedience or confusion.

Here is one of the possible hazards - a tree down across the trail. We went around to the right and bumped over the tip end of the tree. Even
if I wanted to clear the trail with an axe, the dogs would never stand still long enough. We have had so much snow so quickly that even the groomed trail is not hard enough to hold a snow hook for long. The dogs always pulled out both hooks as soon as they decided it was time to go, usually after just a few seconds. It made it hard to get nice pictures.

Thank goodness for well trained, reliable leaders like Ghost. He knows wh
en it is time to take a break and roll in the snow. The other leader with him is Charge, who may be one of the best dogs I own but does not have as much experience in lead yet.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Here is a cute little snowman I found out on the trail. When I first saw it, it looked even more like a snowman, but I did not have a camera with me, and now a lot more snow has fallen. The bottom ball of snow has been completely covered up, and the top two balls of snow look less distinct now. This is actually just a tree that got covered naturally with some wet, sticky snow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Lots of Snow

The snow level continues to rise. You can see how close it is to the top of the fence. It is easy to step over the fence, so why dig out the gate anymore?

My sled was half buried as well, but the dogs pulled it out with relative ease. Why dig it out when the dogs can just pull it out?

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year

Since I took this picture, we have had another three feet of snow. I would take a new picture, but the snow continues to fall, so all I get are snowflakes and water droplets on the lens. The snow is now within one foot of the top of the five foot fence. All of the doghouses have to be dug out and lifted on top of the snow. I have a little more than half of them up now. It is exhausting work.

Today I gave up on digging out the south gate, and I lifted the dogs over the fence to take them for a run. I have increased my team size to eight dogs because I just don't have time to train enough dogs using teams of six. I got out around twilight and had a nice two hour run in the dark. It snowed the whole time but not so hard as to make it difficult to see. We scared up a moose early on in the run, and it ran down the trail ahead of us for nearly two miles before disappearing. We could only see it on long straightaways, and even though the team was loping at a good speed, we never drew any closer to the moose. It appeared to be trotting!