Wednesday, December 28, 2011

White Mountains Christmas

My husband Robert and I spent Christmas Eve and morning in the white mountains this year with most of our dogs. We left the dog truck at about 5pm on christmas eve and mushed the dogs out about 16 miles to the moose creek cabin where we spent the night, it was a very hilly run so every one got a good work out including us mushers who ran up most of the hills behind the dogs. I got my christmas present early this year so that I could use it on the trip, I got a Piko headlamp made by Lupine from Robert. It is an awesome gift and one I will put to very good use, it has 750 lumens of light so compared to the other head lamp I was using which only had 120 lumens it's a bit like turning on the sun. I really appreciated this head lamp on the run out to the cabin since it was all done in the dark.

For this trip we split the race team in half I took 5 dogs and Robert took 6, and then we had two if our 7 month old pups (Jana&Drummer) running loose with the team. They spent most of their time running up in front of the team playing with each other. They did both of the 16 mile runs like they were nothing and didn't even look tired after day number two. I think I have the makings of an awesome race team on my hands with this litter.

We did the run back to the truck on christmas morning and then finished off our day by having a delicious dinner with our friends at Dome Creek Kennel.

My team consisting of: BP (lead) Rapid and Rogue (Swing)
Summit and Chaos (wheel) and Drummer and Jana ( running
loose up front)
BP sleeping in his straw next to the cabin to help block the wind. We had a very
windy night with temperatures ranging from -20F to 0F the
dogs handled it just fine. The star and aurora viewing
were absolutely fantastic.

Getting ready to leave the cabin in the morning.
Roberts team consisted of: Pip and Adidas (lead) Swamper and
Chupa (swing) Sierra and Molly (wheel)
Robert petting Chupa after the run.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Solstice 100

I realize that this post is a few days over due and I would like to start by apologizing for that, it has been a crazy hectic week. This past weekend the team and I ran our first 100 mile race and had a blast and learned a lot. This was a very fun and relaxed race consisting of two 50 mile runs with a 4 hour lay over between them, the perfect way to start my racing career. I have wanted to race with my sled dogs ever since I was 5 years old and I finally got too, and now I am hooked! It was everything I thought it would be and then some.
The team did beautifully, I am so proud of them. They did the 100 miles in 11 hours and 46 minutes coming in 9th place out of 12 teams. Not to bad for our first long race. Previously the longest race we'd run was the Hamburger run which is about 30 miles long. We crossed the finish line at 3:08 am sunday morning with a happy team of 9 dogs. We started the race at about 11 am  saturday with 10 dogs. I dropped Chupa at the half way check point because her feet were a little sore because of a few splits in the skin between her toes, she didn't let it slow her down though and came into the check point with a tight tug line and wagging tail, but it was in her  best interest in the long run to have her wait with the handlers with the dog truck for the rest of the team to run the last 50 miles with out her.
The trail was absolutely fantastic! it was hard packed and all the over flow was dry on the way out. On the way back some of the over flow spots were a little wet but not enough to be of any concern. 10 minutes after leaving the check point on the second half of the race my wheel dogs went for a little swim in the Chena River after a musher ahead of us broke the ice out accidentally on one of the river crossings. It wasn't a big deal, I stopped the team and they were able to easily climb out. I dried them off the best I could and then put dog coats on them for a few hours. Further down the trail it got to warm and I had to remove their coats to keep them from over heating.  It was -10 f when we got to the check point and +20 f  when we finished the race, a little warm for the dogs which contributed to a slightly longer run on the second half of the race. We did the first 50 miles in 5 hours and 17 minutes and the second one in 6 hours and 29 minutes.
The photo at the top of this post is of my team at about the 20 mile mark on the first stretch of the race, it was taken by Carol Falcetta. You can see some of her other photos of the race by going to this link e=3
And you can go to this link for the official race times and to see how other mushers placed

With only 4 hours of day light on race day this was my
view for most of the race. This was taken during the second half of the
 race. Note the coats I put on the wheel dogs Sierra
and Chaos after they fell through the hole in the ice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The race is on!

Here at the kennel we have been waiting to hear if the Solstice 100 race in Two Rivers Alaska is on and we just heard its a go. It was up in the air for awhile as to whether to cancel the race or not due to lack of snow, but over the past week we have gotten enough snow to make the trail safe. The race is run in two 50 mile runs with a four hour layover at the Angel Creek Lodge in between runs. For more information on the race please visit

I am excited and nervous about the race, it is my first 100 mile race, but I hear its a good one to start with. I will be running 10 dogs in the race: Adidas, Rapid, BP, Chupa, Swamper, Pip, Summit, Sierra, Rogue, and Chaos. The photo at the top of todays post if of the race team on a 40 mile training run sunday with my friend Hollie Ann in the basket. The team looks great and I have no doubt we will finish the race with a happy team still ready to run.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pictures From The Trail

Over the past few days the temperature has warmed from a brisk -20f to a very balmy +20f, and with the warmer weather has come more snow. During the past three days we have gotten about 2-3 inches of fresh snow, while not much it has helped to smooth out our rough trails a little. The dogs don't seem to mind a bumpy trail but my knees and feet are rather tired of all the bouncing and   jarring.

  I have slowly increased the dogs mileage over the past week from about 20 miles a run to just over 30 miles a run and they are loving it. They look great and return home from running still wagging their tails and barking to go. This group of canines is undoubtedly one of the most athletic I have gotten the privilege of training in my 16 seasons of running dogs. I hope to be doing 40 mile runs with them by the end of the week.

   With all of this new snow and the warmer temperatures it is necessary to put booties on all of the dogs feet before every run. Dog booties are  made out of a fabric called cordura and are worn on the dogs feet kinda like socks, they are held in place by a strip of Velcro that goes around the dogs leg and attaches to its self. They help protect their feet from rough snow and ice and also wet snow that will stick to the hair on their feet and pack into snowballs between their toes which can rub and create painful sores and splits that will some times bleed. While it can be time consuming and very costly at just over a dollar a boot to bootie up the whole team it is well worth it to protect their feet. A bootie is only good for about 100 miles before it wears through and becomes useless, needless to say we go through a lot of booties in a season.

  Some dogs have what mushers call "good feet" which means that they don't tend to get snow balls or sores on their feet and their feet require very little maintenance to keep them healthy. While other dogs have "bad feet" which means they are more prone to getting snowballs in their feet and usually require more maintenance like dog booties on every run.

  On long runs I will stop the dogs about every two hours for a snack, its just a quick stop only about 5 minutes or so. The snacks aren't very big only about a 1/4 of a pound or so of meat per dog. I give them things like frozen beef, fish, or chicken, I try to avoid really fatty snacks especially when its warm (above 0F)  that would make them sluggish. These short breaks allow me to briefly check dogs and make sure they all still have their booties on and what not.

 I have added quite a few pictures to the end of this post in hopes to give you an idea of what I see on a daily basis during my training runs behind the kennel located northwest of Fairbanks Alaska.  These photos were all taken over the past several days, I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fading Daylight Hours

Well we were supposed to have a race today but it was cancelled for the third year in a row for lack of snow. So instead of a 10 mile race I went on a 20 mile run with the dogs, which of course was a lot of fun. We are slowly opening up more and more trails  which is always fun and exciting.

Sun rise and set are only about 5 hours apart this time of year so we don't have a whole lot of daylight hours which makes taking pictures a bit more difficult, so consequently I only have one picture to go with this post, I will work on getting some more soon.

Having a quick break at mile 10 of 20 today.

Weather lately has been chilly staying close to -20f, however we did have a few days of about -5f which were really enjoyable. The weather forecast is calling for warmer temperatures and more snow this coming week which is really good news, we could really use some more snow to make running larger teams possible. With the current condition of parts of the trail running more than 6 or 7 dogs at a time really isn't a good idea. The tussocks are still sticking through in places making it rough going.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cold Snap

  The last couple of days have been very cold with temperatures as low as -40f at night and -30f during the warmest part of the day. During cold weather like this we feed the dogs a little more food than normal and also add a bunch of fat to their diet. Adding fat to their diet is a really good way of making sure they have the calories they need to stay warm.
  We add fat to the dogs food several different ways, one being melting 2-3 cups of poultry fat into the water bucket for each group of 10 dogs. Or we will give them chunks of pork or lamb fat, we also melt beef or poultry fat and then poor it into ice cube trays and then freeze it which makes the perfect size fat  balls to pass out to the dogs. We will also buy 40# blocks of frozen poultry skins and feed it to the dogs in small chunks about 2"x2" There isn't much the dogs like more than a big piece of frozen poultry fat.
  Sled dogs need a lot of calories, their body can process huge amounts of fat and protein every day with out upsetting their digestive tract.  These amazing animals can process up to 10,000 calories a day when working hard, and 60% of those calories need to come from fat.
   I once had a dog get loose when I wasn't home and he got the top off the bucket of chopped up poultry skins and ate about two gallons, he looked pregnant he ate so many. While this would have been enough to make most dogs sick for a week it didn't even seem to faze him, also he didn't get  runny stool either, I was and still am very impressed, Summit definitely has an iron stomach.
  So in addition to extra fat in their food we also make sure the dogs have extra straw in their houses to help keep them warm. They handle the cold extremely well and hardly seem fazed by it at all. -10f is the ideal temperature for sled dogs, but they also thrive in weather much colder than that.
  Over the last few days as a treat I have been letting some of the dogs into the cabin for a few hours to help take the edge off and also spend some quality time with me. The  dogs all enjoy coming into the cabin and hanging out on the couch and bringing them inside for some bonding and relaxation time does not hurt their desire to be sled dogs at all.

Here Chupa relaxes on the couch with her toy. 

  Today finally brought a little break to the cold, it got as warm as  -20f today so I celebrated by taking some of the dogs out on a run to open up a new section of trail we haven't used yet this year.  We ended up doing about a twelve mile run with only about 5 miles being difficult and previously untraveled. Much to my delight a snow machine also known as a snow go had already gone over a section of the trail several miles from home so we did not have to break trail the whole way.
We had a relatively uneventful run, we did see two moose on a large pond at the turn around point. While moose can some times be a threat to dog teams running into the team and trampling dogs and even the musher, these two were not a problem and left the immediate area after spotting us, which thankfully is the usual reaction we get.
  I like to put coats on the dogs at -15f to -20f and colder, especially on the thinner furred ones. The coats are mostly to protect against the wind chill while running and help prevent the dogs from getting frost bitten on some of their more sensitive less furred areas.
Sierra and summit show off their coats during a break near
the half way point.

At -20f I frosted up rather quickly but was cozy
inside of my winter gear.

It was -20f when we left the house and -26f when we got
home, I expect to see -30f to -35f or so tonight.
A nice section of trail that a snow machine had
previously been over.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Snowy Bliss

The past few days have brought warmer temperatures, and more snow. We now have about 6 or so inches of snow on the ground not a lot, but it is still snowing we are hoping for much much more. The dogs and I are loving the fresh snow.

 I am excited our first race of the season in two weeks. It is only a 10 mile fun race, but it's still exciting. Several times through out the year the mushers around Fairbanks come together north east of Fairbanks in a place called Two Rivers for "fun" races, these races aren't very long only 10-30 or so miles, the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association hosts these and some longer 100 and 200 mile races. The idea as with most races is to get together, race dogs and have lots of fun...wining is nice to. These shorter fun races have a really fun atmosphere and serve as great training runs for young race dogs, it lets them experience the chaos of a race with out the serious competitive pressure one finds in a longer race. It is also good experience for dogs and musher alike passing other teams.
To learn more about the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association and their races and events please go to 


Monday, November 7, 2011


We have been getting more snow over the last few days and finally have enough to run small teams on sleds. Both the dogs and I are ecstatic, we are looking forward to more snow and bigger teams. The first team I ran was 4 dogs, and it went really well, there isn't a lot of breaking power yet, due to a lack of snow to sink our breaks into. The second team was a three dog team, and we also had a nice run with no problems. I ran both teams about 4 miles, not a long run, but just long enough to get out and enjoy this new snow. Soon we will be doing runs of 50 plus miles.
Team number one consisted of BP and Rapid in lead and
 Chaos and Summit in wheel.

The dogs were so excited to be out and running in this fresh snow they ran really fast  with great enthusiasm the whole way, it was all I could do to hang on for some of the bumpier places and sharp corners. Since it can be difficult to hang on and take pictures, I only have pictures of the easy sections of trail. 

Team number one after arriving home.
Team number two consisted of Adidas in lead, and
Pip, and Molly in wheel. 
Pip voices his excitement about the pending run. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Changing Seasons

   As the golden leaves of fall are slowly getting covered by a white blanket of bliss the dogs are getting antsy, they know their season is here. There is excitement in the air as the snow accumulates, we have about 3 or so inches on the ground right now and more for casted to fall through out the next few days.
Despite the lack of snow it is cold, we have been seeing temperatures of about -10F to -20F at night and about 0F during the daylight hours, perfect weather for sled dogs.

  While we do not have enough snow to run to dogs with the sleds yet we are running them about 4-5 times a week using a 4-wheeler, known to some as a quad. The 4-wheeler is not nearly as fun as a sled but it does provide some bonuses such as a longer training season, better stopping power, a speedometer and odometer to better track the speed and miles we are traveling. The 4-wheeler is more limited to where it can go compared to a sled especially with a string of dogs attached to it, so our trails are limited until we get some more snow and then they become endless.

Half way through an 11.4 mile run we stopped to take a quick break, and 
I took a walk up the team to check the dogs and give each one 
quick pat and tell them how good they are doing. They would much 
rather keep running then stop. Shortly after snapping this picture
the dogs decided it was time to go, and all ten dogs pulling
 at the same time creates a lot of power, even with the parking break on
 I had to quickly jump on the 4-wheeler to stop the team from leaving me behind.

The team travels seemingly effortlessly at about 12 mph.
The ability to smoothly cross obstacles in the trail such as
this wooden bridge is important for the safety of
the dogs. We work with all of the dogs to socialize
and expose them to new people, places, and experiences
from a young age. 
Chupa and Rapid display the fact that even at 0F it is still cold enough to have frosty faces.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


On behalf of myself and the dogs, I would like to welcome you to our kennels blog. Here at Boundary sled dog kennel, we love our dogs, the sport of mushing, and the Alaskan way of life. To us it is more about having a healthy happy kennel who enjoys going out into the Alaskan wilderness, and the love of the dogs more than anything.  We work hard to keep our dogs happy and healthy and to also educate people about these wonderful athletes, it is my hope that through this blog we can show people how great these canines really are and also help to educate people about different aspects of mushing from gear and training to kennel maintenance and nutrition.

We look forward to sharing our adventures with you, and hope you enjoy learning about our life just as much as we love sharing it.