Monday, December 17, 2012

Race Season Is Upon Us!

With Jana and Adidas in lead the team takes a
short break after a long steep hill. 

The team headed down a big hill while training with the four
wheeler this winter.

Out enjoying the new abundance of snow!
The 6 month old pups play in the new snow with the dog yard in the back ground. 
Sparta wants just five more minutes of sleep
before heading down the trail, while her younger
less experienced sister Pirate is up early and ready to go.
Perhaps Pirate is expecting another snack. 

Racing season is upon us here at the kennel with our first race of the season less than a week away. This Saturday we will be running the Solstice 100 in Two Rivers, Alaska. The race starts at Pleasant Valley store at 11am and runs 50 miles to Angel Creek Lodge where teams will take a mandatory 4 hour layover and then run 50 miles back to Pleasant Valley store finishing some time late in the night. We ran this race last year as a rookie team, finishing in 9th place. The solstice is a fun race and the dogs and I are eagerly awaiting its start. You can keep track of  our teams progress by going to or by visiting the Two Rivers Dog Mushers page on Facebook.

Our second race of the season is the Top of The World 350, which runs from Tok, Alaska to Eagle, Alaska and back to Tok. The TOTW starts on December 27th a mere five days after the Solstice 100. The TOTW is a brand new race, and will consist of 35 teams, you can learn more about the race by visiting their website you can also  keep track of our teams progress and that of other mushers by visiting their website and facebook page during the race. This is going to be the longest race that I have ever run, and I am looking forward to it and all the challenges it will bring. I am very excited to be apart of the first running of this race as it majorly envolves my home town Eagle. I grew up in Eagle and that is where I got my start in mushing 17 years ago. I still have a few dogs left from my days in Eagle, but they are older now and will be cheering the team on from home outside of Fairbanks instead of joining us on the trail, they will be missed while we are out there.

I have to apologize for the large amounts of time that have been passing between blog posts, but a lack of internet has definetly played a mojor roll in that.  I have been extremely busy training dogs, we have been running at least 4 if not 5 or 6 days a week. Using the other days to catch up on chores around the house such as firewood, hauling water, cutting up meat snacks for the dogs, general kennel maintenance and that all ways dreaded chore of running errands in town.

The team is doing excellent this year. They are strong, healthy and ready for the race season. We have been doing a lot of hill training in preparation for the Top of The World 350 which will cross over 3 summits two times each. I am very pleased with the dogs, so far they have tackled every hill we have come across with enthusiasm and power. Luckily we have escaped the training season with out any major injuries or mishaps that would have taken a dog out of training for the season in order to recover.

Our biggest challenge this season is the lack of snow we have had and also a few days here and there of extreme cold, as I write this the temperature outside is currently -46f. A few days ago we were blessed with a winter storm that came through dropping about 18 inches of fresh snow on us and making the trail systems wonderful. We went from having hardly enough snow to even call it winter to plenty of snow to safely run just about any trail around.

We have been doing a lot of runs in the 30 and 40 mile range, and even a 70 mile run in the white mountains. We have just a few short runs and a long 60 mile run planned before we start racing Saturday. I have posted a few pictures above of some of our training runs including some from our trips to the white mountains this season, I am sorry some of them are a little dark, we are down to less than 4 hours of daylight per day now, and what little light we currently get isn't even that bright.

Merry Christmas and happy trails from everyone here at Boundary Sled Dog Kennel. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thank You!

We would like to take a minute to thank a few people.

 First off Thank You to Jan and Don in eagle for the donation of dog booties, we go through a lot of them and we really appreciate them.

Second we would like to Say a huge Thank You to Tupper at Becker Sewing & Design for our new sled bag and matching leggings for the team. Tupper's work is among some of the highest quality I have ever seen and his customer service is some of the best around.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Winter is here!

Winter is here! Dog training is in full swing, there is snow on the ground, and temps are often dipping down below 0f at night. We don't have enough snow yet to run the dogs on the sleds so we are still on the four wheeler. We have to use chains now on the front tires to help with traction in the snow, mainly to keep the dogs from just pulling the four wheeler where ever they feel.

The dogs are currently running about 16+ miles a day. And are very happy. We are running them on a 2-3 days on and 1-2 day off schedule. This gives them the milage they need for the up coming race season while still getting some time off to keep things exciting and to ensure they get enough rest in between runs. We have been running a lot with our friends at Dome Creek Kennels, working on skills like passing, running from the truck, and running past the truck during training runs. All very good skills the dogs will need while racing this winter.

We have 7 yearlings in the team this year and they are all doing fantastic. They are starting to blend in seamlessly with the more experienced members on the team and it is getting harder to tell the young dogs from the older race dogs. I have been working with a couple of the youngsters in lead, mainly  Matrix and Drift. They are doing an excellent job and seem to be naturals. We are also working with some of the slightly older dogs such as Chupa and Pip up in front of the team, and they are also doing great. Showing improvement every day.

All in all the team is doing awesome and we are looking forward to the upcoming race season. We are currently planing on running the following races: the Solstice 100 and the Top of the world 350 in december and the Two Rivers 200 in March with hopefully some other races in between.

Below I am posting a few recent training pictures.

And until next time Happy trails!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good Bye Dog Camp. Hello Fairbanks.

As the green leaves turn to gold, and the cool nip of winter returns to the air it is time to pack up dog camp and head home again. Our Summer at dog camp on the Denver glacier just out side of Skagway has been an eventful, beautiful, and exciting adventure. It is a bitter sweet good bye to all of our new friends and the beautiful mountains of coastal Alaska. But it is with excitement we head home and prepare for this coming race season, full of hope and high expectations.

It was a two day trip from Skagway to Fairbanks with three people, and 49 sled dogs. We found a beautiful grass covered hill side off the road far enough to let the dogs out for a stretch and dinner, and also to let the puppies run around and play for a bit. The puppies were born on the glacier and had never before seen anything, but snow, they had quite the time running and playing in the knee high grass in the golden glow of the evening sun.

We have been very busy since arriving back home in Fairbanks. We are in the process of moving further out of town to have more room for the dogs and a bigger trail system for training. We have been working a lot on construction, building 15 new dogs houses, building an out house, preparing to put up a yurt, building a feed shed and so on. We have also been keeping up with the normal busyness that is our life caring for the sled dogs and meat rabbits, and this time of year getting things ready for winter.

Below are a few pictures of what has been happening around the kennel, some from our drive home and also some from the glacier. I hope you enjoy them and they hold you over until I can find enough of a break in our hectic lives to post again.

Fresh snow on the mountains near camp, on August 28. This
snow fall completes our summer with it officially snowing at
least once every month while we were in camp. 
The dogs hanging out in camp just a few days before leaving
the glacier. 
The view from our campsite in Canada on our way home.
Four Wheeler training back in Fairbanks, getting the team back in race shape for this coming winter.
Taking a break to cool off and get some water while four
wheeler training. 
During a tour on the glacier, towards the end of the season.
Photo courtesy Jim H.

If you went on a tour with us this summer and have a photo
you'd like to share please email it to
Cooking up some goat scraps for the dogs.
Part of the new dog yard. 
Inside of our freshly finished feed shed,
newly stocked with 2,000 lbs of Inukshuk. 
One of the new dog houses we just built. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sparta's Puppies

Strange & Dana

Sparta's puppies are growing nicely and doing very well. They are a month old now and getting more and more playful and adventurous by the day. I started them on solid food about five days ago now and they are really liking it.
Within the next week or so I'll start taking a few out at a time to go and walks. And I have been spending some time taking them into the tent to hang out and get some time with me with out any other puppies around. They are really neat puppies full of personality and I am looking forward to watching them grow and develop into sled dogs.

The theme for this litter is Axel manufacturers and their names are:
Males: Rockwell, Spicer and Axis.
Females: Eaton, Dana, Venture, Sterling, and Strange.


Venture, Eaton, and Strange. 

Life at Dog Camp

I find peace in the raw beauty that surrounds us every day, reminding us how small we really are and how blessed we are to experience life on a glacier with 250 amazing canine athletes and 16 unique people from all over the world brought together because of the lure of adventure and the love of sled dogs.

One of my teams harnessed up and waiting to go to work.

Part of the dog yard, with tour teams in the distance. 
 Sparta demonstrates how a hinged roof makes for great puppy viewing. 

The view from my tent on a mostly clear evening. 

This is the north side of camp, where there are 160 sled dogs,
only about half are pictured here. 
An early season avalanchewhere the snow runs down the rocks just like water.
Some of the tents we live in. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Spending the Summer on a Glacier

The dogs and I are spending the summer on a section of the Denver Glacier just out side of Skagway Alaska doing sled dog tours for Alaska Icefield Expeditions. The dogs are enjoying the snow and being able to run every day and I am enjoying being able to run them with a sled in the summer time, plus I am getting to meet a bunch of really cool people from all over the world. I am only in Skagway once a week with limited internet so please be patient with me about getting pictures and updates posted. Six days a week I am up on the Ice with the dogs.

On May 23 Sparta gave birth to eight healthy puppies, 5 females and 3 males. All are growing quickly and are very healthy. I will have pictures of them up in the next week or two.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Spring is in the air

Caribou herd in Denali National Park 

After a long cold winter spring has finally sprung, or at least what we Alaskans call spring anyway. It is no longer getting below freezing at night and the after noon highs are reaching as high as +60f, most of the snow has melted, and the resulting mud is drying up. The grass on south facing slopes is threatening to turn green and the geese are back.
This time of year the dogs are all enjoying a much deserved break basking in the sun, chewing on bones, and playing in the mud. I am taking advantage of this nice weather to do a little traveling and also some cleaning around the house as more and more snow melts I keep finding more and more straw to rake and items that were lost in the snow to pick up. Last weekend Robert and I headed south to Denali National Park to drive the 30 miles of park road that is currently open to public traffic. It was a magnificently gorgeous day, we saw a ton of beautiful scenery and even some caribou.
Robert's parents are currently in town visiting us, it is great to have them here and we are really enjoying their company, this is the first time since we've been married that they have been able to come see us. Today we visited the large animal research station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and got to see some brand new baby reindeer, one was still learning how to stand up and walk. It was so much fun to watch the little baby on its wobbly legs.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Last Long Run Of The Season

The team hanging out after a snack during a 20 minute break
a few miles past the half way point.
I really enjoy traveling through tall spruce trees.

Seven dogs and I took advantage of this beautiful day to go on a 48 mile run, sadly it will most likely be our last rally long run of the season. With spring quickly taking over and a lot of things to do over the next month before packing up the dogs and heading south, it's finally time to think about putting the sleds away until next winter.

The weather was absolutely beautiful with sunny skies, a very light breeze, and temperatures hanging out around +30F. The team handled the warm weather just fine and I really enjoyed it, the run took 5 1/2 hours and I never had to put anything more than a hoodie on to stay warm. I stopped the team a couple times for a quick snack of meat or a little kibble and we stopped several times very shortly to let the dogs bite or roll in the snow. We took a 20 minute break just over half way through the run, and the dogs seemed to appreciate the snack, but then were impatient about having to wait to keep moving down the trail.

Pip after he successfully turned the team
around by himself at the half way point.
Pip really got a chance to show me how much he has learned this winter. He is still a young dog, not quite two years old yet, but all winter he has been proving himself a valuable member of the team and a bright up and coming lead dog. I have been running pip in swing or double lead (next to another lead dog) all winter and finally today decided to see what Pip can do on his own, and wow am I impressed. I moved Pip up from swing (right behind the lead dog) to single lead just to see what would happen. Well Pip took off down the trail just like an old pro, he proceeded to lead the team for the next 37 miles all by himself. He flawlessly led us over multiple long glare ice patches, down new trails, and past snow machiners stopped on the trail taking a break and chatting. If Pip keeps up the good work he could very well be one of my main race leaders next winter.

In spite of not doing any more long runs this season, it is still far from over. The team and I and a few friends and their teams will be heading to the White Mountains this weekend for a final white mountains run this winter, probably only covering about 20 miles. The weather forecast is saying temperatures over the next few days and through the weekend are supposed to be around +40 to +50f so we should probably wave good buy to the snow. If the trails keep holding up I am going to try and get a few more short runs in with the puppies in addition to the white mountains weekend trip. Also the Kobuk 440 sled dog race will be starting on April 12th in Kotzebue Alaska. We will not be participating in this race, but for more info on it and to follow it please click here .

In early May the dogs and I will be heading to Skagway to work on the Denver glacier for the summer for  a company called Alaska Icefield Expeditions giving dog sledding tours. We will be living on the glacier for the summer with no internet access except on my days off which will hopefully be once a week. I will try to update my blog as much as possible about life on the glacier and I will also try to get a few more blog posts up before we leave. To learn more about Alaska Icefield Expeditions please click here .

Last Sunday Robert and I headed up to the whites for an eighteen mile run with our friends Martin and his daughter Hollie. Martin and I each drove a team of dogs, Robert drove the snow machine and Hollie took turns riding with each of us. We had a lot of fun and it was good experience for the puppies. I took advantage of us trucking the dogs some where for a short run to bring along a few of the pups to give them the experience. I brought Gus one of the yearlings who is behind the other yearlings in his training and Charley and Tramp two of the ten month old pups that were born at our kennel last spring. All the young dogs did terrific just like they'd seen it and done it all before. Below are some pictures from last Sunday.

Hollie demonstrating snow depth.
My team.
Martins team, and Robert on the Snow machine.
The view from the trail.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Valley Funale 2012

My team not far from the starting line with Adidas and Rapid in lead,
Pip and Chupa in swing, and Chaos and Summit in wheel.
Photo Credit: Jan DeNapoli

The dogs and I had a very fun day Saturday running our final race of the season. We headed our to Two Rivers with our friend Martin to run the Valley Funale. Every spring the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association Host the "Fun"ale, it is a community event with dog races, Easter egg hunts, a barbecue / pot luck, and a Hungry dog eating contest.
The dog races are  the main events with one and two dog races for the kids and then a 6 dog ten mile race and a ten dog twenty mile race for the adults. We competed in the 6 dog ten mile race this year, and came in third place with a total run time of 37 minutes and 51 seconds, we finished 48 seconds behind first place, and had a blast. The last 3-5 miles of the race were the most fun, that is where we caught up with the other teams and got to pass three teams and then work really really hard to stay in front of them. Abby west and I were helping the dogs as much as we could kicking and yelling encouragement for the last few miles, it sure is a lot of fun to come into the finish line with a team right on your heals, especially a talented one like Abby's.
The Funale is just a fun race, there are no prizes or anything. It is just a fun event for the community, a really positive way to end a race season.
I would like to take a quick minute to thank all the volunteers who made this race season a success in the Two Rivers community.

Here are the race results for the 6 and 10 dog races:

6 Dog Race
Bib # Place Name Time out Time in Total time 10 1 Roger Chamagne 11:46:00 12:23:03 0:37:03 1 2 Beth Manning 11:28:00 12:05:30 0:37:30 11 3 Amanda Gecas 11:48:00 12:25:51 0:37:51 8 4 Steve DeMolen 11:42:00 12:20:14 0:38:14 14 5 Nathaniel Stitt 11:54:00 12:32:44 0:38:44 13 6 Charlie Jagow 11:52:00 12:32:12 0:40:12 2 7 Lia Amundsen 11:30:00 12:12:05 0:42:05 9 8 Abbie West 11:44:00 12:26:11 0:42:11 12 9 Joanna Jagow 11:50:00 12:32:22 0:42:22 3 10 Robert Ramires 11:32:00 12:15:00 0:43:00 7 11 Erik Milan 11:40:00 12:24:34 0:44:34 6 12 AJ Sutton 11:38:00 12:25:03 0:47:03 5 13 Greg Newby 11:36:00 12:28:03 0:52:03 4 14 Ilana Kinsley 11:34:00 12:27:14 0:53:14

10 Dog Race

Bib # Place Name Time out Time in Total time 14 1 Skeeter Stitt 11:20:00 12:42:41 1:22:41 2 2 Jason Weitzel 11:02:00 12:27:55 1:25:55 16 3 Bill Cotter 11:24:00 12:53:30 1:29:30 9 4 Laura Allway 11:16:00 12:47:18 1:31:18 15 5 Rick Tarpey 11:22:00 12:56:46 1:34:46 11 6 Cali Gavora 11:18:00 12:52:56 1:34:56 3 7 Mandy Nauman 11:04:00 12:43:53 1:39:53 6 8 Suzan Amundsen 11:10:00 12:50:20 1:40:20 5 9 Wes Brightman 11:08:00 12:48:27 1:40:27 1 10 Tamara Rose 11:00:00 12:40:58 1:40:58 7 11 Eric Cosmutto 11:12:00 12:59:43 1:47:43 17 12 Tony Angelo 11:26:00 13:15:14 1:49:14 4 13 Bob Hauer 11:06:00 12:57:10 1:51:10 8 14 Donna Patrick 11:14:00 13:23:15 2:09:15

Adidas and Rapid showing there enthusiasm at the starting
line.  Photo Credit: Mariska Wright
Rapid doing the "happy dance"
at the starting line. Isn't she cute?
Photo Credit: Mariska Wright
The team leaving the starting chute.
Photo Credit: Mariska Wright