Back On The (Iditarod) Trail: “The Dogs Come First”

“How about that interview with Justin Savidis – ‘our’ musher – at the McGrath checkpoint?” Admin says.

“Just great,” Spence says. “What a wonderful attitiude. And his caring approach to the dogs is so heartfelt – lovely to see. A very impressive guy. Here’s what Rebecca has to say in her update:”

The twenty-hour layover has come and gone.  In the miles since, AJ and fourteen members of the Snowhook team have traveled through Takotna and Ophir, and at the time of this email are on the trail to Cripple.  Less harrowing than the Steps, less notorious than the Gorge, and less destructive than the Burn, this stretch of trail and the stretch beyond is long.  Nearly eighty miles separate Ophir and Cripple, and seventy miles lay between Cripple and Ruby.

There is no word yet on the two dropped dogs.  Normally, the who and the why are unknown and remain so until I receive a call from the Drop Dog Coordinator.  However, in the brief email I received from AJ yesterday morning he indicated that Garrett, a young guy and Jesse (as in James) were likely to return home ahead of their teammates.  Dogs are dropped for a variety of reasons—injury or illness among the top reasons.  Our philosophy is to be conservative with the dogs.  If AJ is doing his job well as the musher, and I’ve never know him not to, he will drop a dog if there is any questions whether or not he or she should run.  The dogs come first.

Welcome Wrigley.

And here’s another Jeff Schultz Iditarod photo.


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This entry was posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012 at 8:49 am and is filed under Chet The Dog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

146 Responses to “Back On The (Iditarod) Trail: “The Dogs Come First””

  1. B.Stover
    8:56 am on March 9th, 2012

    I received an email alert from the Insider that AJ had left Ophir at 17:10 yesterday Alaska Time. It also shows Dallas Seavey in fourth position and out of Cripple. That was a good interview. Go Snowhook.

    Good morning all.

  2. Rose
    9:08 am on March 9th, 2012


    Just catching up on last night.

    Jasper: That is wonderful news about Sissy. I’ll send prayers your way that Sissy will not need any further treatment.

    Amalia and Leonard: Another lovely, and conforting prayer last night. Thank you.

    Belle Starr: I am worried about your two-legged mama. Please give her some tummies and head bumps, and make sure she is locking the door and taking the key with her at night!

    Hey B: Still counting books? Will you reveal the grand total when the counting is done? 🙂

    Rio: I think another nip at the ankle of depression will do the trick!

    Thanks Spence and Admin for posting Rebecca’s updates.

    Ahem….I’m stepping up on my soap-box. I would just like to say that while I don’t know Rebecca and AJ personally, they are two of the finest people I know on this blog. Their love for each other and for their doggies makes my heart melt. Stepping off the soap box now.


  3. Melanie
    9:08 am on March 9th, 2012

    Good Morning Everyone. (Hi B.Stover)

    From the Anchorage Daily News …
    View of the Norhtern Lights over the Yukon River. Ruby AK late yesterday

  4. OleyHowlers
    9:09 am on March 9th, 2012

    AJ is almost at Cripple already! Will he take a break there, or camp further on?

    Good Morning Bee, Admin, Spence, Chet, and all the Plunderers and Lurkers.

  5. Melanie
    9:15 am on March 9th, 2012

    Barb & MagPie, Please send my thoughts to Kelly and family.

    Bella, Thanks for the info on the sleds. (one eyebrow raised) Fascinating.

    Pondering. What happened with our two friends meeting? Was Macy able to find Mr. Redbone Hound? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Check on AJ first thing this morning, he was close to Cripple. Need to check it again.

    Patsy update. Patsy is now 8 months past her diagnose of bone cancer. Five months of gift time. Her tumor has not grown. Her problem with the inflammation in her teats is easing. She goes for short walks with me and the weekly walk / run with the Pack. She is loving and demanding. She is a gift.

  6. Macy the Min-pin
    9:17 am on March 9th, 2012

    Good morning earlybirds. Mom is off to Beacon House and I have to play hostess to Holly and Biddy. Later.

  7. Melanie
    9:18 am on March 9th, 2012

    One more thing then I HAVE to get to work …

    Link to an Iditarod Adventure Tour! Hmmm. Have to go buy a lottery ticket! I’ve got 51 weeks to win.

  8. Rose
    9:23 am on March 9th, 2012

    Melanie: Great news about Patsy!

    Miss Macy: Any romance at the Ophir checkpoint. Do tell!

  9. B.Stover
    9:34 am on March 9th, 2012

    Rose: Yes, I will reveal the number of books. I have one more room and an additional shelf to get organized yet.

    Good news on Patsy Melanie. Love the picture.

  10. OleyHowlers
    9:36 am on March 9th, 2012

    We feel for all of the Members of the Nation struggling with old-age and/or illness, and especially for their 2-leggeds who must deal with anxiety and impending heartbreak. We here have been phenominally blessed that our Lead Dog Sasha has remained physically healthy at her very advanced age, but we still fret for her seeming loss of mental capacity. In her hayday (sp?), she would have made an amazing Lead Dog on any sled team. She is/was compact, low to the ground, light-weight(never more than 45), made for speed, and the bravest and most tenacious husky we have ever known. She is stubbornly resisting old age and her own mortality, yet reality does tell us that she can’t go on forever. Our own pack will have a giant-size crater when that inevitable day arrives.

  11. OleyHowlers
    10:03 am on March 9th, 2012

    WoooHoo Brandy!!! Howdy!!!!! Great job leading the team in.

  12. Melanie
    10:24 am on March 9th, 2012

    AJ is now doing 0.0. Wonder if he has any pie left?

    Need to look at the weather forecast.

  13. BearSpiritDog
    10:28 am on March 9th, 2012

    This is very sad. We just posted a very long message and now it is gone. Will be back after gathering our thoughts together. Noting the computer is on overload this morning. Oh, oh I can see the smoke. BBL

  14. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:33 am on March 9th, 2012

    Brandy!… Interesting how much gold came out of Cripple back in the day…snort!…And it is the Half-Way point….snort!….Now AJ and the Team will be coming back to Rebecca….WoOOOOooooOOOO!

    Forum!….Has MushMouth replied to any of our comments from yesterday….heh!heh!…He might feel out-numbered and finally shut-UP!…chorkel!

  15. Siber-H
    10:34 am on March 9th, 2012

    Thank You for the beautiful photos, Spence, Miss Macy and Melanie and the updates, Rebecca.

    Macy, to answer last night’s question: We had bad wind for two days but, amazingly, no blowing sand, where I live. They can call it blowing dust if they want to, but I call it blowing sand.
    Because I have had my wet nose stuck to the computer, I didn’t even know about the sand storm on the interstate until I read the paper this morning.

  16. Melanie
    10:34 am on March 9th, 2012

    Did you know that Cripple, AK doesn’t have any weather?

    So on to Ruby. By my favorite weather link … Right now in Ruby it’s -11 and fair, Today’s high will be 6 degrees with a 20% chance of snow. Tonight, -22 and mostly clear with a 20% chance of snow.

    On to Galena … Today 9 degrees, tonight -18 degrees, tomorrow 4 degrees

    It sounds like good weather for a dog team!

    Now who knows what the track is like up to Ruby and Galena?

  17. Siber-H
    10:44 am on March 9th, 2012

    Melanie, This may be an idea:

    Maybe the Royals can see the interview with AJ sometime when they are visiting you. Or, maybe sometime (after the race?) they can log into the Insider on their computer using your information to get in.

    If the Insider does what it has always done n the past, they will leave the 2012 videos up there on their website. You would have to go through a lot of pages by that time to find the AJ interview but it should be there.

    Thanks for the update on Patsy and we are thrilled with the news.

  18. Masquers
    10:48 am on March 9th, 2012

    Brandy, you did good. B is proud, we are proud.
    WooooHooooo!!! AJ at the half-way and soon on his way back to Rebecca!
    Excuse moi uno momento. Technokat must do some adjustments to our overloaded data storage.

  19. Redbone Hound
    10:55 am on March 9th, 2012

    Well now, Ah am too much of a gennelman to say much, but Ah will say that things got a might warmer after Ah tole Miz Macy where to find me. An that tater pie wasn’t the onliest sweet thing in Ophir.

  20. B.Stover
    11:01 am on March 9th, 2012

    I think AJ is in Cripple or very near it.

  21. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:03 am on March 9th, 2012

    Redbone!…snort!…You ole Howndawg, you!…heh!heh!

  22. B.Stover
    11:09 am on March 9th, 2012

    AJ has that picture of Brandy running…the thing he loved best!

  23. Siber-H
    11:10 am on March 9th, 2012

    Melanie, The trail from Cripple to Ruby is around 70 miles and it mostly follows old mining roads.

    The trail from Ruby to Galena is all on the fabled Yukon River, usually easy going but the mushers must stay on the marked trail for their own safety.

  24. B.Stover
    11:24 am on March 9th, 2012

    According to Anchorage News, Jim Lanier was first at the halfway point and won a “heaping tablespoon of gold nuggets.” (Wow! $3,000 in a heaping tablespoon!)

  25. Snowhook Bella
    11:52 am on March 9th, 2012

    The northern lights were out last night in Willow, but weren’t very dramatic. It was a green glow around the tops of the trees and small, faint whisps overhead.

  26. Siber-H
    12:03 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rio, I finally got over to the Forums. No, Mushmouth hasn’t replied to any of us.

  27. Riö – The Evil Pug
    12:11 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rebecca!…How are you doing today?…sniff!…AJ and the Team are half-way there! That is very exciting!…snort!

  28. OleyHowlers
    12:31 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Did youse guys get to watch that video interview of the Berington twins? Pretty cool.

  29. Melanie
    12:44 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Work, work, work …

    I gave Dan another tutorial in using Dragon Speak on the iPad. Then i had him practice it by dictating from a book. He got the hang of it.

    I figure I’ll have to do this a few more times to get it into his muscle memory and long term memory. He had a good time.

    Been working on YSAS website moving things around, adding and subtracting some things. Now waiting for permission to add that film, Aphids, to his resume. Also adding some pictures from the set that he’s in.

    I hope the runs are safe and easy for AJ and team.

  30. Riö – The Evil Pug
    12:48 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Twins!…Those two look exactly alike!…wow!…That was a fun video. We also watched the one with the Gold being handed over. I was amazed by how small the amount of gold it takes to equal 3000.00 dollars!…snort!

  31. C.Harris
    1:01 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Melanie: you rock! Don’t know how you do all that you do.

    Gold! A friend’s family owned a gold mining site for many years. The first time I went there I did it the old-fashioned way (panning in a stream). I had visions of riches but it is hard work (and kind of boring). For their real mining, they had a box set up that they would shovel dirt in, pump water through and the dirt and gravel would wash out and leave the gold. The family got between $600 to $1,000/wk (this was 25 years ago). It was still hard work but worth the 4 hours/day of physical labor. They eventually sold their site to a company.

  32. Masquers
    1:13 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Just watched the video of Dallas Seavey coming into Ruby this morning, the snow crunching his sled. He looked like a frozen popsicle. Brrrrrr!!!
    CHarris: Many years ago mom panned for gold in the mountains north of here with friends who lived in the area. It takes an incredibly long time to get such a miniscule amount, but her friend proudly held up his little vial at the end of the day and was happy.

  33. Melanie
    1:16 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Our river that were on (not telling you the name for reasons to become apparent) is known for placer gold. In fact, the rivers here in the eastern portion of the Berkshires have placer gold in almost every stream!

    Zoe and I are going to get panning equipment and try our luck this summer. Nice way to sunbath!

  34. dawson
    1:16 pm on March 9th, 2012

    CHarris: That gold 25 years ago would be worth what…a whole bunch more today.

    Brandy! B.Stover’s elegant speedster will watch over the Snowhook Team at Cripple.

    Sasha and Patsy! We are grateful for the bonus time and wish it would never end.

    Forums: Perhaps Mushmouth has put you dogs on “ignore”.

    Dan is way more techno savvy than SiberH or moi.

  35. Siber-H
    1:20 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Dawson, Perhaps Melanie could come visit us.

  36. B.Stover
    1:28 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Getting the house…and books…back in order is breathtaking work so I have to take many breaks.

    Melanie: What is “placer gold”?

  37. Tupper and Gilly
    1:29 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Hi everyone – Mama just stuck her head out of the Mud Room so we get to see what is going on. We just posted on Siber’s thread to AJ so that he would move back up to the top of the queue. He was too far down the list – unacceptable.

    Melanie – thank you thank you thank you – it WORKED! woo hoo…

    Just a note to all of you – Mama has to be out of the house tonight. She is gong to try like mad to be home by 9, but if she is not, she will post the prayer as soon as she gets in the door. Otherwise, she would have to post it about 5 pm EST. Whichever you all prefer is fine – just let her know.

    We are now getting all the emails about AJ checking in and out of checkpoints. Sending him good wishes for the next leg!

  38. Rose
    1:43 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Ride like the wind, AJ!!!!!

    Rebecca: Are you okay?

    Thank youse guys for being special Iditarod correspondents!

  39. BearSpiritDog
    2:00 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Poor Raksha…yesterday TPTB (the powers that be) admitted to spelling your name it remains the same. Don’t feel bad…they did the same to moi when I was FOTM last year.

    Dawson: We did some checking into your missing package and the suspected MGs interception.
    Jamaica, NY is a clearing station for international mail and is actually located at JFK International Airport, one of five locations across the country.
    The postal agent I spoke with advised that once a package leaves the country it can no longer be tracked.
    Chalk another one up for TDGs (Those Dam Goats).
    p.s. We will cleverly be rerouting another envelope to Alice just in case. You can always pick it up on your next visit. tee hee.

    Royal Mum: 5 pm is fine with us as the later time may be too late for some.

  40. Snowhook Bella
    2:07 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Stinky Mama: Please check your SDD.

    Rio and Rose: I’m fine. Sleep deprived and down to my last slice of cheesecake…how did that happen?

    AJ will rest the dogs for a while, as you can see if you have Gypsy, before heading to Ruby. I know the trail from Ruby to Nome having traveled it by snowmachine in 2007. From Ruby to Kaltag, he will be on the massive Yukon River. River miles are easier, yet can be boring for both dogs and musher. Except for Bridger. Bridger, a retired lead dog, loved to run rivers in his prime. Why? He just liked to go, go, go! Fargo, my main leader and the alpha of the kennel before he passed found river running incredibly boring—give him and uphill climb with twists and turns any day.

  41. Melanie
    2:38 pm on March 9th, 2012

    B.Stover: Placer gold … leaves or grains of gold that have come off the matrix (usually quartz around here).
    Here’s a picture.

  42. OleyHowlers
    2:42 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Hey, check out this new interview with our favorite author…we are even sort-of mentioned!

  43. C.Harris
    3:12 pm on March 9th, 2012

    If a heaping tablespoon of gold is worth $3,000, my friend’s family would almost fill a small baby jar with gold 25 years ago. I’ve also visited a commercial mine outside of Fox, Alaska and got my photo taken with an actual gold bar. That sucker was heavy!

  44. B.Stover
    3:43 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Thanks Melanie. Do you know how much it is worth?

  45. Melanie
    3:57 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Okay, gold today is going for $1,711.50 an ounce.

    Would take a lot of placer gold to make an ounce, so per gram it would be $55.02.

    There are approximately 28 grams in an ounce.

    BBL. Going to watch Oliver Twist.

  46. Masquers
    4:06 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Howlers: Just watched the video of the Berringer twins. They make it sound like so much fun…traveling the trail together someone always has your back.
    I will check out the interview with Spence next.

  47. Masquers
    4:20 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Bella: I always say, boring is better than the chills and spills of the other day.

  48. Snowhook Bella
    4:28 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Masquers: Agreed, agreed. Yet, I don’t like the boredom of waiting for the #38 flag to move. Those ten minute increments seem to take twice that long when the team is standing still.

    Howlers: From yesterday, I think they need to have an all AJ, all the time Insider video, but again, I may be partial.

  49. Riö – The Evil Pug
    4:47 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Interview!…How come I never get mentioned in any of Spencer’s interviews??….hmmmmm?…grunt!

    AJ!…Whats AJ and the Team up to? …snort!…We’d better go check on those guys…sniff!

  50. Masquers
    5:08 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Many teams have stopped to rest.
    Ally is in front of the pack on her way to Galena. Will her strong lead do the trick? Time will tell.
    It would be very kool to have a woman win this year.

  51. Riö – The Evil Pug
    5:17 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Ally!…She just keeps going and going!…snort!…The Seavey’s seem pretty confident though…sniff!

  52. Siber-H
    5:24 pm on March 9th, 2012

    It is Aliy that Mom and I are cheering for in the leading teams.

  53. Princess Sam
    5:27 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Yesterday I reported about my boy’s chewed zipper on his backpack. Now my family thinks I may just be hungry. Last week I got put on a kibble-only diet. They all guess I have gained weight and my appointment at the v e t is in a couple of weeks. Uh-oh. I should not weigh more than 7 pounds. I think I’m just very fluffy.

  54. Snowhook Bella
    5:27 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Am I the only one thinking that B Stover is counting books in bare feet to enjoy her new carpet?

  55. Masquers
    5:31 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Did you notice that Rhonda, who interviewed Spence, belongs to Zion FOTM on facebookie?

  56. Snowhook Bella
    5:31 pm on March 9th, 2012

    If I’m doing my math correctly, and that is questionable at best, a seven pound Princess x 7 and then some = 1 bag of dog food.

  57. BearSpiritDog
    5:33 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Barefoot’n on new carpet…that is a nice picture, SnowBella.

  58. Riö – The Evil Pug
    5:48 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Gasp!…AJ’s flag popped up!…snort!snort!…He’s getting ready to leave Cripple!….WOOOOOO!

  59. Riö – The Evil Pug
    6:00 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Wishful!…Maybe that was wishful thinking…snort!…But a bunch of flags suddenly appeared at the Cripple checkpoint and his was in on top for a short bit…grunt!…Maybe they are all getting ready to leave at once?…wuffle!…I don’t know!

  60. Barb & Maggie
    6:01 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Sam, Chewing on a zipper sounds more like a case of boredom than hunger. Take it from moi, I am a chewing expert!

  61. BearSpiritDog
    6:01 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rio: What are you saying? My flags are always up. Hmmm…..

  62. Snowhook Bella
    6:04 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rio: AJ’s flag being on top doesn’t mean much of anything—grump; when mushers are clumped together like that it only shows one of the flags. When he starts moving, well, that’s different. The dogs have had a nice long rest at Cripple (enjoying time with Brandy, no doubt), but it still may be warm, yet. I’m not sure the temperature there, but that can impact whether or not he will wait longer.

  63. Masquers
    6:24 pm on March 9th, 2012

    It does seem like the teams have been there for a while, over nine hours, so it is definitely time to roll.
    It is showing -2 in Ruby right now…10 mi. visibility…no wind.

  64. Gus & BooBear
    6:26 pm on March 9th, 2012

    We may be slow on the uptake but when did Sam’s avatar get the revised name of “Princess” Sam? Has it been awhile and we just didn’t notice? Not that we don’t think she is a princess, we are just wondering.

    Waiting impatiently for AJ’s flag to move!

  65. Siber-H
    6:31 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Gus&BooBear, You are not alone, I wondered the same thing.

  66. Rose
    6:43 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rebecca: LOL! That’s a pretty funny image of B. Glad to hear you are okay. Is Belle Starr taking good care of you like I asked her to?

  67. B.Stover
    6:47 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Sam: I meant to ask before if you’d been chewing any more zippers.

    I’m laughing about going barefoot. It’s too cold for that (34) but I am in my stocking feet. I’ll try to post a picture of the glass bookshelf that I put together. It only has a few books on it plus other things. I’ll get some of the carpet in it. My camera’s battery is being recharged.

  68. Melanie
    6:50 pm on March 9th, 2012

    The Masterpiece Theater’s “Oliver Twist” is great. The boy who plays Oliver is wonderful. We’ve done the first one. Tomorrow we start on the second. I notice that MP Mystery is now doing “Sherlock” again! YOO HOO! The guy who plays Dr. Watson is playing Bilbo in “the Hobbit”.

    Dan has decided what he wants for his birthday. He asked me to get him a recumbent tricycle. He was serious. I told him that I don’t have the money for that.

    And life goes on and life goes on.

    Anyhoo … Going to check out Gypsy.

  69. Melanie
    6:54 pm on March 9th, 2012

    On the road again
    Snowhook’s back on the road again!

  70. BearSpiritDog
    6:56 pm on March 9th, 2012

    G&BooBear: Now that you mention it…she IS Princess Sam. We hadn’t noticed the updated avatar either.

    Melanie: Since our first post was so rudely interrupted first thing this morning, all the nice things we wanted to say are only a memory. One that is coming to mind is how much we appreciate the beautiful picture of the northern lights. It is there to enjoy each time the page is refreshed.
    The news about Patsy living each day to the fullest made our hearts glad. She is mistress of her domain…watching out for all of you.

    O.Howlers: Sasha says: Why yes. She would have been an excellent sled dog and could have been a contender. She is Sled Dog Dreaming.

    Jasper: Your most Excellent news this morning truly made our day. We are praying for Sissy’s complete recovery with no further need of treatment.

    Daylight Savings Time! We will set our clocks ahead one hour tomorrow night before going to bed. This brings to mind the quote by the old Indian that Melanie posted for the Royals the other night…saying only the White Man would think this technique for saving time would work.

  71. dawson
    6:58 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Sam added princess to her name at least a couple weeks ago.

    I saw some dogs racing today…wow! they went fast! Then I played some language Bingo, learned some Slavee words and won a turkey and a bag of frozen cranberries.

    I thought AJ would have left Cripple by now…hope it is only the weather keeping him from leaving.

  72. OleyHowlers
    7:01 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Bella, we like the idea of an all-AJ video network.

    We were afraid we’d miss the prayer. Mom just got home, with Kat. Why does she take Kat to work, anyway?

    Brandy, (whispering) can you wake AJ uo now?

  73. OleyHowlers
    7:03 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Good work, Brandy!! AJ is on the move!!!!

  74. Masquers
    7:05 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Dawson: It appears not only AJ has not left Cripple…seems to be several teams still there.
    Jan Steves almost to Takotna. Rest and a feast await.

  75. Masquers
    7:08 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Yes! He’s on the move! some are still there so perhaps he can get some distance. Nattie is doing her job.

  76. Macy the Min-pin
    7:14 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Princess Sam- 7 pounds is not a dog, it is a handbag.
    Dogs are not that popular around here right now. First, Belle chomping the heck out of mom and then someone remodeled her best pair of reading glasses by removing the lenses and earpieces. I had nothing to do with either activity, but am laying low none the less.

  77. Melanie
    7:18 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Shoot. Now he’s stopped again.

  78. Macy the Min-pin
    7:21 pm on March 9th, 2012

    I don’t think Jan Steves got much of a banquet at Takotna. She was only there for 6 minutes. Maybe since she’s a rookie she did not know there was pie. There is always room for pie. I am guessing that she and Bob Chlupak are traveling together on purpose. Maybe he is her tour guide.

  79. Melanie
    7:22 pm on March 9th, 2012

    I hadn’t even noticed Sam’s name change. She’s always been Princess Sam to me!

  80. Macy the Min-pin
    7:28 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Dawson – a turkey and some cranberries? There has got to be a story there. Where did you see dogs run. There has been a lot of dog racing here. Up to now, dogs have not been invited upstairs. Since dad opened his ham radio operations up there, Some Dogs have entertained themselves by running up the stairs, down the stairs, up the stairs….

  81. Melanie
    7:29 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Macy, from the film “Michael”
    Lyrics to Pie Song:
    Me oh my
    Nothing tastes sweet, wet, salty and dry
    all at once o well it’s pie
    an’ wet bottom.
    Come to your place everyday if you’ve got em’
    Me o my
    I love pie

  82. Melanie
    7:30 pm on March 9th, 2012

    So if the cranberries were frozen does that mean the turkey was alive?

  83. Macy the Min-pin
    7:34 pm on March 9th, 2012

    We just love numbers here. Did you know that the next five teams starting with AJ all came in at the very top of the hour plus or minus 6 minutes? Very tidy.

  84. Melanie
    7:35 pm on March 9th, 2012


  85. Macy the Min-pin
    7:44 pm on March 9th, 2012

    We also liked the tidiness of having a Reddington at the beginning and end of the starting lineup, and that the Berington sisters drew bibs nearly together.

    Go Team!!

  86. dawson
    8:05 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Macy MinPin: I believe that Jan Steves and Bob Chlupak are an item. I know they did a bit of training together.
    This weekend is the Trapper’s Rendezvous here. Dog racing is on the agenda. There are teams from all over Canada and US. The local Streeper Dog Kennels are the host.
    Some of you remember my history with the frying pan throw. That event is tomorrow…though I may be busy at the cribbage tournament. Also the dog-pull competition has a new category this year for Min-Pins, Pugs, Kirbys, Jaspers and other smaller dogs.

    Melanie: The turkey was frozen also. No story, my name was drawn out of a can. I never Bingoed.

  87. BearSpiritDog
    8:06 pm on March 9th, 2012

    We have a Rookie question…a couple in fact.

    What does Teacher on the Trail mean?

    What happens when a musher scratches…do they then get a lift back to Anchorage?

  88. Siber-H
    8:16 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Bear, When a musher and his team scratch, they all get a lift back to Anchorage.

    Teacher on the Trail: There is a real school teacher on the trail. It has something to do with the Iditarod helping to educate kiddies. There is a lot of information for teachers to use in their classrooms on the Iditarod’s website, but I have never looked at it. I suppose this teacher on the trail reports back to those classrooms that are folowing the Iditarod.
    Rebecca would know more.

  89. Masquers
    8:26 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Ally into Galena at 3:53.

    I read somewhere that the halfway point at Cripple is actually the town of Iditarod famed from the days of the gold rush. Hence the $3,000 in prize money paid to the first musher who reaches it.

  90. Masquers
    8:29 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Does anyone know if there is a chart or map of the distance between checkpoints? Some idea of the terrain would also be helpful.

  91. Tupper and Gilly
    8:35 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Hi everyone – we are home in time for tonight (although Melanie was standing by, ready to leap into prayer mode if needed)

    Kind of an exciting night, but more about that later – right now we are all focused on AJ and the team.

    Dawson _ woo hooo!!!! Thank you SO much for the book. My goodness, it was in PERFECT condition for a book dropped off as a donation. Doesn’t even look like anyone has ever read it. After reading the #1 Ladies Detective book that we found, we are hooked. Not so much a mystery as just a delightful, feel good book. Can’t wait to start this one!

    BearSD, thank you so much too. We truly appreciate it.

    Bee – Mama is going to an information meeting tomorrow about that University without Walls. Its not being held on the campus that traumatized her so much, so she should be ok.

    Hey – we had a good day today. Mama actually won a battle with the cable company. They are giving her a $20.00 discount every month for the next year. So there! (it just does not do to tick Mama off – heads will roll!)

    Off to the Iditarod site now to catch up on everything – be back shortly

  92. dawson
    8:45 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Masquers: If you go to the far right “About Iditarod” heading and click on “checkpoints” in the drop down menu, then scroll down past the map of checkpoints…you come to a list with the distances between checkpoints. If you click on any of these town names it will tell you the terrain between the checkpoints.

  93. dawson
    8:49 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Oops, instead of “checkpoints” on the above directions, click on “The Iditarod Trail”.

  94. B.Stover
    8:55 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Masquers: I do something a bit different than Dawson. Go to the 2012 Race tab on top click and click on “Checkpoints” in the drop down box, then it’s the same as Dawson’s directions.

  95. Tupper and Gilly
    9:00 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Creator – thank you for another day upon your earth. We live surrounded by the beauty you have created. Though our souls, we can feel the beating heart of this earth. Our hearts are connected to the rhythm of the earth. Our hearts are connected to each other.

    Creator – with life you gave us this heartbeat. You gave us the ability to feel emotion, to feel connection, to feel love, or loss, or to feel anger or fear.

    We ask you to be with us today to help us feel the connection of our heartbeats, to truly feel the love and the hope and the joy that is ours if we seek it. We ask you to be with us today to take the fear from our hearts, to loosen any anger that may hold us back.

    Creator – through your gift, we have the ability to give our love to others. It can bring great joy to give that love, joy as great as the songs of birds in the spring. It can be very hard to give that love, as hard as taking one more step when exhaustion weighs us down.

    But we know that it is by giving love that we honor your gift to us.

    Creator, this circle of friends has given love to each other. This circle of friends has received love from each other. This circle of friends honors that gift you have given us, and our love for each other is what makes us a strong voice in our prayers to you.

    We ask you today to help us find room in our hearts only for joy and peace and tranquility. Help us to release fear and be calm in your love. Help us to let go of sorrow, and remember times of happiness. Help us to discard loneliness and frustration and find instead the companionship of our heartbeats, and the soothing pattern of that rhythm.

    As AJ and the team continue their journey, let the rhythm of our heartbeats become the song that carries them along. Let them feel our love and support. Let it make their path smooth and swift as their running paws dance in harmony with the earth.

    Creator – we ask you to hold Rebecca and fill her heart with a gentle calm. As her soul is connected to AJ and the team so far away, let her hear his heartbeat within herself that she may know he is safe and always close to her. Give her peace and rest and let her sleep sheltered in the quilt of our love.

    Creator – we thank you for another wonderful day upon your earth. We live surrounded by the beauty you have created. Though our souls, we can feel the beating heart of this earth. Our hearts are connected to the rhythm of the earth. Our hearts are connected to you.


  96. Masquers
    9:06 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Dawson and B to the rescue! Thank you both.

    Melanie: I love the pie song from Michael!

  97. BearSpiritDog
    9:12 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Someone here sends sincere apologies for interrupting tonight’s beautiful prayer.
    Each one is different and perfect for that day.
    Quite simply…Thank you.

  98. Barb & Maggie
    9:15 pm on March 9th, 2012


    And Amalia, you wern’t even one minute late! Thank you again.

  99. Barb & Maggie
    9:16 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Has everyone looked at the beautiful moon tonight?

  100. BearSpiritDog
    9:22 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Barb&Magpie: We have been enjoying the Moonlit nights and also the longer days. Snow or no snow…Spring is here!

  101. Princess Sam
    9:23 pm on March 9th, 2012

    My blog name as always been Princess Sam. (What! You guys haven’t read Animal Farm?)

  102. Riö – The Evil Pug
    9:28 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Prayer!….Awww! We made it downstairs in time (or past time) for the wonderful nightly prayer….amen!…We’ve been out walking and then she had to eat and then and then and then…grunt!…Finally we are downstairs and we can catch up on AJ and the Team….Woooo!

  103. Riö – The Evil Pug
    9:54 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Poorman!…What is that town of Poorman that AJ passed a while ago?…sniff!…Does anyone know?

  104. Melanie
    9:57 pm on March 9th, 2012

    BearSpiritDog, the Moon is beautiful. Just saw it. We had some snow earlier tonight. The Pack were snow dogs. Until they shake. 🙂

    The Prayer was even better the second time I read it!

    YSAS story. Working coat check at a big art show. Lots of people. Three Coat checkers working constantly. Then some guy decided that he wasn’t getting his coat fast enough and started yelling at the young woman McKey was working with. YSAS goes up to the guy and tells him to stop being rude. They are working as fast as possible and it does not help the situation if they are being yelled at. All in a level but LOUD voice. This shuts the guy up. YSAS finds his coat (the only thing the guy has asked for) and the guy starts yelling about his bag. YSAS says what does the bag look like (since the guy had lost the ticket). Guy starts yelling louder. YSAS says, in his trained actor voice that can reach to the back of theaters, you are being rude and unhelpful. The Guy says he doesn’t like YSAS’s attitude. YSAS says, “I am giving back exactly what I am receiving.”

    Guy stops. Apologizes, gives a description of the bag, YSAS gets it, gives it to him and says, “Have a nice evening.”

    I taught that boy well!

    Got to check on AJ before I hit the bed. BBS

  105. Macy the Min-pin
    9:58 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Pie makes life bearable. Thanks Melanie.

    Dawson, I have got to have pictures of the little dogs pulling…what are they pulling anyway?

  106. Staff
    10:05 pm on March 9th, 2012

    By Jeff Schultz /

    Friday March 9, 2012 A Justin Savidis dog sleeps at the half-way checkpoint at Cripple. Iditarod 2012.

    from the photo’s link at

  107. AbbietheKitty
    10:09 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Staff and family had blueberry pie tonight in honor of Dad (Bruce’s) 88th birthday. Everyone wanted ice cream too.
    Alice and I did not get any.

    Staff wants more pictures of the Aurora please.

  108. dawson
    10:19 pm on March 9th, 2012

    MacyMinPin: They pull a sled with dog food on it. If they manage to pull the sled 20 feet then another bag is added…until only one dog can do it. The winner gets the dog food they were able to pull. It starts first thing in the morning and chances are I will still be in bed.

  109. BearSpiritDog
    10:25 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Staff! Nana says to tell you she finds that photo very touching. She just wants to give him/her (?) a big hug. I wonder which member of the team it is?

    Abbie: Now you’ve gone and made me hungry again and here we just had our evening snack. Blueberry pie is my favorite! (one of them) and with ice cream on top…even better!

    Siber-H: Thank you for answering my questions. Next year I won’t be a Rookie anymore.

    Melanie: We love the stories of YSAS. Keep ’em coming!

  110. Melanie
    10:25 pm on March 9th, 2012

    To bed I go, dreaming of pie.

    The blueberry sounds good.



  111. Tupper and Gilly
    10:31 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Awwwww – what a beautiful sleeping puppy.

    Melanie – gotta love that YSAS. Sometime when he calls you, bouncing off walls, you should try that technique with him…tee hee

    Sammie – we noticed your well deserved honorific.

    Macy – are you going to give us the details of that “sweetie pie” you had last night. Come on girlfriend – do tell

  112. Masquers
    10:42 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Rio! How is it you are able to see that town? You must be zooming in pretty close.

  113. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:43 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Team!….I wonder which Team memember that is up there resting in Cripple…snorkel!

  114. Masquers
    10:48 pm on March 9th, 2012

    I saw it. Poorman…an ominous name for gold mining country.

  115. Riö – The Evil Pug
    10:48 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Maskers!….heh!…At one point I was zoomed in so close that AJ looked up at me and waved…snort!

  116. Masquers
    10:57 pm on March 9th, 2012

    If you zoom in too close at the wrong time (ie: in the mountains) it can get pretty darn scary. I’m not a fraidy kat…but…sometimes you just don’t want to see what’s around that next bend.

  117. Riö – The Evil Pug
    11:08 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Goodnight!…This week has whipped my butt…sniff!… I am going upstairs to bed…snort!

  118. Tupper and Gilly
    11:16 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Good night Rio –
    Good night all
    Sleep well Rebecca

    Dawson – throw a frying pan for us!

  119. Masquers
    11:19 pm on March 9th, 2012

    The name Poorman is apparently a misnomer. Continuous mining took place in this area from 1912 to 1976…resuming again in ’95 to ’98. A quarter of all the gold recovered from the Ruby District before 1960 came from Poorman Creek…approximately 98,000 ounces. My brain is too fuzzy to count, but that seems like a pretty tidy sum when broken down into dollars.

  120. AbbietheKitty
    11:22 pm on March 9th, 2012

    I was watching a few video’s at The one with the Berrington sister’s is great. Thanks for suggesting it. Another one that I like was Aliy Zirkle first into Galena. Her dogs look alert and strong.
    Remember when we watched the restart in Willow and a number of you commented on how focused and strong the leaders for #34, Dallas Seavey’s team looked. I have been keeping an eye on him and he is doing really well. His team looks good too.

  121. Masquers
    11:32 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Abbie: #34 is doing very well. I believe he’s, what, in third place now? After our favorite musher, AJ, we are really rooting for Ally, who seems to be holding a good lead. She is stopped in Galena at present with the two Seavey teams hot on her trail.

    Tell Bruce Happy Birthday. (whispering so Bear doesn’t hear me & get hungry again) Sorry you and Alice didn’t get any pie and ice cream.

  122. Snowhook Bella
    11:34 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Golinka: Thank you again for the beautiful prayer of heartbeats.

    That sleeping dog looks like Frank, but I could be wrong. We have a couple that look alike with the exception of specific characteristics. Frank, Jesse and Younger are all brothers, and each of them white. Jesse has orange ears, more so than his brothers, Frank is the only one with any kind of manners, and Younger had freckles on his nose. Quig and Twig look a lot a like except for gender and temperment. And, on more than one ocassion I’ve called Josephine by her mama’s name, Twig.

  123. Masquers
    11:43 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Bella: The Snowhook team is exceptionally beautiful. Of course, as Plunderers, we may be prejudged just a tiny bit.

  124. Masquers
    11:47 pm on March 9th, 2012

    that’s “prejudiced”

  125. Masquers
    11:48 pm on March 9th, 2012

    and, that’s all folks.

  126. Snowhook Bella
    11:51 pm on March 9th, 2012

    Say ‘g’night,’ Masquers…

  127. Masquers
    12:04 am on March 10th, 2012

    goodnight Bella…

  128. Snowhook Bella
    12:08 am on March 10th, 2012

    Dawson: It sounds like you had fun watching sprint racing and the weight pulls. Sprint mushing is a different game that long distance mushing—the dogs are different, the gear is different, the training is different. When Tenzing, my first sled dog was a yearling, he pulled a snowmachine. AJ was working outside and had Tenzing loose, but needed Tenz to stay a safe distance while we worked with a saw so he clipped Tenz’s leash to our old snowmachine. Out of the corner of his eye, AJ saw something moving. He was suprised to see tenzing, young guy that he was pulling the dead weight of the snowmachine.

  129. dawson
    12:21 am on March 10th, 2012

    Snowhook Bella: The dogs for the sprints were built more like greyhounds than huskies and the sleds were short.
    The Teacher on the Trail looks like she has lost the trail just before Ruby.

  130. OleyHowlers
    12:39 am on March 10th, 2012

    We are back! We always end up falling asleep early on a Friday night. Pizza, combined with exhaustion from the week, does that to us. AJ is about halfway to Ruby.

    Abbie, even though Ally is out in front, we think Dallas has a better chance just by the way his team is still looking.

  131. dawson
    12:49 am on March 10th, 2012

    TOT is in Ruby.

  132. Snowhook Bella
    1:01 am on March 10th, 2012

    The doors are locked and Belle Starr didn’t have to remind me. All the dogs in the house told me to lock the doors. I was tending to Coach—the dog, not the father—who has an injury. Luna, Belle, and Tenzing started acting strange and guarding the front door. I finished with Coach, looked out the peep hole. Nothing. I walked to the living room (not a far distance in a 900 square foot house) flanked by each of the dogs. As soon as I sat on the couch, they ran to the front door again. I looked out the peep hole again. Nothing. I opened the door to have a better look and each of the dogs started growling and tried to push past me. I slammed the door shut and, you guessed it, locked the doors. Now, everyone is acting normal.

  133. OleyHowlers
    1:09 am on March 10th, 2012

    Oh Bella, why do you think they were growling? Just so you would lock the door?

    Who is Ruby sponsor Matt Keortge? A friend of the kennel?

  134. Snowhook Bella
    1:15 am on March 10th, 2012

    Howlers: I have no idea why all four of them were growling, but as soon as I locked the doors they stopped. Coach and Tenzing have the couch and loveseat respectively, Luna and Belle Starr are on a dog pillow together. Narry a growl from any of them at present.

    More to Howlers: Matt is a friend of the Kennel. In fact, he was one the first individual sponsors we ever had, and the first person to sponsor a checkpoint this year. Not only that, it was his fancy camera that we used for the second pawdition video that was requested by the casting director. Once AJ leaves, Ruby, look out Galena. That’s Rose’s checkpoint.

  135. dawson
    1:27 am on March 10th, 2012

    I remember Matt Keortge. He took many cool photographs of Snowhook last year. I seem to remember he had a website with Alaskan landscape photos.

  136. Snowhook Bella
    1:40 am on March 10th, 2012

    Dawson: That’s the one. He was the self-proclaimed official photographer for Snowhook. At least he was until he accepted a job offer in the lower 48 that he couldn’t refuse. He is a very good photographer. In fact, Coach’s—the father, not the dog–Christmas present was a photo that Matt took of Coach and I at last year’s race.

  137. Macy the Min-pin
    2:17 am on March 10th, 2012

    Rebecca, can you actually remember the names of all the dogs. I mean, gosh, that is a lot of dog! I always wonder how people like Melanie, who have dogs that look alike can keep them straight.

    As far as what happened at Ophir…it stays at Ophir. (and in my memory, sigh)

    Dawson, is there a weight limit for the food haulers?

  138. dawson
    2:47 am on March 10th, 2012

    MacyMinPin: There is no weight limit.

  139. dawson
    2:54 am on March 10th, 2012

    My back says I have to sleep now…how’s your back Rebecca?

  140. OleyHowlers
    6:10 am on March 10th, 2012

    Just got up. AJ is at Ruby !!! YAY SNOWHOOK ! YAY Matt Keortge !!!

  141. Snowhook Bella
    7:11 am on March 10th, 2012

    Howlers: You beat me to it—the team is in Ruby! Teams must take a mandatory 8 hour layover at one of the checkpoints on the Yukon River. After the long run to Ruby, it appears as though many teams are optig for their 8 at Ruby.

    Macy: I named most of them—all those who were born in the kennel. We know their names, their likes, dislikes, the way they run, personalities. I try to name them in themes, so we can just say, the Outlaws, for example and know who we’re talking about.

    Dawson: The back is fine. I’ve been babying it.

  142. dawson
    8:16 am on March 10th, 2012

    Hooray! Snowhook’s in Ruby! Sponsored by Matt Keortge who, if he was still in Alaska, would be taking more great photographs of Snowhook.
    Back to bed for a couple more hours.

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