Iditarod (3)

The Iditarod overnight report from Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook – our team!

In a thousand mile race, what you hope for and what actually happens are two different things. For us, what we hope is that what we plan for is closer to what actually happens on the race spectrum. While you would not hope to be hood up on the side of a trail with a broken runner, it does happen. With a low snow year, AJ sent out a second sled to McGrath before he left the starting line. This kind of planning did not take a crystal ball. Both pain and experience are a beautiful teachers. In 2014, AJ pulled into McGrath driving something that once had resembled a dog sled and traded it for a second sled he sent to McGrath ahead of time. The second sled that year was courtesy Rose and Grizz from Chet’s blog. What was a luxury for Snowhook, became a necessity.

The broken runner that AJ limped into McGrath from Nikolai yesterday is not to the extent of 2014’s damage, but it is not the first time AJ has experienced actuality vs. hope on the trail. In 2012, his sled was damaged, and again in 2013. Not only did AJ ship out a second sled this year, his normal practice is to carry a small tool kit in his sled bag. Did he try to make repairs on the trail or while the team rested in Nikolai?—It is possible. Maybe the possible repairs were enough to gracefully get the team to McGrath, maybe not. In any event, I can hear AJ’s voice saying something I have heard him say to mushers and fans, ‘Whatever happens on the trail, that’s you’re new reality. You have to make it work.’ This is true. Although there are somethings like trail conditions that are out of a musher’s hands, there are somethings that are in the squarely in the musher’s mitts.

The dogs do the running, but the musher makes the decisions. Each of these decisions—when and where to rest the team and for how long, what to feed, to bootie or not to bootie—impacts the dogs and ultimately your race for better or for worse. It is not just the decisions made after the five, four, three, two, one at the starting line that count. Training matters. Being a presence for and with the dogs so they have confidence in their musher when things are uncertain and difficult (like breaking a runner in the Farewell Burn) matters. Trust, attitude, consistency—it all matters. All these factors are a choice that AJ can make or not make. Either way, it impacts the dogs.

Breaking a runner was not part of Snowhook’s race strategy, but preparing for the possibility of it was part of the plan not just by sending out a second sled, but by establishing a relationship of consistency and trust with the dogs. The team ran at least 48 miles with a broken runner, but now in McGrath—the base of Operation Find Whitey-Lance in 2010—AJ will switch from his broken sled to his finishing sled.

How else does McGrath play into Snowhook’s planning?—It will serve as the home of AJ’s mandatory 24 hour layover. There, AJ and the dogs will rest, eat and repeat.

And here is team member Fritz (thanks, Dawson):



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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 at 6:58 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.

82 Responses to “Iditarod (3)”

  1. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    7:17 am on March 9th, 2016

    Thank you for the update, Rebecca and Spence. Glad he made it in and has the replacement sled there to replace the damaged one. Wondering how he gets the sled back home?

    Early start here, got up at 4:30. Have showered and had 3 cups of coffee already.

    Still warm here-in the lower 60s today. Loving it.

  2. Howlers
    7:26 am on March 9th, 2016

    Thank you for the update. And many thanks to Wose and the Prof for the excellent finishing sled.
    Barb, why were you up so early? It was 36 here this morning, according to our weather station, but it certainly felt warmer. The horses slept with the barn doors open, and it was light out already when we accompanied Mom to feed. She could even let the hens out already at 6:00! Welcome Spring (and our move feels even closer).

  3. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    8:46 am on March 9th, 2016

    Howlers, no special reason. I usually wake up around 3-4:00, but manage to go back to sleep. This morning I just go up and played on the computer.

    What is your target date for the move?

  4. Howlers
    8:53 am on March 9th, 2016

    We hope to move near the end of July or beginning of August. If this settlement thing goes thru, Mom and Pop are starting their permanent vacation July 1st, just in time for Kat’s birthday and Independence Day!!!

  5. BooBear
    9:20 am on March 9th, 2016

    SQ, did you know that Fritz, pictured above, is the daddy of Chet, Bernie, Iggy and Little? Mom found that out when she was up north (sigh). Their mom was Molly, a black Alaskan husky. That litter does not resemble their parents. Chet and Bernie are way bigger than Fritz and, along with Little, have a different coat. Iggy, although black like his mother, has the size of Chet and Bernie.

    Howlers, will y’all be renting a place until your home is finished?

  6. B.Stover
    10:05 am on March 9th, 2016

    Thank you for the report.

    Good morning all.

  7. Herd's Mom
    10:09 am on March 9th, 2016

    I’m sitting here in AK eating oatmeal and catching up. My “family” in TN cannot learn that AK is 4 hours EARLIER than EST. Today the DDD and I move to the glittery, many star Hobbit Hotel for the rest of our stay. Rio is right about Airborne. I have flown with no bad effects 🙂 Thanks Pug guy.
    So glad AJ and the team is safe and on the road again.
    Have a Iditarod watchful Wednesday, going to nap for a half hour!

  8. Herd's Mom
    10:35 am on March 9th, 2016

    Natasha, have searched high and low for this year’s pumps. FOUND IT!
    Please consider this passionate purple pump for this year’s race.

  9. Howlers
    10:38 am on March 9th, 2016

    BooBear, yes indeedy we will be renters. Right here on our farm. Heh!

  10. Staff
    10:40 am on March 9th, 2016
  11. Staff
    10:41 am on March 9th, 2016

    warmth and dripping water and the woods full of bird calls

  12. Staff
    10:41 am on March 9th, 2016

    Dang that Alice. Always trying to get ahead of everyone.

  13. Tupper and Gilly
    11:04 am on March 9th, 2016

    Good morning all.
    We are multitasking, being on this here blog, and doing a live-chat with a non-english speaking “customer service” rep. We can either laugh, or throw something.
    Not having opposable thumbs to get a good grip, we are regulated to laughing.
    Mama on the other hand……

  14. ALR
    11:18 am on March 9th, 2016

    I find myself so impressed this morning! First of all, I think AJ and Rebecca could write a great book about how to live life: “Whatever happens on the trail,that is your new reality. You have to make it work.” How? Carry a tool kit in your pack! It totally applies….and sending ahead a second sled is like the sweetness.

    Secondly, Natasha, those purple pumps would so enhance your style, girl!

  15. Herd's Mom
    11:22 am on March 9th, 2016

    For those without “Insider”, AJ is resting in McGrath. It is the last checkpoint with a population until Galena which sits on the Yukon River. Rest well Snowhook doggies and let AJ rest too.

  16. Howlers
    12:01 pm on March 9th, 2016

    ALR, That is a good motto to live by. Our ‘rents taught us that. “Whatever happens in your life, that is your new reality. Make it work.”

  17. Diane C.
    12:13 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Yikes–very happy there’s a replacement sled. Good Morning all.
    Prayers and good wishes for the Team and for all of this blog family.

  18. Herd of Hounds
    1:40 pm on March 9th, 2016

    We found the plunderers are easy to spot in the snow. Check out all the colors!

    Nana ????

  19. Herd of Hounds
    1:43 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Linda, BooBear’s sister????

  20. Herd of Hounds
    1:45 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Rebecca and BooBear????

  21. Herd of Hounds
    1:48 pm on March 9th, 2016

    The Awesome Dawson????

  22. BearSpiritDog
    1:59 pm on March 9th, 2016

    There is talk here of an Injured Texting Paw…therefore it is doubtful we will be posting much or uploading a lot of photos…at least for a couple of days.
    Nana says she had way Too Much Fun in Alaska and is already missing the Residents of the Hobbit Hotel, Snowhook and all the Plunderers who Traveled North to see the Iditarod. She is so Grateful to have had the opportunity to be there this year.

    Off now to deal with a Couple of Crises here at home. Murphy’s Law strikes again…Whatever can go wrong Will go wrong and at the worst possible time.

    Dawson: Good Flight Home on the last leg of your journey.

  23. Masquers
    2:09 pm on March 9th, 2016

    T&G: Now why does that sound familiar? Maybe because of those lovely chats with the customer reps from the S****t carrier while at the Hobbit Hotel. We would have thrown something, but it would have had to go halfway around the world.

    Snowhook on the trail…thank Kat for quick thinking and planning ahead!

  24. Masquers
    2:16 pm on March 9th, 2016

    HOH: Thanks for the colorful fotos! I have been assigned to download ours from the tablet so they can be uploaded to the blog asap

  25. Rose-the small and meek
    3:35 pm on March 9th, 2016


    We here just returned from the Toyota dealership. The GrizzMobile was in for its 150K checkup.

    Now getting ready to have an ultrasound of my liver. It seems that my enzyme levels have been high for some time. It is possible that one (or more) of the meds I take could be the culprit.

    We here still talk about how exciting and fun our 25th anniversary trip to Alaska was! We are so privileged to have been able to give the gift of a finishing sled to Snowhook.

  26. Rose-the small and meek
    3:39 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Belle Starr: Please tell the Pixie that you are not only a Sweet Love, you are wonderful, marvelous, glamorous, beautiful, sparkly, lovely, in charge, and a Princess! You, Belle Starr are the perfect dog!

  27. Wose-the small and meek
    3:42 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Belle Starr: And furthermore, please tell the Pixie you must have a tiara and magic wand, or you will be in a very bad mood…

  28. Howlers
    4:30 pm on March 9th, 2016
  29. BearSpiritDog
    4:39 pm on March 9th, 2016

    O’Howlers: OMD.

  30. Herd's Mom
    4:46 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Howlers, I hate that news and when I tell the HOH @ HOme they will be distraught.

  31. Howlers
    4:48 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Do those of with you see Kim Franklin’s tracker? Supposedly Mary Helwig’s tracker is with it.

  32. Howlers
    4:48 pm on March 9th, 2016

    That was supposed to say those of you with the gps tracker.

  33. BearSpiritDog
    5:04 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Big Time Entanglement!

  34. Herd's Mom
    5:07 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Beall and Daugherty are @ 230 off the trail together AGAIN!

  35. Herd's Mom
    5:15 pm on March 9th, 2016

    It is okay, they are resting.

  36. Tupper and Gilly
    5:17 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Oh dear – we do hate to hear that news. Praying right now that the dogs are found safe, and not in any trouble.

  37. Howlers
    5:20 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Texas Friends, batten down those hatches!!!

  38. BooBear
    5:52 pm on March 9th, 2016

    It was storming last night and off and on today. Don’t know what to expect for the rest of the night. Hope it will hold off until Mom gets home.

  39. dawson
    6:26 pm on March 9th, 2016

    The gps on Kim Franklin’s sled says she is going at 10.6 miles per hour. Gulp!

    I am home. The man-who-lives-in-this-house want to talk but I am busy, heh, heh.

  40. BearSpiritDog
    6:39 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Yay, Dawson! We know you are Happy to Be Home.

  41. dawson
    6:41 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Kim Franklin’s dogs now going 11 mph and are at the same race mile as Patrick Beall who is resting. I hope he sees and can stop them.

  42. dawson
    6:44 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Yes! The tracker now shows the dogs going at .2 mph. Please be safe doggies.

  43. Howlers
    6:46 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Larry Daugherty is right there too.

  44. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    6:55 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Please let them be safe, please.

  45. dawson
    6:57 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Howlers: So he is. Whew!

    Snowhook team is resting too, so I will go say hello to the man who paid for my trip. Whooohoooo! Too much excitement.

  46. Tupper and Gilly
    7:17 pm on March 9th, 2016

    we are torn between missing out on the live tracker, and being relieved that we don’t have it hypnotizing us, and keeping us glued to the computer.
    Thanks to all of you who are keeping us up to speed.

    You have probably noticed by now that this year’s prayers for AJ are in the form of songs. These type of songs are known as Honor Songs – they are usually composed and sung in recognition of something an individual has done. Everyone hearing the song is welcome to join the dance, for by dancing they are honoring the one sung about.
    We have a network of Native holy people we reach out to when it is time for prayers – we ask them to add their strength to our prayers. So, we would like you to know that in addition to the powerful Plunder Prayers, we are being joined by many others, from New York, Canada, New Mexico, Florida, Oklahoma and North Dakota to name but a few. And this year, a new voice has been added – a very respected Aboriginal elder from Australia. We love hearing about the traditions of other people – it seems that Honor Songs are a part of their culture too.
    Separated by thousands of miles, our ancestors still had the same ideas. Fascinating.

  47. Herd's Mom
    7:40 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Kim Franklin’s dogs are still with “the boys” (Beall and Daugherty) and not moving so it looks truly like the lost have been found. Thank Dog!

  48. Staff
    7:44 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Tupper and Gilly. We are honored by your songs. All of us who need occasional help and those of us who help prayers for Snowhook

    Leaving for a friends house this evening. She is vending at the Quilt show in Minot and she is my ride starting tomorrow. I will be skunk free tonight. She promised!

  49. Rose-the small and meek
    7:52 pm on March 9th, 2016

    OMD…I hope Kim’s team is found safe and sound.

    Royal Mum…Thank you for the beautiful and powerful nightly prayer songs.

    R.I.P. To the Fifth Beatle, George Martin, who passed away yesterday at age 90.

    Godspeed, Snowhook!

  50. BearSpiritDog
    8:05 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Wose: The 5th Beatle…90 Years Old…What a long life he lead!

  51. Belle Starr (aka. Here, Have Another Slim Jim)
    8:08 pm on March 9th, 2016

    I need a slurpy pug kiss or I’m going to be in a very bad mood.

  52. Rose-the small and meek
    8:30 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Belle Starr, Did I mention that you are absolutely fabulous?!

    Bear: Yes, 90 years old. I guess I am stuck in a time warp. I still imagine Sir George Martin as the young man who worked with four young men from Liverpool…

  53. Wose-the small and meek
    8:32 pm on March 9th, 2016


  54. Tupper and Gilly
    9:00 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Creator – we thank you for this day – the spring is coming to renew the earth. New things are born; all things are refreshed. It is a time for reawakening, a time to start new; blooming along with the earth. Tonight we sing of renewal, of the determination to go on. Creator, please hear our song.

    Run, rest, repeat
    For they love the job they do
    They love the dark night that envelopes them
    As they run the icy path
    Run, rest, repeat
    For they sing with the joy of running
    They sing of their loyalty to their partner
    They sing of their strength to go on
    Run, rest, repeat
    For this man is strong and determined
    He makes this journey in respect
    And honors those who ran before
    Run, rest, repeat
    The sound of many paws
    Padding through the woods
    The sounds of runners rushing through the snow
    Run, rest, repeat
    We sing to lift them up
    And protect them on their journey
    We sing to give them strength
    Run, rest, repeat
    Let our song be heard in their hearts
    That they should know we believe in them
    That we support them on their quest
    Run, rest, repeat
    Tonight they will start again
    Refreshed by healing sleep
    Renewed as is the Earth in her awakening of spring
    Run, rest, repeat

    Creator – we thank you for the spring coming to renew the earth. New things are born; the world is refreshed. It is a time for reawakening, a time to start new; blooming along with the earth. Tonight we sing of renewal, of awakening in harmony with the universe and of the determination to go on. Creator, our family lifts our voices in prayer. Please hear our song.

  55. SnowBella
    9:03 pm on March 9th, 2016


  56. Rose-the small and meek
    9:03 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Just beautiful, Royal Mum.


  57. Herd's Mom
    9:06 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Amen and amen. (It wasn’t rude but we here chuckled at “run, rest. repeat”.)

  58. Mpop and Loulou's Mom
    9:18 pm on March 9th, 2016


  59. dawson
    9:30 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Amen! Thank you for the prayer.

  60. BooBear
    9:30 pm on March 9th, 2016


    MPM, please post again what SDD you want the photos for the contest sent to. Mom just realized they are due this Friday.

  61. Mpop and Loulou's Mom
    9:40 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Good BooBear, only two have sent me photos so far. Reneauatoutlookdotcom.

  62. BearSpiritDog
    9:44 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Run, Rest, Repeat. Amen and amen.

  63. BooBear
    10:01 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Okay, MPM! Mom just sent you several. Let me know if you don’t get them.

  64. Barb, Maggie and Lucy
    10:04 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Amen, and thank you.

  65. Rio - The Evil Pug
    10:05 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Wonderful!….”Tonight we sing of renewal, of the determination to go on.”…sniff!…These words ring true to my friends heart as well as the team’s heart…wuffle!…What a prayer! Beau is taking pug-notes…heh!heh!

  66. Linda
    10:08 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Amen. Thank you. What a prayer indeed, Rio!

  67. Rio - The Evil Pug
    10:16 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Linda!….Smoooch! Slurp!….I’ve been thinking of you lately. I hope all is well with you and yours…snuffle!

  68. Wolfie
    10:26 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Amen. Sniff.

  69. Rio - The Evil Pug
    10:32 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Sleeping!…I’m sure and I really hope I’m sure that the Bellie Starr household is in a deep sleep waiting for the 24 hour lay-over to end before waking up and staying up till all hours of the night and day again…snort!….Is it just me, or does the Race seem to be going so quickly this year….gasp!…Maybe they are all so used to extreme conditions that this is a race in the park…gurgle!…Maybe my sense of time is off. I bet that is the thing…wheeze!

  70. Rio - The Evil Pug
    10:34 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Another!…Thing. Is it just me or does someone keep posting photos of Dawson with a strange look on her face on purpose or is that really the best photo that can be taken of our dear friend Dawson?…wheeze!

  71. Herd of Hounds
    11:03 pm on March 9th, 2016

    When Dawson sees the camera coming she scratches her face up. It’s hard to sneak up on that girl.

  72. Rio - The Evil Pug
    11:03 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Goodnight!…From Pug-Central. Tired out and ready for my warm soft bed early tonight…snuffle!…A 24 hour lay-over sounds good and well deserved to me…heh!heh!

  73. Herd of Hounds
    11:04 pm on March 9th, 2016

    And yes the dogs do seem to be jet propelled of this year ! We were just talking about that here.

  74. Macy the Min Pin
    11:28 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Belle Starr I hope you and Ole Doc are getting some rest. How many other dogs are in the house?

  75. c.hobbit
    11:36 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Macy: I think the indoor dog population at Snowhook is around 10. It keeps climbing upwards each year. I so enjoyed seeing them again. They are old friends.

    MPM: I will go through my photos. If so few are entering, I might have a chance to win!

    I mailed out some stuff today and then Herd’s Mom and I saw something that could have gone in with the mailings. We are trying to get something to everyone. Stay tuned.

    Oodles of noodles and nice warm beds!

  76. Belle Starr, Ole Doc & Ole Doc's Pillow
    11:38 pm on March 9th, 2016

    Report! I can report that counting me, there are 2+2+2+1 dogs in the house tonight. That Damn Pixie is in the house, too. I can also report that a certain Damn Pixie took 2+1 naps today during her mandatory 24.

    More reporting! I can also report that the good doctor, Joe met the Giant in McGrath with a Diet Pepsi in paw.

  77. Belle Starr, Ole Doc & Ole Doc's Pillow
    12:44 am on March 10th, 2016

    Report from the home front! I can report that Ole Doc discovered the bag of toys from CHobbit. One by one he picked a toy, took it back to his pillow, disemboweled the toy and then picked out another toy from the bag. The process repeated until the bag was empty and the living room was full of stuff, fluff and dead squeakies. It is a beautiful sight. This has been Belle Starr reporting from atop Ole Doc surrounded by the fruits of his labor.

  78. c.hobbit
    1:24 am on March 10th, 2016

    Heh that bag of toys didn’t last long but I think there were 1 or 2 that couldn’t be disemboweled. I am sure he enjoyed de-squeaking them. Que sera, sera.

  79. Ole Doc
    1:49 am on March 10th, 2016

    CHobbit: Several squeakies were harmed in the making of the best day ever.

  80. Howlers
    5:49 am on March 10th, 2016

    The runaway sled dog team is back with their musher!

  81. Howlers
    5:51 am on March 10th, 2016

    OOPS! Please ignore that youtube link (unless you are in the mood for the Beach Noys Good Vibrations).
    The runaway sled dog team is back with their musher!

  82. bluecat
    7:15 am on March 10th, 2016

    Good morning Everybody.

    Chills from the prayer last night and a heartfelt Amen.

    AJ’s nearly to Takotna, Amalia & Leonard’s checkpoint 🙂

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