Posts Tagged ‘ML’

On the Iditarod Trail (More)


March 8th, 2014 Posted 8:50 am

Why are we so enthusiastic about Snowhook, our team in the Iditarod? Just read Rebecca’s overnight race report and you’ll know.

The team has arrived safely in Ruby, the first checkpoint on the mighty Yukon, and the second of our dropped dogs are now home. I picked up Natty, a lead dog today. She is currently on the loveseat and snoring.

The team made quick work of the run from Cripple to Ruby which is no surprise on the hard and fast trail. I expect him to rest the team for several hours before continuing down the Yukon River onto Galena. Pacing the team does not merely mean riding the brake to keep the team at a steady gait rather than running too fast. Pacing is also about what AJ does when he’s off the trail.

Whether he’s camping on the trail or resting the team at a checkpoint, AJ will tend to the dogs quickly so the dogs can get as much rest as possible. He will give each dog straw to communicate to the dogs that resting is the name of the game. While snow melts in his cooker and he prepares a meal of kibble and meat, AJ will remove booties from the dogs’ feet and examine each member of the team. He will rub their muscles and paws with ointments, and cover them with dog jackets and blankets. This routine is all about efficiency. The quicker he tends to the dogs, the more they are able to rest. When his chores are complete, he will tend to his own stomach, any equipment repairs, and eventually, his own heavy eyelids. Depending on how long he intends to rest the team, AJ’s work will begin again in a few short hours as he prepares another meal for the dogs, re-examines each dog, and puts booties on 64 paws.


Melanie remains in our hearts.

And, thanks to ML, more of what it looks like up there:



On the Iditarod Trail (More)


March 7th, 2014 Posted 7:36 am

Here, from Rebecca (CEO of Snowhook, our team in the race), is her brave overnight report, for which we’re very grateful:

The team is currently on the trail to Cripple, yet will likely have arrived by the time many of the Plunderers read this post. It is a long haul.

Because of my recent health concerns, AJ received permission from the race marshal for me to send updates about my health status to AJ during the race. AJ insisted these updates occur at each and every checkpoint along the trail. Is AJ overprotective?—-Yep.

Doing as I was instructed, I provided my standard issue ‘I’m fine,’ and ‘all is well,’’ email when the team reached Ophir. Shortly after, I received an email from a volunteer at the checkpoint. The short, clipped sentences informed me that AJ’s ribs are hurting and that he loves me. That’s it. Nothing more. It is likely his body was more than jostled as he hit and hammered the trees along the trail from the Steps, through the Gorge and onto the Burn. However, the trail reports for the interior of the race are that it is hard and fast. Despite the much improved trail conditions, AJ plans to pace the team. It won’t be too long before the team drops onto the mighty Yukon.

AJ dropped Natty, a dependable lead dog before the trek to Ophir. She will be welcomed home in the near future as Orion was on Thursday night. At this point of the race, when dogs are dropped for injury or illness, they are shipped to Anchorage. From there they will be sent to the women’s correctional facility where they will receive great care before they can be picked up and brought home. The dogs are treated like celebrities. It is a wonderful program for women who may have been estranged from family and friends to care for members of the nation within the nation. Dogs—they offer support without judgment.

While my mind may be on the trail and the race, my heart is with Melanie. We are honored to consider her a friend of Snowhook Kennel.

And, to set the scene, this photo courtesy of ML:



On the Iditarod Trail (More)


March 5th, 2014 Posted 8:29 am

Here’s Rebecca’s (CEO of Snowhook, our team in what has started as a very tough Iditarod race) report. (The broken bones she refers to seem to be all human – see link below, in which Justin Savidis, our AJ, is quoted. Thanks to C.Hobbit for the link.)

Little to no snow, stumps, rocks, and ice add up to one thing—one hell of a ride. Beaten and battered mushers arriving in Nikolai have shared the horrors of the trail between Rohn and Nikolai, a section of trail that is now littered with sled parts and equipment. The canine athletes fared much better than their human partners. In the past 24 hours, the race has ended for 11 teams because of broken bones and other injuries and sleds that are damaged beyond repair. It is likely this section of trail will claim more victims in the hours to come.

My heart took up residence in my throat as I waited for word that the team reached Nikolai. After resting the team for several hours, they are back on the trail and headed for McGrath where AJ intends to take his 24. Teams are required to take one 24 hour break at any point during the race, another 8 hour rest on the Yukon River, and final 8 hour layover in White Mountain. When he reaches McGrath, AJ will transfer his sled bag from the sled he drove during the first third of the race to a lighter weight finishing sled. We have not had the luxury of sending out a second sled in past years leaving AJ to make due with repairs he made on the trail for the duration of the race. This year, a second sled is less a luxury and more of a necessity given the trail conditions. I hope Rose and Grizz understand how much we appreciate their sponsorship of AJ’s finishing sled. Knowing that AJ has the second sled waiting for him in McGrath eases my worried mind.

As I think about the trail the team has traveled, I recall a conversation AJ and I had about the rumors of treacherous terrain in the days leading up to the starting line. I said he would have to be pretty tough to handle the trail. He agreed and then remarked that Melanie is tougher than he is. Melanie is in our hearts.

And thanks to ML for this Alaskan memento:




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