Since then we have had at least another 4 inches of snow. Jenny M. Creek, adjacent to Chena Hot Springs Road, and our Moose Slough, beside our outbound training trail, are both frozen enough for small animals to use as an ice bridge. Is winter here to stay?
The forecast for this weekend is mid 40’s during the day and low 20’s at night. Remember that we have only 9 hours of daylight now with the sun hanging low in the southern sky. Not conducive to melting snow. Next week we will see temps between 12 and 36 degrees F with frequent snow showers. We predict that the snow and ice is here to stay until Spring 2009. Yippee!
Despite the snow, we are still hooking our teams to 4 wheel ATV’s for training runs. We need at least 12 inches of snow for the brakes and snow hooks to grab before we can switch to sleds. Our ATV’s have made the change to winter equipment. We now must train with chains on the ATV tires in order to maintain full control on icy and snow laden trails.
Our yearlings (9 Oddball/Chacha pups) are proving to be very talented. They knew exactly what to do when they were hooked to a gang line for the first time. Each yearling is developing his/her own talents. One blossoming leader, Malibu, is assertive, mouthy and one of Allen’s favorites. She is a tiny little dog, but her enthusiasm and smarts put her at the head of her class.
This week’s training runs are about 1 ½ hours in duration. We began to incorporate long gradual hills and some shorter steep climbs. Our training regime is on target for a first race in mid December.
Aliy and Allen are seriously into their own personal training. The SP Kennel ‘training cabin’ houses a treadmill, a Bowflex, sit-up board, TV with workout CD’s, etc. The better shape the mushers are in, the more assistance they can be to the dogs. The motto is: TEAM WORK.
The hot tub is up and running. As the training runs get longer and colder, the hot tub becomes a more important part of the training protocol for the mushers. There’s nothing better than a late night soak to warm the bones and watch the Northern Lights while the dogs howl with contentment.