Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Officially The "Off-Season"!

The days have gotten longer and warmer. The snow is almost gone. The dogs are sleeping on top of their dog houses and shedding like crazy. Aliy and Allen have headed south for their vacation.

That all adds up to one thing: It's officially the "off-season"!

It's been a fantastic season of sled dog racing here at SP Kennel, and we hope you have enjoyed following along every step of the way. We expect to post off-season updates here on the Dog Log from time to time, so check back whenever we come to mind. We will also be sending out some stuff via email, so be sure to join our email list if you haven't done so already.

Thanks for being part of a great season!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Video Viewing Options

We hope you have enjoyed the ANWR 2009 videos!

In addition to the 5-part series that we have posted below using YouTube, we have assembled a single, full length version that is both easier to watch and in higher quality video. If you enjoyed the segments, we think you'll really enjoy this uninterrupted 18-minute version!

There are several viewing options to choose from, depending on what kind of internet connection you have:

Standard: If you've got pretty much any broadband connection, you can probably get the standard version to work pretty well. You may have to wait a few seconds for it to buffer and start playing, but it ought to work fine after that.

Hi-Quality: If you've got a truly hi-speed connection, we suggest you give the hi-quality version a try. At 640x480 -- with a very high bitrate -- this file weighs in at a whopping 200MB, but it's really worth it... Even if you have to wait a while!

Small: Alas, if you haven't got any kind of hi-speed, there's a small version that is optimized for streaming. The quality isn't that much better than YouTube, but at least it's all in one piece!

Please note that you will need a relatively recent version of QuickTime for whichever option you choose. If you don't already have QuickTime on your computer -- or need a newer version -- you can download it here.

We hope you enjoy these enhanced viewing options!

Friday, April 24, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Part 5: On The Run

Here is last part of the video series on our recent Natural Extremes mushing adventures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Part 4: Life With Dogs

Here is Part 4 of the video series on our recent Natural Extremes mushing adventures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Part 3: Panorama

Here is Part 3 of the video series on our recent Natural Extremes mushing adventures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Part 2: Mushing

Here is Part 2 of the video series on our recent Natural Extremes mushing adventures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR):

Monday, April 20, 2009

ANWR 2009 -- Part 1: Base Camp

Everyone -- human and canine -- is back at the Kennel after some spectacular Natural Extremes mushing adventures in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Here is the first in a 5-part series of videos:

Monday, April 6, 2009

SP Kennel Teams Well Represented!

A few of you have sent emails or written comments inquiring if that's Allen in the current video on the front page of the Iditarod website. So, I took a look at it.

Yes, that is definitely Allen!

Looking at the rest of the video, I also caught Allen's B-Team in action. It's a quick clip, but Dingle's bright green "Elton John" jacket and the Horizion Lines wind breakers are pretty obvious.

Finally, I'm not absolutely sure, but I'd bet this is Aliy. If not, it's her twin!

So, the SP Kennel Teams are pretty well represented in the video! Thanks for the heads up!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy's New Neckwear

Hi, I'm Happy! I'm always Happy... That's why they call me Happy!

As you can see in the photo below, I've got some new neckwear! It's not fancy or anything, but there's a pretty good story that goes with it:

It seems like no sooner did we get back to SP Kennel after the Iditarod than we were getting back into the truck and heading up to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on the famous North Slope of the Brooks Range. It was a long drive, but totally worth it because it is so beautiful up there! My pack mates and I spent a couple of days putting in trails, which means we mushed through deep, new snow to create trails for Aliy and Allen to use when their guests arrive. It was hard work, but I really liked it because it's so out there in the wilderness where dogs like me belong! Well, the next thing I know, all the humans are looking at my neck and making a big fuss. It turns out that I have a little booboo on my neck where some of my fur is worn off and my skin is exposed and raw. The humans think it's because I pulled so hard while I ran the Iditarod and put in the trails-- which I did! -- that my harness chafed me. I think it's because I've been doing so many Happy Dances!

Anyway, I didn't even notice it because -- well, you know -- I don't really feel things like that. But, because I'm now such a great sled dog the humans didn't want to take any chances of me getting hurt. So, the boss -- that's what we call Aliy -- gave me the neckwear right off her neck and put it under my collar to protect my booboo. The boss is always nice, you know, but she's really nice to me now that I'm an Iditarod dog!

The bummer is that they sent me home! So, now I'm back at the Kennel with the other dogs who didn't go to the North Slope. They've been asking me all about what it was like, and about the Iditarod too! The weather is getting sunny and warm, so I'm spending my idle time hanging out on my dog house. Hopefully I'll have some time to work on my website store, so I can make some money and buy myself some really fancy neckwear!

Please don't worry about me. My booboo is really nothing and I'm totally fine!

Love, Happy

Friday, April 3, 2009

"Official" 2008-2009 Season Wrap-Up

To "officially" wrap-up the 2008-2009 season, here is a nice photo from Nome of Aliy, Allen and Bridgett with the main Iditarod Lead dogs: Bullet (hiding as always on the far left), Dingle, ChaCha and Hoss.

I think you will agree it has been an amazing season, and congratulations to everyone -- including you! -- for making it through!

Aliy, Allen and most of the dogs are now in the ANWR, enjoying their post-season mushing adventures. I will be joining them next week, and intend to shoot a ton of footage. I imagine it will make for some great videos, and you can look forward to seeing them later in the month.

So, as we always say, stay tuned!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Iditarod 2009: Eagle Island Finale

While sorting through the last of our 2009 Iditarod media, I came across this footage that Aliy's dad shot during his time as a volunteer at the Eagle Island checkpoint. I think it is an excellent finale to our Iditarod coverage, because it provides an extraordinary -- even unique -- perspective on what an immense undertaking the Iditarod is and what it's all about.

Eagle Island is an unusual checkpoint on the trail because it is in a location where there are no permanent buildings. In fact, it is nothing but a vacant, wide open place on the Yukon River. In this video, you will fly in with Aliy's dad on the very first plane to land on the frozen river, then watch as the checkpoint takes shape. From clearing a runway and erecting tents to hauling in supplies and even building a kitchen, you will see the process of creating a "full service" checkpoint where nothing existed only a few hours earlier.

Finally, you will see Aliy arrive at Eagle Island where the veterinarians check her dogs and she settles them in for a well deserved rest. I think you will be amazed -- even astonished -- by all that you see in this video documentary. Thanks, Doug!