The Nenana Tripod is Interior Alaska's sign that "break up" is official. "Break up", of course, means that the ice has broken up in the river and water and is now flowing down stream. This is actually a hugely emotional time in Alaska because it signifies so much more than that.
(left to right: the Tripod is there, the Tripod is gone)
It was not too long ago that we were traveling on these frozen rivers - using them as many Alaskans do: Freeways of the North. The river system in Alaska is somewhat like the interstate highway system in the Lower 48. I asked one man this Spring "How did you travel to get here?" He said "I took the Yukon to the cut off, went by the halfway cabin, and then got on the Koyukuk." That sounds a lot like driving a car to the grocery store in Houston (okay.. maybe change the Indian names to something more Hispanic.)
(The Red Team sleeping in the middle of the Yukon River - March 2013)
"Break up" is also emotional because it means the end of the mushing season in earnest. The snow is gone, the harnesses are hung up and the dogs are basking in the sunshine. The pace slows somewhat at SP Kennel. We are no longer mushing all day, readying for races, mending gear, fixing sleds, cooking fish, sorting booties, strawing dogs - all of this in a hurry to try and get to the next item and check it off a never ending "to do" list. Inevitably, this means that the 2012 - 2013 SP Kennel Crew is breaking up as well!
(The SP Kennel Team: Meghan, Aliy, Allen, Moira)
Moira has left the continent and is back down under in her home of New Zealand. She has left winter - flown a great distance - and stepped right back into winter. Her passion this season brought SP Kennel's communication with "Join the Team" members and SP Dog Sponsors to a new level. Moira fit right in to our happy, yet professional, Alaska dog musher lifestyle. Lucky for us, the internet is a global tool and she has agreed to continue to be a distant, yet integral part of the SP Kennel Team. We have not seen the last of Moira because she left part of her heart at the kennel with Rose, Spicy, Nacho, Willie, Chica, Scruggs ...
Meghan took a well deserved post season vacation. But, she has Alaska in her blood at this point and plans to stay in the land of the Midnight Sun for the summer. She brought her true love for dogs to SP Kennel this season. No matter what happened during the past six months, you always knew that Meghan put the needs of the dogs before anyone or anything. You can bet that we'll see Meghan, along with Charlet and Tina Turner, through out the summer months.