Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Winter sets in up north!

It has been snowing at least some around Fairbanks and you can see snow on the mountains near Anchorage, I am told. That is good news for the mushers and I am praying for lots and lots of snow this winter. El Nino years are often wet in the southwest and drier up north but maybe this will be an exception.

The "Coffee Litter" at SPK is weaned now and a senior dog, Tig, a black beauty is acting as a foster mother for them so that Olivia can get back to her training. They have posted a few adorable videos of the six pups, growing fast and already very active, curious and even romping in the snow which will be thier favorite environment from now on.

Meanwhile Quito's seven pups, termed the "Golden Harness" litter, are doing well but not yet ready to leave mama. The Golden Harness is a special award originally created by the late Lolly Medley, the second woman to complete the Iditarod, doing so a few minutes behind Mary Shields back in 1974. It is given to the canine MVP each year. Although it often goes to the winner's lead dog, sometimes another dog will be voted to receive it.

Quito has done so although she has never crossed under the Burled Arch first--at least yet. She has won in the Yukon Quest though with Allen's Black Team, I believe. Whether or not she will have that chance since she is now nine and may not be fit to race this year, she's got the award and absolutely earned it. She is a very special, almost once in a lifetime dog and beloved by Aliy and Allen. I know they will not run her unless they are completely sure she is up to it and will not be unduly taxed to race so we will have to wait and see. ANyway she has produced seven more puppies with a chance to do her and SPK proud in the coming years and I am eager to learn their names and see more of them.

Meanwhile the Surfivers are running and learning and some will very likely be appearing in Aliy's team for the YQ 300, other mid-range races and in Allen's 'training' team in the Iditarod in 2016.

There are now over seventy mushers signed up for the 2016 Iditarod per the official site today. I see several key names I will be following closely--and I still have hopes I can do so at a much closer range than from New Mexico!! Go Aliy, Jessie and Deedee for sure!! We need a female winner this year so we can bring back those t-shirts. (Alaska: where men are men and women win the Iditarod!) I want one!! Maybe even several... By the way, Aliy and Jessie, seen below finished 5th and 4th in the 2015 race. That was Jessie's best ever and I wish her a great race in 2016. She's a tough girl and an outdoor/horsewoman/hunter after my own heart.
Aliy (l) and Jessie (r) at an inland checkpoint
heading for the coast in 2015 Iditarod