I haven’t been around much lately. Too much going on with the virus and stuff like that. I guess we all are learning new things now that the world has changed so much. Some things don’t change and that is the dogs. They remain faithful and true to what they are. I find strength in that. I find comfort in knowing that this too shall pass. I hope things are well with you. And if not take a lesson from the Huskies. The end of the trail will come if you just keep going. Keep the faith, and drive on down the road of life.
I’ve managed to paint a couple of more dogs during this mess.
Just a few photos of the actual start in Willow AK. It was snowing hard but I had a great spot on the starting line with a poor camera.
Now that I’m back from Alaska and the great race I want to post some things about this experience. I’m not going to cross every “T” and dot every “I.” Just some uncut thoughts for you to ponder.
So, after a grueling trip from the East coast to Anchorage we arrived to temperatures of an average of “0” Fahrenheit. That’s a far cry from 65F short sleeve weather. Along the way was delays due to storms, lost luggage, and missed connections. It didn’t matter because the goal had been set. We would do whatever to make it to this event.
The four hour time change was the first challenge I faced. It may not seem that big of a deal but I was always thinking about my huskies I left behind. They are my children and of course I worried about them. I wished they could have come with me to the lands that bred them. One of these days I’ll take them home to a place they have never been before. The place of their birth for thousands of years. The lands that made them what they are.
The first night was a private dinner with 4 time Iditarod champ Lance Mackey. $120 dollars a plate dinner and it was worth every penny! I met a legend of a man who beat 4th stage throat cancer and came back to win 4 Iditarods in a row. That is something that has never been done before and may not ever again. His kennel name is, “The Comeback Kennel.” Well played Lance!
He is an animated man. Full of fun and living wild and free. He is a survivor of many things. I suggest you check out his movie, “The Great Alone.” It’s a great movie about his life challenges and how he was saved by the dogs.
I had a surprise for him. I did a painting of his famous lead dog named “Larry.” Larry was his lead dog who finished 8 Iditarods, and two Yukon Quest. He won two Iditarods and two Yukon Quest back to back.
I presented Lance with the painting I did of Larry. He was blown away and said I almost made him cry. That is the best compliment I could have hoped for! I told him to take the painting on his race this year packed in his sled bag for good luck. He told me that wasn’t a bad idea. I’m not sure if he did it or not but he’s currently running in the top 10. Maybe my painting of Larry is on the Iditarod trail? I guess I’ll know in a few more days.
The intimate dinner at Club Paris had great food, and Lance spent time with everyone signing autographs and just being him. It was grand for a dog freak like me. I was in the presence of mushing royalty and I loved it. The people I met in Alaska all share one trait, and that is they are real. They don’t hide anything. They love you or hate you and you always know where you stand. An honesty that I can live with from a people who know about hard work, surviving, and rolling with the punches life gives you.
So, in this first part I’ll show you some photos of my first encounter with Lance Mackey.
Lot’s more to tell, but this was the first day.
March 3rd, I’m traveling to Anchorage for my first trip to Alaska, and the Irod. My press pass is in work, and whether it happens or not is really not why I’m going. I’m going to see some of the greatest dogs/mushers and witness the super bowl for the dogs of winter.
I’ll be attending a private dinner with Lance Mackey. Also the Mushers Meet & Greet and the bib draw. I could use your help if you are willing. What questions would you ask these mushers? Who and what musher would you ask?
I really want to ask Lance what color of socks he prefers. But seriously, if you have a favorite musher and one question for him/her let me know. I’ll ask them.I’ll be posting the spectacle from my perspective, a lover of the sled dogs/mushers and what they do.
57 Teams will hit the trails on March 7th. Check out the bio links and see who is who.
I’ve had partnerships with a few folks to repopulate the breed. First was Poland Springs in Maine. They are now running a half dozen true Seppalas. My newest partner is also in Maine. We co-own 3 pure Sepps and are working on making more.
If you have FB you can find the kennel here: https://www.facebook.com/northlanesiberians
Hopefully we will produce two more litters this spring if the dogs cooperate. Also many behind the scenes things to come if it all works out.
The serum run in 1925 audio book style podcast. Great stuff. All 12 seasons.
There is big difference between a pet and a Siberian Husky. I know people love their pet dogs, cats, etc. but when it comes to the dogs of winter you go to another level.
Working sled dogs no matter what the breed, are not pets. They are partners who share their lives with us. Much like the difference between a girlfriend/boyfriend Vs. being married.
We are not always on the same page as these dogs, but they hold no grudges. They teach us, dumb humans, many things. If we don’t listen to these old souls, they will make us pay by destroying our homes with fang and claw, or any number of other things they can do.
My journey began with this guy, who taught me what being a Siberian Husky is all about. He taught me many more things…like forgiveness, love, adventure, and how to appreciate the life we have been given no matter how hard it might be. I am forever in debt to him. He changed my life for the better.
He made me a better human being, by making me understand his kind. I learned how to appreciate just exactly what he is, and how his ancestry made him what he is today.
Is he a pet? No, he is part of my family. Never perfect, sometimes loud, sometimes destructive, but always full of love for us. He is one of the dogs of winter, and we love him for what he is. And he accepts us for what we are no matter what our faults are. So we accept him as he accepts us.
That is love.
I’m headed to the 2020 Iditarod. I’ve never been to Alaska or the race before. You can expect to see some post starting about March 5th on this new adventure of mine.
I have lots of things planned for this trip. Private fund raising dinner with Lance Mackey limited to 60 people. Helicopter flight to a dog sled tour. Musher’s banquet with all the big names (another fundraiser.)
I’m really looking forward to this adventure and I will post how it turns out. I plan on presenting 4 times Iditarod winner Lance Mackey with this painting I did of his famous dog, Larry. I hope he likes it or at least recognizes him.
Larry was a bombproof canine, Larry helped Lance Mackey win a third straight Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. It will go down as the last race of Larry’s career. Larry has finished eight Iditarods — seven with Mackey and one with former Mackey neighbor Paul Gebhardt from Kasilof — and four Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Races, not to mention dozens of middle-distance sled dog races.
His record as a leader is remarkable. Larry has led teams in 10 races of 1,000 miles, and he has won seven of them. Along the Iditarod Trail, he has become almost as famous as Mackey. Larry made a big name for himself in 2007 by becoming the dog to win the golden harness in both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod. His master made history that year, too, winning sled-dog racing’s first Iditarod-Quest double.
Now his painting is on my wall of fame, but he won’t be here for much longer. I plan to give this painting to Lance on March 4th in Anchorage, AK.
I may have played a part in this one (Feature Story.)
The Seddogger Magazine, Winter Issue, free to read at your leisure.