Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Squid Acres has a new Blog and Website

Squid Acres Kennel Blog has moved. We have a new website and blog at www.squidacres.com . You can find the new blog under the "Follow Us" tab. Please join us here to learn all about our kennel and get up-to-date information. If you are a follower on this old Blog, you will no longer get current information so make sure to switch over. The newsite is all integrated into one package which will be better and easier for everyone to get up-to-date information. Thanks for following!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Copper Basin is on!

So Paige pulled the hook at 12:58 today headed for the first checkpoint 59 miles throught the Alaska Range to Paxson AK.. Due to high winds and significan snowfall recently the trail is rumored to be deep and drifty. She will likely take a little longer to get to Paxson than a normal 59 mile run. So probably be in to Paxson no earlier than 8 pm and hopefully no later than 11 pm....

I will be updating along the way, but will do Facebook updates more than blog updates. I am also posting photos and video on Facebook.. anyone can tune into our fan page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.234148386663695.56783.126734840738384&type=3#!/pages/Squid-Acres-Kennel/126734840738384

you can also get race updates at www.cb300.com and at their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.234148386663695.56783.126734840738384&type=3#!/pages/Copper-Basin-300-Sled-Dog-Race/113218608732801
stay tuned

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Solstice 100

Well we finished our first race of the season, a local 100 mile race in Two Rivers, Alaska. It was just what we needed to get the dogs out on the trail and used to the race format. We have several dogs that are new to us this season and some 2 year olds that have never raced before so this was a great race to see how the training is progressing. We had enough dogs for 2, 11 dog teams. We tried to make two even teams and then we flipped a coin to see who got which team.
For those in the know:
Codys team
Stout, Okie, Ness, TJ Maxx, Berry, Solo, Big Mike, Lupine, Ursa, one eyed Mikey and Dorado
Paiges team
Elmer, Casper, Bleeker, ET, Brutus, Goober, Frenchy, Dundee, Smoke, Mystic and Dozer

Cody said his team did great, moving along nicely. It was Solo and Big Mike's first race as 2 year olds and they both worked really hard the whole time and camped well. He dropped Stout at the checkpoint because of some slight soreness in his shoulder that has been plaguing him recently. But other than that Cody had a flawless run.

My team also did great cruising along on the way to the Angel Creek Checkpoint. Some of the trail follows the Quest trail that I did as part of the Yukon Quest 300 a couple of years ago so it was in familiar territory. I remembered on that race, I put Bleeker in lead as we were getting closer to the Angel Creek Lodge. The trial goes onto some creeks and under two bridges. There is only about 5-6 feet of clearence in between the ice and the bottom of the bridge. In 2009, Bleeker did not think that was a good idea to go under the bridge so instead did a full circle bringing the whole team around and jumped into my sled bag! What the???? so on the ice I switched him out of lead and on we went under the bridge. Well I remembered that this time and did not have him in lead on the way out there and this time there was even less room under the bridge, I had to duck. Well, we went right under them and I watched Bleeker carefully and he just charged right under them from his swing position. Once we got the checkpoint, I happily exclaimed to Cody that Bleeker was over his fear of bridges! We had a mandatory 4 hour layover at the checkpoint and the dogs rested well at first but the teams all came in so close that when the teams started to get ready to go there was no chance of any rest happening!

I made some last minute changes before I left, putting Bleeker in lead and off we went, right on time. We go flying out of there and within a mile or so, down a steep slope, onto a thin plywood bridge out onto the creek ice ready to go under the bridge. As I was looking down at something on my sled, I looked up only to see Bleeker, pulling his bone head move again, right back to the sledbag he came, with the whole team. Dang:) The thing about ice is that it is slippery and you cant set a snow hook. Well luckily everyone was well behaved and I put Brutus in lead with Casper and off we went, under the bridge with Bleeker in swing driving hard under it as if he wasnt scared at all.

It was a super fun race and now we are looking forward to the Copper Basin in January and the Yukon Quest in February! Stay tuned:)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

change of plans

Well folks, as usual, plans have changed. We had a few too many dog on the injured list lately. Nothing very serious, just wrists and shoulders that weren't very happy but enough problems that we didn't have enough dogs for 2 full teams in the Sheep Mountain 150. The Sheep Mountain 150 is a fast paced race in  very moutainous trerrain. That trail has the possiblilty of causing even more problems for our dogs so we decided we could put one team into that race or bring the whole gang out to Two Rivers for the Solstice 100 race and give them the chance to show us what they working with. We will be running two 11 dog teams instead here. The race starts later this morning and goes from the Pleasant Valley Store to the Angel Creek Lodge. Here we will have a 4 hour layover while enjoying a burger at the lodge. Then we will have a 50 mile run back to Pleasant Valley Store and should be done sometime after midnight.  You can follow along on the Two Rivers Mushers Facebook Fan Page. It is open to the public to view.We will not have anyone updating the blog from the trail on this race, but we'll tell about it afterwards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter in full swing

Well here it is, almost December. Sorry about the lull in blog entries. I guess we have been slightly busy around here since we last wrote.  Fall training has gone awesome. We started with 30 adult race dogs training and 12 yearlings that are also running in harness, but at lesser level. We ran them all together in 14 dog teams until we hit the 20 mile mark in training, sometime in October and then we decided that the young dogs would be split out since we did not plan to race them this year, but rather allow them to mature physically and mentally. Our yearlings are going to get another year to have fun before things get real serious. We'll train them up for 30 mile camping trips, so this spring they can get into a camping rhythm and then next year they'll be in the groove. They are looking good.

As for the race dogs, we are still training around 26 dogs for the upcoming races and at this point in the season they are doing runs in the range of  40 - 60 miles. We are both signed up for the Sheep Mountain 150 in December and the Copper Basin 300 in January. After these two races, we will have a good idea who is tough enough to make the cut for the Yukon Quest team. Paige will only be able to take 14 dogs on that race. So we will have to look closely at which dogs make the best fit for a long cold 1000 mile run.

The video below is from a mini hd helmet cam we are playing with, watch for more videos as the season progresses. This video is just playing with footage from a typical training run on our local trails.. pretty close to being there, except this video is a little shorter than the real runs by about 5 hours.. I did speed up the video a bit at times. we like our dogs slow.

We recently had our friend Dorothy Olmstead come by to help out for a week and see what handler life was all about. She did a great job with the dogs and got to see what running dogs and doing dog chores at -40 is all about. Hopefully we didn't scare her away. Hopefully, we can get Dorothy, who is a writer, to do a blog entry on her experience here. ;)

Cody's dad, Sterling is now here helping out in the shop and helping with some training runs. He got his reintroduction to the dogsled yesterday and did 18 miles of technical trail without spilling his sled, so I think he is ready to go camping. We plan to get out this week and do a camping trip from our place to Minto Flats. Sterling is also an auctioneer, so while he is here, he is going to be doing the Yukon Quest, Hawg and Dog benefit Auction . Yukon Quest mushers will be serving hors d'oeuvres at this event at Cold Spot Fees on December 3rd. Don't miss the chance to see Paige in a tux with tails.

So that is what is happening here, we'll try to keep this more up to date, but our FACEBOOK page is public, meaning you can look at it without being a facebook member, and usually kept up to date on a more day to day basis. During races, it will likely get more updates than this.  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Norwegian Mushing Symposium

Our side business, DogPaddle Designs, is attemtpng to expand our sled sales to Norway and Sweden. Barry Siragusa of RoppHaugen Consulting in Norway agreed to help us try to import sleds to Norway.  We decided that the Hakadal Sledhunklubb seminar would be a great place to debut our sleds. So one of the things we have been doing around here is getting sleds all ready to go to Norway. Above, are the two first sleds going to Norway. One was for Barry for all is hard work and the other was for demonstration purposes.
After the sleds were built, Cody to take them all apart and package them for riding along on the airplane. It proved to be semi difficult to get 9 feet long sleds packaged for a ride on a plane. But the sleds made it to Norway, happy and healthy. Cody stayed with Barry and Kaia at their kennel.
They are near Gausdal, Norway. The valley they live in was beautiful with watefalls and great trails just outside their door.

While here, Cody got to see how the folks are  traininng dogs.. pretty much the same as a Alaskans... go figure. they even use harnesses and ganglines. ;)
Most mushers, however don't have the big gas guzzler dog trucks that most of us Alaskan mushers have. Most mushers seem to have vans or SUVs with trailers.

When it comes to dryland training, four wheelers aren't normally allowed here to go whereever you want like in Alaska, combine that with the fact that quads are about

               124, 900 Norwegian kroner = 22, 132.77 U.S. dollars, and dang..

So most mushers either use Non-motorized carts or their vehicles. In Barry and Kaia's case, they use their SUV. I got the chance to tag along on a few runs and see how some of the Norwegian genetic lines look. Looking good!.
Barry, Per Vinding and I spent a couple leirurely days assembling the sleds for Hakadal and then spent the weekend at the symposium. The Hakadka Sledhundklubb puts on a great symposium, very similar in size to our own held in Fairbanks. They had many great vendors there. It was great to see some of the different brands of gear that are used here, some with very different solutions to the same old gear. It was a great chance to network and get to know more about how races and mushing is done. There are probably more mushers Norway then Alaska, but I guarantee there are more sled dogs in Alaska.  

The symposium and trip were a success! Thanks to all of the hospitality while in Norway. We lookf forward to coming back more in the future. Hopefully with dogs one of these winters to try out the Femundlopet and Finnmarkslopet races. Thanks to Troll Hundefor for providing us with a good deal on a norwegian square dog cooker for this year's race season. Can't wait to get to melting snow!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It is finally fall!

It's official, it is fall in the northlands again. The leaves turned yellow and a couple days later they are already stacking up on the ground. There is nothing like cruising through the birch forest while on a puppy walk or with the team and quad... The trail coated in leaves like a yellow brick road.

So Paige brought the dogs back from the glacier last week and introduced them to their new dogyard and the new pups and dogs that appeared here this summer. This week has been exciting running teams mixed with all our old and new favorites. They all look so good that it is hard not to contemplate 2 full Yukon Quest teams, but as the season progresses we will likely have only enough SOLID dogs for one good quest team. However we should have two really nice teams for all the mid-distance races this year and Cody may run the Quest 300 while Paige is running the full Quest. The dogs are strong, but here in the hills with our thicker coated dogs that have been running on ice all summer, it is still to dang warm to go more than 2-3 miles without them getting to hot., especially when doing some hill climbs. Colder temps, please come!

The pups are all doing great. Smoke's pups (grisman songs) have taken to the excercise wheel and love it. Lucy's pups are getting more active and are showing lots of personality these days. We are going to take Laurie's suggestiong and name them after lyrics from the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".

Besides the running of the dogs and puppy walks, we have been having a multitude of friends helping us out with projects that must be finished before it snow and we forget about everything except running dogs. Cody will be taking some sleds to the Hakadal sleddog symposium in Norway on Tuesday and then the Willow symposium the week after, so he has been in the shop up to his elbows building dogsleds... with lots of help from Thomas, Tom and Paige of course. We also have been working on new 4 wheeler training trails and have a great new out trail, thanks to Jessie's help. The last big project is getting a roof on our rental/handler cabin. Megan and Thomas, who worked with our dogs on the glacier all summer will be staying there this winter. However there still is no roof, but the rafters are up and we are confident that they will have a warm home soon! Thanks for all the help! One more month of working hard and then we can just train hard! can't wait.