Week 14: Last Howler
They are about as noisy as birds and almost as big - have wings too, but I can’t smell them the same way. There is about 16 of them sitting on my nose right now, but I need to get this out to you so I am them best I can. Its also really hot. I mean sweltering coat-shedding-hot. I wish I could do like the guys - shed some layers about right now. They are complaining too though. Joar keeps saying we ran out of summer. I think its more like summer ran up on us! When we came to the town we figured that was the end of the trail because everyone was hugging and smiling the way they do when we have made it somewhere we are suppose too. We were bumming a bit cause where we staked out in front of the house with the very nice people, there was still snow and ice everywhere. It was only a matter of a day or maybe two though. Then we were laying on long grass instead of snow! Really! Pingo and I had so much fun rolling and rolling, sticking our noses into it as deep as possible, all the way to the dirt. Such nice smells. Jupiter had to dig a lot of dirt of course. He is like that. I like him a lot. And we made that dirt fly as we took the 4-wheeler to the airport too! Sunny really does not like it, but I actually like the smell of the 4-wheeler. Not all crazy about the smell of plane though. But it was a fun plane. There was cameras filming us everywhere, and we sat on top of the sleds and the guys were right there with us, all of us looking out the windows. I thought the cameras were for discovering stuff, but Nazca just gave me one of those looks. She says it was for Discovery Channel TV. Whatever that meant. The guys were pointing out those windows a lot, and Lightning says we could see the where we had just been running. Kind of at least. I sat by the door, not by a window, but Disko was and he says there was lots of water everywhere. That is why the doors on the dog truck are my favorite doors. You can look out them like windows when we are driving--and smell everything too. Lots of smells filling up my box on this drive today! Bears, foxes, porcupine, birds, green trees, grass. Laying under a big green tree right now. it’s the end of winter for sure. We are on our way home and I guess this is my last update till next time. I was a little nervous about having this log and all, but its been so much fun. Hope you liked it. And come back next year J Lightning says she heard we are coming back to Beringia. Such great snow here.. I will be thinking snow all summer--hope you do too! Time for a last howler, for now!
Week 13: Loud!
It’s almost like they are in your ear, I mean inside of your ears—and it does no good to shake my head… They will still be there, cause really they are e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e: on the tundra, in the air, in front of the sled on top of the snow, even cross my paws I saw on coming out from under the snow! Joar gets so excited, I think its pretty cute—maybe even more excited than me. I think I even heard him try to talk to some of them today !? The guys were sitting by the sled eating. They do that every day. Some of my favorite time cause we get to just lay, take a nap and relax. A few moons ago it was really windy and snowy and I was all warm and covered by it. I couldn’t see anything but then I heard Mille's voice and it was time to get excited, have a howler and get pulling again! It is just been so great to be back in front of the sled. And pretty too. That’s the thing, just like we come from afar to go running here, I totally get why the birds come from all over the world to visit here too! Disko told me the candy-makers-birds live here all year though. That’s what we call them… They leave the greatest little pieces of candy behind all the time. Almost as good as caribou candy. Met one of those guys too! He was pretty busy getting away from us though. But the polar fox was not!!! Nazca told me that is what they are called. We have met several of them; not just run in their tiny foot prints (even compared to mine!) – one actually came to visit during lunch. Well, sort of. We were sitting in a cool place with lots of huge chunks of ice, easily as big as one or maybe even two of the sleds. The guys were sitting eating. I had my head on top of Baffins’ when all of a sudden his ears went straight up: a little white ball was just flying at us—it was the polar fox! Running full speed like a white ball thrown between us two teams and sleds. I was sort of stunned, then I heard Mille jump in the air with a yell. I figured she yelled because she spilled her soup, but Kodiak says he heard them talk about ‘the bear’ afterwards. Guess they thought it was a polar bear! Then it was a lot more peaceful with the candy-makers-birds today—they were just sort of all dancing around and the guys laughed a lot. I have to agree with them—Its hard not to wag your tail out here! Time for a howler!
Week 12: Smelly!
I have never ever smelled anything like it!!!!! This really heavy smell, almost like old socks… I know that smell from sometime if the guys come running out of the tent with no mukluks on for some reason. Not a good one! This though was a pretty good smell. Just very different. But then, different is good! Sure seeing lots of different places, and lands, and animals on this trip! These animals were pretty far away, but still looked big from the view of my box. May be that it is a bit like Chukchi—He is all hair, but not really that big underneath it. Actually, if Chukchi did not smell so much like a Polar Husky and was not my brother of course, I might question if he somehow was related to these guys!?! It must be so hot to be him, I mean, them in the Summer-time. Wonder if they would go swimming if they made their way to the ocean… would take care of that smell too! We are by the ocean now—and its winter again. Snow everywhere. I heard Mille say that she is excited about that not just because we can go sledding again, but because maybe it can get rid of our walrus smell… !?!?! I can not for my kibbles figure out why in the world of snow we would want to get rid of that smell!?!? Kodiak says it might have to do with his ‘brothers’ that hang out around here. First that really confused me: if he has brothers here in the Dead Horse!? But then Kinu explained he is referring to his name brothers: the Grizzly bears! I guess there are Grizzly bears in southern Alaska, on Kodiak Island, who are called Kodiak bears. That’s apparently more where those kinds of bears belong. In the south that is. They do not really belong here, like in that they did not use to live here at least in the last long long while—but now they are here, looking through the dumpsters and such. A guy stopped by to talk with Joar right after he fed us, and I heard him say that there was a Grizzly bear right down the street from here just two months ago. Actually, it is really hard to see the moon here, cause it never gets dark! The sun does set, for about 5400 tail wags – if one was up for wagging ones tail that many times… I tried but I admit it, I fell asleep somewhere around 799 wags into it. Jupiter knows a lot about planets and he tried to explain to me how it has to with planet earths’ rotation around the sun; like that they sun never gets turned away from the sun up here this time a year! Well, actually I better get sleeping. Disko looked at the map with Mille. We are about to take off, but we are leaving in the light of night… Not that everyone would not be able to find us anytime—they just have to follow the wonderful smell of walrus!
Week 11: Wet Wood, Frozen Tundra
There are dogs everywhere. I mean, of course there is! What I mean is, everywhere we go this year: lots of tails to greet, so many new barks, so much howling! Howling sounds really different in the trees. You should try it! Maybe you are not in a place where there are no trees at all (like in Chukotka and Nome where we just came from where as Kodiak puts it there is “not a tree to mark on”… truth be told, he is in no need of trees to find places to mark that we have all been there). But, even then, can you find a place like a big field!? All you do is to suck lots of air into your stomach, tilt your head all the way back, and let it out! Next, go to the forest, backyard…anywhere with lots of trees and do the same – I will give you my favorite piece of salmon meat that you will hear a big difference. I wonder if it sounds even different if you are in a place with lots of buildings? Or, maybe that is the same as being in the trees!? Only one way to figure out… Experiment! I love that word: E-X-P-E-R-I-M-E-N-T. Sunrise shared that incredible word with me after Tucker had explained it to her. He is the kind of guy who is always on the hunt for new exciting findings! Barking up the right tree since experiments is an important reason we are out there running our paw prints everywhere, racking up the miles. Oh, have you taken our challenge? Did you run as far as us yet? I guess you would not actually have to run says Yoik… He likes swimming. I heard you can skip, bike, walk, run… swimming most be ok too. That’s a lot of swimming though. This week has been wet indeed. We flew back into the trees—still in Alaska, but no snow around here, and it was not long after we arrived before it rained. Weather is funny like that—it changes fast. Climate doesn’t I guess. Ok, I really did not know that there was much of a difference between weather and climate, but lately Nazca has been talking about how it was colder when she was a puppy and how she always had to walk against the wind back then, and it never rained on the expeditions. Trigger told me it’s the changing climate that’s she is talking about – he should know a bit about it, he even has a blog with tricks for how to make a difference for our climate I guess!? I think this is all about weather, but we had actually had a bit of rumbling thunder since I wrote last. Good Thunder needs to understand it’s not all that funny when he tries to sound like that too. Luckily no lightning though. I don’t like lightning. Oh, that sounds all wrong, of course I like our Lightning. She is amazing in taking us places. From what Lightning says, we are heading back to where there are no trees--to the frozen tundra--real soon, and it sounds like we will be doing some experiment too!!!
Week 10: Flying
I have never tried anything like it. Ok, that is maybe not so surprising, there are many things I have yet to try, but even Nazca says this was all new to her—and I would have sworn she had seen and tried it all! Disko is pretty relaxed as always, but he told me that this huge arch of rubber, moving in the wind, that we had to run through was because we just finished the Hope Race!?! I think that is a really big deal. We got lots of hugs and kisses from both Mille and Joar anyway, and there were people and cameras and music and dancing and amazing smells of food everywhere. It was a long way to get there alright – we have crossed over mountains, and sea ice, and rivers, open water, broken ice, long stretches of bare rocks, and smelly tundra all knotted in balls… that was difficult… I ran next to Domino that day – he called it hummucks. Really, I have so many barks and howls going on inside my head right now that I can barely get it all in my paws to explain it all. But it is so long since I was able to let you know what has been all happening that I at least want to let you all know that yesterday we went flying (again!) and we are now back in the community-dog-yard in Nome, in Alaska! Really, every day since I last wrote you we have been ‘flying’ … across the land and sea ice, running and running, sometimes all day and through the night into the next morning before we would stop to take the harnesses off, or on top of these big machines crawling across the land like a caterpillar at home in the dog yard… I did not actually think of that – it was Kodiak who came up with that way to explain it. Figures, he loves to hang out laying on his side looking up into the trees there back home. No trees in Chukotka and no laying around the last many days, I tell you! If it was not for all the wonderful walrus grease that covers all our coats keeping us looking spiffy.. well, according to Jjoar its real messy!) I think our coast may all be laying flat in the same direction of our ears against the head… Regardless, we smell really good too! And now I just heard that we are about to fly again real soon! Hopefully we are going on to somewhere nice and cool for some more running!
Week 06: Running, Running, Running
I met my Russian cousin!! For real! Ok, I can't really figure out how this all works, but it's Disko's son, and Disko's mom, Nazca, is also the mother of my Mom. He looks very handsome: all white, with some white spots and then Disko's face...and he is soooo fast! He is on the team that came across the ice to Provideniya first. The "leading team" says Lightning. I don't think she speaks Russian... all these new dogs that arrived last night are Russians. The first Russian we met, was the nice lady looking at each one of us right as we landed after another fabulous flight. This time we were all in boxes on a little plane... I am really sure you could not have made space for one more of us--and I had a seat right next to Mille! The nice lady stuck her head in to say hi, in Russian that is, to every single one of us! Was that not just really nice!? Mille too says that people here in Chukotka are just so wonderful and sweet to us. The first thing they gave each one of us was a piece of sweeeet whale meat. That is some of the most tasty I have ever had. I tried to get lots on my cheeks, such a nice smell too...today we had walrus as well!! They have really big teeth and are pretty big I hear, but very fast. Apparently being fast is what this is all about! Will you believe it, today was not only our first day running with the Russian dogs--and my cousin-- it was our first time in a race shoot. That is something else. Lots of flags and colors and people and singing and dancing and drumming -- made me want to howl lots: but no time for that at all! There was a team of dogs right ahead of us and one right behind us, actually there were many behind us and as soon as the team ahead of us went, we had to go, and then the next came right behind. It was all rather confusing really, but it did not matter, cause we were finally running, running, running, and we just kept running and running -- it became so windy my ears were flat against my head but Mille asked that we keep running until we finally saw some more flags, and lots of happy people again, and then, we were done running! For today that is -- more running tomorrow!
Week 05: Howling…
Sled loaded, in my harness, flying down the expedition trail with the wind running through my hair—nothing I paw more! Ok, well, the sled was not loaded, it was actually empty… besides from Jim sitting in it and Joar standing on the back of it; and we are not in Beringia—not even in Alaska or Chukotka for that sake! So, I guess technically it was not the expedition…or the trail…. And actually for quite a while there was no trail. It was really really deep snow. Really. Lucky for me I was running behind Pingo, Trigger and Tucker, and my paws fit perfectly into everyone of their prints! If a missed a paw though—the snow was so deep that only the very tip of my ears stick above it! Great for hiding! Might be necessary around here too. I don’t know, but Cinnaman says he heard Isa say to Joar that there are bears around here. Not the white kind either. But the brown ones, and Cinnaman says those are the ones to be scared of. He knows a lot about bears… Cin-na-man, C*i*n*n*a*m*a*n, Ciiiiiiiiinnamaaaaaaan, Ci-NNA-man. Its such a funny name—you can howl it, you can bark it, long barks, short barks, you can twirl around yourself and say it through your whiskers. I heart him. Mille likes cinnamon on the her Risengrød; what’s that you ask!? That is her favorite food. We all know that cause she cheers every time she has it in the tent and she never-ever comes out of the tent to share any of that! Makes her howling happy. I mean she doesn’t howl. Actually she does howl. But that’s not when she is howling. Sometimes she howls after we have eaten though, or on the trail in the middle of the day when they have been fed and we have been napping…Speaking of napping, this bear again, its been napping—since the winter started I guess… that’s what C.I.N.N.A.M.A.N tells me anyway, and that name of his, I guess he is named after a bear so he should know! Bears a real strong you know. And smart. I have seen the white bear, but not the brown bear, or the cinnaman, I mean cinnamon, bear. They all three live in different places. The white one is out on the expeditions, and as I said, we are not there yet. This brown one though, I guess he is from around here; and now that winter is officially over he might wake up from his long nap… maybe we should not howl quite as much!!!? Not that we are the only ones howling around here!! There are the long beautiful howls from the other side it seems, and then there are all the other dogs around here! They speak Canadian! They are still like family though, and live just like us. And we can live anywhere! Its kind of like people…I mean people can live everywhere it seems like---like when the dog truck finally stopped and I looked out the door of my box, I could not see anything but little trees, they are so little they are almost not like trees, and snow and snow and snow and some more of those trees with big mountains behind them. I think that was the mountains we just went up and down and up and down and up and down and… Have you ever tried to howl real loud when you are doing that!? Its howling fun! Then the guys started unloading us, we went down a long trail all right, and there, in the middle of the snow was a cabin! With a woman! And a man! Ias and Jack are real nice. I think Ias likes me a lot. I don’t know that it is paw quite yet… Maybe that is why she is letting us stay!? I sure paw it here. My whiskers are nice and brittle. Lightning tells we have to move on, but then she can be a little impatient, if you ask me. Ok, gotta go, time for a howler!
Week 04: O Canada
I am in Canada! Along with the rest of the gang, of course. I actually thought maybe we were already in Alaska… We were stopped, and I was looking out my door on the dog truck watching Joar and Jim taking pictures and being all tail wagging around these signs. Ok, they don’t have tails (I am sorry if I say that a little funny, but I have to admit that is just so weird to me)—but I am telling you, they were so happy that if they had tails, they would have been wagging. Kodiak is in the box next to me told me that we were about to start driving up the Alaskan Highway. He has done that a couple of times before—said its real cool with lots of sheep, and bison and… Ok, I can’t remember all he said probably because I am not all that, well, I have never smelled what he was talking about so then its real hard to remember. And, well, Qannik and I are both so excited about Alaska that we started chatting, rolling and all. That’s when Nazca told us we could just relax and lay still in our boxes for a long while longer, cause we are not in Alaska yet.
Nazca knows we are in Canada because we stopped at the border when we crossed into Canada and we have not gone across another border yet… I have only been to Canada once before—on our last expedition to Greenland and then it was to fly out from here. Nazca has been here as many times as her and I both have paws + my ears! Borders are a funny thing. I guess it is sort of like when Sisu comes into my circle in the dog yard. I like her to check with me first that it is OK. She is actually not too good at doing that. I mean that is my space—sort of, at least. I do like to have visitors, though! I always try to greet anyone that comes to visit. Same, when we cross borders in the dog truck. Sometimes when we drive into another country, the nice people in the uniforms come through and open up all the doors to say "Hi" to everyone of us. I really like Canada... But I can't wait until we get to Alaska... and then Chukotka in Russia! Lots of borders to cross this time around, I guess.
First we have to cross the mountains I heard Jim say. Jora is like Goodie that he really likes mountains, he is sure smiling a lot. Not so much when the truck came to a stop this time around. I guess the truck was loosing air and then we can’t keep on driving. Good thing there is not air in the sleds—so that never happens on the trail! They had to change one of the truck tires and that takes a long time. It was nice, we were sitting in the sun. It is so pretty around here. Kinu had the idea that maybe its flowers that covers the mountains in the Summertime—I guess that would make sense; sure are no pink mountains to see around here, but we all heard Joar say the name into the phone many times. Maybe he was talking to Mille? She loves looking at maps and find out what places are called!
Yes, Mille is not here, so I guess we are actually not the whole gang. And, as I told you, my favorite teacher Sable stayed back... Sable did run around the truck saying goodbye to us all, but she is with Mille now and her buddy Domino told me she will be staying with Jim who is driving with us now, once Mille joins us. I heard Mille is meeting us in Alaska. I know, it’s a little confusing. I guess Jim really likes road trips! So do I. Back in the dog yard, when we heard that mighty rumble of the truck starting up we got excited beyond barks... at least for a split moment. Then, we all went really, really nuts, crazy, barking, howling, and jumping around. I had actually figured it out before the truck started. When it became dark there were still lights everywhere and watched them load everything into that big trailer we are pulling behind.
It is really fun to load. The guys either walk with each one of us or let us loose, and we run as fast as we can to the truck where and then they help us load into our boxes. The boxes sit on the flat part, on the back-end of the truck. Some of us can actually jump straight into the boxes on the first level without help. I can go on either first or second level. I am working on perfecting it, where I just need that hand on my back and I can crawl up the side of the boxes, make it into the box, and turn around in less than a minute! Tucker and Nazca are the best at "self-loading." Going into a top box, Tucker can actually stand on the ground and, in one jump, he makes it all the way up onto the second level with no help! Then truck starts rolling and off we go—each in our own box with a view.
Week 03: It's a Race!
If I have to say so myself, I think I am pretty fast. I wonder who is the fastest Polar Husky of all of us?? Mostly, we talk about who can pull the most and the longest! Lightning is really fast. Its been really easy to pull the 4-wheelers the last moons—and Joar sure likes to go fast; we have been going faster and longer everyday I swear and it sure makes him all smile, but then the next sunrise he is back yipping us to go, go, go! Even faster! It’s a race he says! Actually, its not just us running faster, so are they, the guys! Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. More back and forth than even Domino when he gets antsy! Watching them yesterday forth then back with boxes, bags, more boxes, bigger bags, skies, axes, tents had us going in circles. I mean watching them going in circles made us… well, I guess me and Pingo at least... go in circles. Sable came down to the dog yard this morning with Joar. Now that Sable is retired she mostly hangs out up by the ‘expedition barn’ as Mille calls it. I guess it is named that because that’s where all the stuff is put that is ready to get loaded on the sleds out on the expedition. That’s where they were running in and out of so much yesterday. The latest woof is that it’s about full! And that they are going to start loading the trailer tomorrow… I am excited beyond barks!! (I sure hope they remember the dog food). I wonder, we now have race sleds, and we are a going in a race, is there also a race-barn!? Oh yeah, that’s what this howling meet in Chukotka is, it’s a race. Whatever that all means. Nazca looked at me quite sternly when Kinu and I was talking about who of us all would win a race to run the fastest… She growled its still all about team work. I know that: team work gets the job done! Cinnaman just wagged his tail at me. I hope I get to run with him in this race whatever-it-is. Or behind him… or behind who is behind him. Or behind that one. I don't really care just as long as I get to be in the team! We are really going.
Week 02: 2 x 1 sled x 2 = 2 teams!?!
I think maybe its because she is the oldest of us all, but Nazca gets to go wherever she wants most the time and the other day she had been hanging with the gang by that place where they carry stuff in and out of all the time. Here is the thing: she said Jim and Joar were in there working on two sleds. New sleds that is!? When she said that we all just sat right on our tails. Well, not Pingo of course. He never sits it seems like. Anyway, it was really confusing and first we talked about maybe Mille had looked at more maps and decided she wanted to go somewhere else… But then, that just did not seem right, cause Disko had not heard of any change to us all heading for Beringia real soon. Nazca then explained that it was because we were taking two sleds this year. Okay, so two sleds, if we are two teams – that’s all normal. She meant four sleds, two for each team. Getting confused yet? I sure was, especially cause Pingo just will not sit down. So, each team normally pull one sled. Sometimes they are really big, and sometimes they are a lot smaller. Rubi explained that Mille makes that decision based on what is easiest for us! If there are a lot of trees, we don’t take the biggest sled we have, cause then we easier run it into the trees—makes sense to me! So far its been the really big sleds we have seen the gang work on. You know, if we all stood shoulder to shoulder, I think one of those sleds are so big that all us polar huskies could fit on top of it! I would want to stand next to Cinnaman. He is always wagging his tail at me. Nazca says these second sleds are not nearly as wide, or as heavy; at first Pingo and I agreed that if we have so much stuff this year that we need two sleds for each team, at least its good that the second one is a bit smaller. Then he was gone to the other side of the circle again—just flying through the air he is. That’s when I noticed how Lightning was rolling her eyes at us. It could have been because of Pingo, but I just had a feeling it was not; and the thing is, Lightning is usually right! About everything! Now Chukchi is not sitting still either. Its all going in two directions. Makes me dizzy! Not that we are going in two directions with two different kinds of sleds. Its Pingo and Chukchi. But I guess I get it; Chukchi has his name from people who live in the place of Chukotka.. the Chukchi people (Sisu is so smart, she knew that) and now we are going to this place too!!! I guess it would be like if I found out we are going to the moon! Kinu asked Disko if there are lots of trees there since we now need the smaller sleds too, and he said no. Disko has been there before—I guess he even has a couple of kids there! Maybe we will meet them too it sounds like! It is some sort of howling party where we are going to run with lots of other sled dogs! We have to have these small sleds so that we can keep running and running with everyone to see who can get somewhere first! Its so exciting! Gotta run! I am so sure I do my next circle here faster than Pingo and Chukchi—Its all about how much you lean into it… go faster, faster, faster!
Week 01: Diving In!
Have you ever tried snow-diving? I had the best dive this morning—its all about how you land; have to have some paw-some snow of course and then catch some paw-some air! I could this morning, cause I was standing on top of my house. Which I have to tell you is not all that easy cause it’s a triangle and you have to put your paws just right on each side of the middle top-beam to get a good grip. Disko does it too. I just paw Disko. When he leads us out running ahead of my team, I barely know what paw to put first! Even just along the road on the fields here around our kennel, the way his tail lies tight against his back and then wiggles when Joar calls out commands, it makes me almost jump over who-ever I am running next to. I can do that you know, but I don’t very much…For some reason, Trigger is pretty much the only one who sometimes thinks that it is as much fun as I do. The other day I tried to do it with Domino. That was a little scary as he sort of caught me with his eye, mid-air. I think the air is almost better up there on top of the dog house! Ok, so doing that today, was my first-time ever. Just like this is my first-time-ever writing on my log. I am really excited you are reading it! I have been so excited to do this I have been running in circles a lot the last while, thinking about how this will all go. I remember back when it was Timber with his Tales, then Beacon with his Blog and now its me with my Log… That’s some big paw prints to follow! And I don’t have that big paws! But, then, I am really good at figuring out how to do new stuff if I can say so myself. Kodiak says it will be alright too; he will help me. Actually, everyone have said they will, even Nazca, and she sure knows how to do it all. So it will be our whole team about it—isn’t that just snowy!? That’s how we do it around here –teamwork gets the job done! No one is better at teamwork than Sable, and now that I think about it, she does the top-of-the-triangle roof too!! I try so hard to learn from Sable. I cannot quite run and run and run like she can, forever, up and down, no matter how heavy the snow is; if you are next to Sable out on the expedition, there is no end to it, and no slack allowed! Telling you, Sable, she is really sweet and all, but she is sure all business. I don’t think she ever looks the other way! That’s hard not to do. Its not that I don’t try, it’s just, then there is a bird, Pingo looks at me all goofy, or a funny snow flake whirls across the snow!! So many snow flakes here this year! Wondering if that is going to be the same on the expedition. Did you hear, we are going to Beringia! It just makes the hairs inside my ears tickle. That’s what happened up there on the roof today… We are going to the top of the world! And the snow looked all so huge and fluffy from up there.. I had to—I jumped and it was the most paw-some landing ever! I paw just diving in!