Dale Campbell is learning how mush dogs at Team Ineka. Today he went on his first sled run of the season with an 8 dog team.
The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Mush! You Huskies Radio Show
As promised, yesterday, I wanted to showcase the sister show to our highly popular, Dog Doctor Radio Show to my rabid reader, fans and friends– Mush! You Huskies, better yet, MushingRadio.com was brought on board on the Dog Works Radio platform to fill a need for the future followers of Team Ineka and my quest to train for, and run the Iditarod in 2013.
We started the show to coincide with the start of the 2010 Iditarod in March and we followed the progress of the mushers on the trail and gave daily insight and commentary about the race. Not being a sportscaster, our shows had more of a statistical bent to it but hey, we will get better in the future, right?
This summer, we started our very popular Dog Sledding Legends series and did shows profiling the greats such as Leonhard Seppala, Scotty Allan, Doc Lombard, to name a few.
Our goal is to chronicle the adventures of my training and racing career though the show. I plan in the future of offering interviews of me (by my co-host, wife and business partner, Michele Forto). I hope to have other musher’s interviews as well.
I would also like to showcase our sponsors on the show and allow them the opportunity to take advantage of this unique advertising medium. As any musher knows, in order to get to the “big race” we have to run miles, miles and more miles, and we are often dependent on our generous sponsors in helping us reach our financial goals.
By continuing to use the BlogTalkRadio format we are able to bring the cutting edge technology of the platform and have the ability of adding video, chats, remote interviews, email, call-ins for our guests and of course an international audience. With this perfect marriage of technology and social media it is our hope to bring the sport of mushing and one man’s quest to make his own personal history a reality.
As we always say… Never Forget Your Dreams and we will see you on the trail!
I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.
You Are Never To Old Too Run Sled Dogs
By Robert Forto and Mac McClanahan (Nov. 2000)
I said, “Sure come on over!”
This is his story.
Mac McClanahan is 82 years old and full of life. He said that he has done just about everything; flew helicopters in the Korean War, forced landed three planes, paraglide, walked the Colorado trail, but nothing compares to being behind a team of dogs. Mac said it was one of the most emotional times of his life the first time he was behind a team of dogs and that was just a mere two weeks ago.
Mac was looking for a dog last year that could meet some pretty rigid requirements. After months of research and reams of paper on the internet, he and his wife Melba, decided on a Siberian Husky. They put their plan into action and happened to find exactly what they were looking for. They found a female, open faced, gray, with blue eyes that had the build of a sled dogs, according to all of the books that Mac had read. Why a female? On Melba’s insistence, she said that you can’t get smarter than a woman and if you wanted a lead dog you needed a female. They must have made the right choice because it just so happens that the dog that they picked is a sister to one of our sled dogs here at Team Ineka, Nixon.
For the past year, Mac had been working with his new dog and friend, Chukchi, which Mac says means “sled puller”. Mac says, “I thought I would give her a name and hope that she can live up to it. It is her destiny!” They walked miles and miles and even walked a portion of the Colorado Trail this summer. Mac says “I was walking with friends 30 to 40 years my junior and if it wasn’t for Chukchi I might not have made it to the top of that pass.”
Mac’s goal is to run with some of Team Ineka’s dogs this year in a race or two with a team of three or four dogs. He is working very hard on his training and he and his dog are doing great. Right now they come over for a “session” twice a week and we try to teach something new each time. He is learning quickly. He has been dragged, had a dog fight with a dog on the trail, and even gotten lost when his team took off too fast for me to catch him with my team.
We talked about the future of the sport and what he thought about the Iditarod and he said he thinks the future is very bright. Mac said that this is a “word of mouth” sport and he will do his best to promote it. He said that he has lived in Colorado for seven years and has seen lots of dog trucks driving around but nothing else. He said that needs to change.
There needs to be more advertising in local papers and different forms of media. Mac said that he is telling everyone that he talks to that he is running sled dogs. When he does everyone stops, their ears perk up, and they want to know more and more.
That is what this sport needs. More ambitious people like Mac. His spirit keeps me motivated and all I want to do is train and train.
Mac ended by saying, “I don’t know if she (Chukchi) has the ability to be a good lead dog or if she ever will, but I do know that she has a mind of her own and when she wants to listen she will do just that.”
Well, we are going to try our best to make that dream happen for Mac and Chukchi, she is a natural in harness and will be running in races this year. I have already promised him that.
The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Fall is in the Air
What a great time to be in Alaska. The leaves are changing and the air is getting cooler. The nights are just a little longer and the mist in the wind refreshes your soul. Last night was a great day to run dogs. I helped out a couple new friends that are premiere Siberian Husky racers and I was privileged to go along while they trained three teams of 16 dogs. The dogs were remarkable. Probably the best trained Siberians I have ever seen in my life. Their leaders on all three teams responded quickly and turned on a dime. Many people train dogs for years to get their leaders to respond that well.
I arrived home about 12:15 with hopes of getting a first glimpse of the Aurora Borealis but it is still early yet and according to the forecasters as it a little north near Fairbanks. The aurora is actually the glow of solar particles blown into the earth’s magnetic field more than 60 miles above the earth’s surface at speeds up to 35,000 miles per hour.
The streams of charged solar particles surge and bulge along bends in the earth’s magnetic field. As they strike atoms in the earth’s atmosphere, they create greenish-yellow, faint blue, or even blood red curtains of color.
With such a dramatic show of force in the sky, it’s easy to see how some Alaska Native groups believed the lights had serious powers. Some believed the lights were the dancing spirits of children who died at birth. Others thought them spirits of the dead playing ball with a walrus skull. Some believed that whistling at the aurora would cause it to sweep down and take you from earth. Still others carried knives to keep it away.
Have you ever seen the aurora? Where where you and what did you think? I know things like this becomes common place to folks who experience it all the time but sometimes you just have to ‘stop and smell’ the roses because someday you might not get a chance…
I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please comment below.
Sled Dog Demo at Spirit of the North Kennels
By Al Magaw
Don’t forget that next Monday, Labour Day, Spirit of the North Kennels ( 966 Airport Road, Salmo ) is having a bit of an open house for those interested in seeing the racing sleddogs in action and a celebration of the start of the 2010/2011 training/racing/tour season – we’ll start running dogs at 8am when it’s still cool out of consideration for the dogs – should be done with running teams by 10am – waffles after the runs for those interested, lots of chance to pet dogs and get to know these wonderful animals and cuddle a litter of 10 week old puppies – all are welcome – let me know so I can prepare – if you have sled dogs you’d like to run, bring them along
Al Magaw is a musher from Salmo, BC. Al keeps a medium sized kennel of 20 – 45 alaskan huskies as well as several pet dogs of various breeds. Al has been training and racing for the last 33 years. Before becoming involved with sled dogs, Al, along with his family, kept and competed with horses for many years. Al can be reached through his website athttp://www.spiritofthenorthkennels.com Al is a guest blogger for Denver Dog Works and can be reached through our website athttp://www.denverdogworks.com
The Serum Run: Sled Dogs Save the Day-Part 1
In 1925, the population of Nome, Alaska was just two thousand. Most of the miners, prospectors and adventurers of the gold rush had moved on. The city was the site of a potential catastrophe, an epidemic of diphtheria. Diphtheria is a “specific, localized, and superficial bacterial infection.” It produces a powerful and deadly toxin that in the first quarter of the twentieth century claimed over half the lives of anyone unlucky enough to contract it. The residents of Nome were in dire danger, without an adequate supply of antitoxin the city’s prognosis was at best poor.
The challenges of delivering the twenty-five pound package of life-saving antitoxin were many. It would have to be picked up from the railhead in Nenana and transported to Nome over six hundred seventy four miles of the “roughest and most desolate” terrain found anywhere on the planet. The trip, which normally took twenty-five days, would have to be undertaken in just fifteen; in the middle of an arctic winter where the bone-chilling temperatures ranged from -19ºF to -64ºF. To complicate matters it was dark most of the time in late January and early February.
Richard Byrd said, “The Eskimo husky still is, as he always has been, the one absolutely reliable means of polar advance.” Rest assured it was this reliability that spared the lives of the citizenry of Nome. Twenty or so brave mushers: natives, mail carriers and white men put their lives, and the lives of their dogs, on the line for the isolated city. They did not risk it all for money, or for glory, but simply because it was the right thing to do.
Gunnar Kasson and Leonhard Seppala received most of the credit and glory associated with the Nome Serum Run; however, they were just a small part in a much larger, history-making adventure. It was primarily Native Alaskans and mail drivers who weathered the biting cold and the blinding storms who conquered the brutal trail. Those drivers were thanked by President Coolidge and even received a medal for their efforts, but they were mostly over-looked by the media.
The tale begins in January of 1925, in Nome, Alaska. The only physician in Nome, Dr. Curtis Welch, discovered a case of the dreaded “Black Death” disease, diphtheria. The doctor’s supply of antitoxin was very small, and Nome was the medical center for a district of some eleven thousand extremely vulnerable natives.
There was a supply of antitoxin in Anchorage, Alaska. As previously alluded to, the difficulty was in transporting the serum to Nome. There were two biplanes at that time in Alaska, the problem with using them was that not only were they disassembled for the winter, they were also both open-cockpit. The days were short, and the weather was horribly cold. The pilots were willing to give it a go, but it was decided that the risk to the only serum in Alaska was too high for such a reckless endeavor. So just as the natives had done for centuries, the residents of Nome pinned their hope of survival on sled dogs.
Tomorrow: Part 2 of The Serum Run: Sled Dogs Save the Day
Dr. Robert Forto is the Dog Sledding Examiner, a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular, Mush! You Huskies Radio Show