December 28, 2009

Arctic Expedition is Drawing Near

Joe and the expedition team of about 25 of our malamutes will be heading to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in January to begin another Arctic Expedition

This years expedition will be four months long.  For the first six weeks, Joe will be dog sledding alone with the team, but for the remainder of the season clients from all over the world will join them to explore some of the most remote parts of Alaska’s arctic.

Preparations and logistics for these expeditions are a year-round endeavor.  But, every winter, right around this time, our living room starts to look like a warehouse as it becomes the staging area for all the expedition gear and supplies (gotta do whatcha gotta do). 

Yesterday we took a small team out for some conditioning and training, just as we have been doing since October when we got a decent base of snow.  We’re training Bucko to run in lead.


Bucko has been on two expeditions, but this year he’s really showing signs of becoming a good leader.   He’s attentive, agile, and doesn’t feel self-conscious with the rest of the team breathing down his neck up there in lead. 

In the photo below, from left to right, we have in lead: Farmer, Bear, and Bucko.  A good way to train a malamute to pull in lead is to let him run next to a couple of veteran leaders.  A young, prospective leader will learn by example and before you know it, you’ll have another expert lead dog.  Of course, in the arctic there are no trails, so Bucko will have more to learn from Bear and Farmer, like how to navigate using snowdrifts as a compass and how to resist the temptation of chasing a herd of musk oxen.   In the meantime, he’s doing a mighty fine job in lead position on the Two Rivers trail system.


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It was a beautiful day.  To the east, the sky looked like this…


And to the west, it looked just like this…



And straight ahead, it looked like this… :)



  • Kit

    Wow, what an adventure!!! My hubby has been on several dog-sled trips out of Bettles, but for only 10 days at a time!
    Your dogs are amazing

  • Sierra Rose

    Really great! We closed our eyes and imagined riding in the snow with the amazing sled dogs. Fantastic! Could feel that cool air, and see those views!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose and mom

  • Piappies World

    Its really exciting and interesting to know more about the Arctic Expedition. We only see this in the movies and we are so happy to get first hand information from you. It’s truly amazing!!! We wish you all the luck for the coming expedition and we eagerly wait for the posts you will have on this.

    Thank you so much.

    Fudgie, Princess & the Piappies