December 17th, 2016 – Tis the season! For snow and sleds! Mother nature granted our wish for more snow and gave us a fresh 8-9 inches over the last 2 days! The main team headed out for a 12hr day on Friday, and the Nolan boys took out the Jr. team for their first 60 mile camp!
On Friday the snow started falling, but did not amount to what was needed to run a large team by sled. Wade and I decided to take 18 out on the snowmachine for a camp and check out the trails. This run would be the farthest I have ever been out with the dog team. It was fun to leave the kennel and finally reach the main Willow trails via dog team. Our run was fairly uneventful, aside from the off and on snowstorm, some unexpected difficulties with our supply trailer (thankfully Wade is the MacGyver of all things mushing) and stopping to snack dogs and make snow angels. Being one of the first teams out on the new snow the run to our camp took us a bit longer than usual, but we made it to Turning Heads Kennel where we rested and visited with friends before making the run straight back home.
Come Saturday, the snow continued, this time much larger flakes and faster snowfall. The Nolan boys arrived at the kennel around 4am and took the yearlings on the sleds for their first long camping trip! I woke up still feeling ill, (been battling an obnoxious head cold for the last few days) but really wanted to take advantage of the fresh snow and get some time on the sled. I convinced Wade to help me hook up the 15 young dogs (ages 7-9 months) with 2 veterans and off we went in small teams for some fun runs around the swamp. The young dogs enjoy getting out and they allow me to practice my sled control with a little less power than the race team! We all had a blast.
Mid afternoon the boys arrived back at the kennel. Tired, they said they were breaking trail the whole time! Andrews team ranges from 1-2 yrs old, a young team of future all stars!
Andrew will be racing them in the Copper Basin 300, the Willow 300 and the Jr. Iditarod to complete his Iditarod qualifiers, Daniel Nolan will race the Willow Jr. 100 and Hannah Mahoney will take some on her Jr. Iditarod race! We are very pleased with the determination and willingness to learn from our Jr. mushers and love having them around.
So what’s next for the crew?! Hopefully even more snow and more time on sleds. The Gin Gin 200 is the first weekend in January, followed by the Copper Basin for Andrew. As usual we are busy working hard to prepare all teams for success this season. We know everyone is anxiously awaiting Iditarod 2017 and so are we!
Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors and supporters who continue to help make this happen for us and our furry athletes! Want to become part of our team? See the link! http://stumpjumpinkennel.com/support-sjk/
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
More pictures from the last two days (click to enlarge):