Consider installing industrial carpeting free of pad underneath very simple to vacuum and steam-clean.
The first Saturday in August has arrived, and it's time for the Yukon Quest sign ups!!! We hope you all will follow along this year, and we can't wait to get started!
We're getting pretty excited here at Ryno Kennel- it's August first!!! Normally around this time, the weather starts to cool, and we begin to feel as if winter is just around the corner. It's not that I don't like summer, but winter is just so much better!
As the temps start to drop, the dogs' energy exponentially grows. They get sooo excited for the coming cold and bark and twirl whenever we pull out the ATV as if to say- it's time to run! I try to give the dogs as much exercise as possible. On rainy days, I've taken the pups out for short 2 mile runs down to the Chena River. We haven't been doing as many free runs and loose walks the past few weeks, because unfortunately we've been plagued by foxtails and grass seeds. Pointy seeds can work their way under a dog's skin and cause some issues, so most of our exercise has been in harness.
Overall, the dogs have been enjoying their summer vacation, and I've had the chance to enjoy a vacation or two myself! Jezzy, Sasha, and I enjoyed a short backpack trip in the Alaska Range with friends and fellow mushers, Kristin and Paige. Tom (brother who has being helping so much this summer!) and I took dirt bikes down the Denali Highway for a...
Nobody blinks when they pay monthly car insurance premiums or invest in good health plans. Instead, we all recognize the
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All windows and doors are complete!
The past couple of weeks, Rick (Derek's dad) came to visit and helped us make significant progress on the cabin! During his visit we framed in the walls, built stairs, and insulated the roof (among other smaller projects).
First up was the framing of the walls. Tom and Rick tackled this project, framing in a small bathroom, laundry nook, and dog food prep room.
Next was the stair construction. Rick nailed up a couple sheets of dry wall along the stairwell beforehand, then we started the task of slowing building each stair. While our stairway is comfortable to ascend and descend, it's slightly steeper than standard codes would permit. Also, not everything is perfectly square, so we had to get a bit creative at times. That's a log cabin for you!
Our final big project during Rick's visit was insulating the roof. Since temperatures can get rather cold here in the winter, we wanted to make sure our roof was heavily insulated. We used R-38 batt insulation and then covered that with 1 1/2 inch foam board. There's no way the heat will escape through there! The cracks between the logs are a...
Do you remember the day you brought your pet home? Along with all the excitement and laughter that comes with
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Chena River walking
Summertime = relaxation time for the sled dogs. For some, like Cartel, Jana, CJ, and Frosty, they're soaking it up! They probably nap 23 1/2 hours out of the day and would nap the full 24 except that I wake them up for meal times. For others, like Yuker, Amelia, and the African Litter, they're like that one family member on vacation who can never sit still. Every time the weather permits, we try to hook up a team and take a lap around the property. The Mario Carts and Sharks have been improving every run. Thresher in particular, loves to scream and howl as he's running!
Dr. Jeanne Olson also came out to visit the kennel and do a spay and neuter day. We're SO APPRECIATIVE of vets who are willing to travel. The dogs are always more comfortable staying at home for a vet visit. While each musher is different, we tend to spay and neuter when the dogs are older than one year and aren't top choices for future breedings. Spaying and neutering helps prevent "oops puppies." Spaying and neutering doesn't alter the athlete's drive at all, and if anything, improves it. They're less worried about looking attractive...
Running has exploded in popularity in recent decades, and there’s no doubt that this type of regular aerobic exercise brings
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While it’s incredibly satisfying to practice yoga in a studio among other yogis, it’s equally lovely to settle into some
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Marty on the roof with a Griff guarding the door.
For Wombat's Birthday, we raised the roof! Ok, maybe we didn't raise the roof only for Wombat's birthday, but both are true! On Saturday, Derek and I placed joists across the rafters, and then Sunday, we laid the tin. Since our driveway is still impassable for cars and trucks, our friend Marty flew his Super Cub in to help.
I have really loved learning how build. While I'm sure professional carpenters would laugh at some of our decisions, it's been so rewarding to build our own home. We're also fortunate to live around so many friends and neighbors who have carpentry experience and are willing to share their time or knowledge. Up next- windows, doors, and interior!
Derek adjusting the edges.
Dark Green tin.
Marty landing on our airstrip....
If you’ve seen a well-behaved, calm, intuitive dog, it probably took a process to get that way – one that
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I normally pride myself on keeping up with the blog, but the month of April was too fast. I truly value everyone's commitment and support, so I'll try to keep everyone better informed!
Our last expedition ended on the 5th of April. For the final night of the expedition, we stayed in our Mongolian Yurt on Trapline Mountain. The winds were HOWLING. Since this is our first year with a structure on Trapline Mountain, we don't have barriers to keep the dogs out of the wind. While the dogs are more than capable of surviving a night in 30F and 20-40mph winds, it's the end of season. Even the dogs like to enjoy some relaxation and fun mushing. Camping for 16 hours in 40 mph wind is not necessarily the most fun. Our options were to mush back down into the Chena Valley or bring every single dog in the yurt. Well, can you guess which option won? Haha- yep! All the dogs came into the yurt. It was so much fun to bond and cuddle with them all; however, the only issue is that the yurt is truly an authentic Mongolian yurt. The felt surrounding the framework is made from animal fur, and horse hide binds the lattice together....
The more you’re exposed to something, the more comfortable you are with it, right? Not so with ticks. Because they’re
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Deciding to open your home and heart to a rescue pet is an important and meaningful life decision. Not only
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There’s no question that pets are funny, and they make us laugh all the time. But do they mean to?
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Spring has been an absolute blast. We've begun the move to the new property, soaked up the sun on our longer days, and met lots of new folks on our tours and expeditions.
Over the course of the next 10 days, we'll move all the dogs over to the new property. Derek and I will live in the handler cabin while we finish construction on the main house. Liz will be moving on to start her Graduate Program with the University of Miami. She'll be studying ducks in Alaska, and over the course of five years, she'll earn her doctorate. Tyler will be returning to the Denver Glacier in Skagway, Alaska accompanied by 35 dogs from Wayne and Scarlett Hall from Bush Alaska Expeditions. He'll be giving tours up on the glacier, so if you have a trip planned for Alaska, be sure to swing up there and say hi! We've had such an incredible crew this year, so a big thank you to Tyler and Liz!!
Olga and Irna being good sports.
A night in the Mongolian Yurt...
The crew at the ice cave.
To help distract ourselves from clicking the refresh button on the Iditarod tracker (ok, ok this trip was actually planned for more than that), Derek, the pups, and I took a couple folks on a wonderful Denali Highway trip! The weather was perfect. We had everything- picturesque clear days, occasional low hanging clouds, fresh snow. It was fantastic. On these longer trips, I like to bring the youngsters so that they get extra camping experience. The canine crew consisted of Cooke, Lefty, Flash, Crunch, CJ, Jana, Cartel, Coot, Fish, Vanessa, King Louie, Goblin, Perm, Katy, Boone, Elmer, and Badger.
We mushed 15 miles in and stayed in an arctic oven tent. Then we mushed another 25 miles to Maclaren River Lodge. We stayed there for two nights, spending one day mushing up to the Maclaren Glacier Ice Cave. We had such a blast with our guests, Kibba and Peter, and love using these trips as a way to top off a season!
Camp site on the Denali Highway...
Dog behavior can range from adorable and sweet to unruly and revolting within seconds. Dogs can surely be well-mannered, but
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We don't know the details of the tracker malfunction, but the team has crossed the finish line in 4th Place!!
Writing this, Ryne and her amazing team are at mile marker 278. Finish is 311.5.
Go Ryno Kennel Go!!!
Sun broke out, skies cleared a bit. Ryne is working hard to support her amazing team.
Yesterday I dropped off the Yukon Quest drop bags at Summit Logistics with the Quest logistics team. This is always a huge relief. We had almost 35 separate 40-lb bags labelled by checkpoint. Transporting those supplies is a massive undertaking, so a BIG thank you to all the Yukon Quest volunteers who make sure that all the bags arrive safely (and frozen) to their respective locations and are ready upon our arrival during the race.
What's in all the drop bags?
Meat, meat and more meat- Liz cut up and bagged almost 100 snacks of various meats such as beef, liver, BLT (beef, liver and tripe), and fish. This is one of the not-so-enjoyable jobs of handling, so thank you Liz!
Dog kibble- We prepackaged meal sized portions of kibble to be sent out to each checkpoint. There is always extra in case an unplanned layover is necessary.
Supplies- dog booties, human gloves, dog blankets, batteries, runner plastics (different colors for different temperatures, just like ski wax).
Human food- I did a short video about the kinds of human food I send out on the trail. Enjoy!
Vet bags- Included in the vet bags are supplements, wrist wraps, massage oils, foot ointment, handwarmers and other supplies...
Tyler with his leaders Niagra and Ham
Tyler and team finished at 5:48 this morning at Pleasant Valley Store with a team full of happy, charging youngsters! A big congrats to Tyler on finishing his first race, as well as all the yearlings- it was their first race also! Once Tyler has a chance to catch up on sleep, I'll get more info on each dog's performance. Until then, enjoy this short video from the halfway point at Two Rivers Checkpoint.
Tyler and team are on the trail! They left this afternoon around 1:00 and are on their way to Two Rivers Lodge, approximately 45-50 miles down the trail. Leading the charge are Ham and Niagra followed by Nile and Cooke, Badger and Amelia, Vanessa and Elmer, CJ running by herself, and King Louie and Flash in wheel. We're expecting Tyler to arrive at Two Rivers Lodge in about 5-6:30 hours. Reports from the trail is that the going is slow, so we'll just be patiently waiting at the Lodge!
The racing season continues with the Two Rivers 100 starting tomorrow at noon! This is a local race put on by the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association. It begins at Chatanika Lodge, runs 50 miles to Two Rivers Lodge, then loops around another 50 miles to Pleasant Valley Store. The first 50 miles is full of steep climbs and plummeting drops while the second 50 miles is relatively flat and through the lowlands of the Chena River Valley.
Tyler will be running in the Two Rivers 100 with a rambunctious team of youngsters! Joining Tyler on the race will be: Ham and Niagra in lead, CJ, and then the eight yearlings- Cooke, Flash, Amelia, Badger, King Louie, Nile, Elmer, and Vanessa. This will be Tyler's first race, as well as all the yearlings!
Tyler drew bib #28 at the start banquet this evening, which means he'll start as #8 for the 100 mile competitors. The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association also organizes a 200 mile race that runs at the same time as the 100 mile race. The first 100 miles are the same, and the 200-mile races continue on to Angel Creek Lodge, then back to Pleasant Valley Store. For most of the...
Niagra, Ham, and Liz at the finish.
I have to say, the Copper Basin was a pretty crazy, intense, and
incredible experience. I don't think I've ever been so tired in my
life when we crossed the finish line after our final 11 hour
run from Mendeltna. The dogs were absolutely incredible throughout the
race, and the
best part of the entire experience was watching my team power through
the tough conditions. Big thanks to Ryno Kennel for letting me run
this race and get the true mushing experience! And also thanks to my
family for coming up and supporting me. It was great to see them
cheering all along the trail.
I'd definitely classify racing as type II fun, where you're not always
enjoying the struggles in the moment, but looking back it was the best
thing ever and you have tons of stories. One of my biggest struggles
was the really long runs in the dark. I had two night runs that were
ten hours or more, and I found it really hard to stay positive eight
hours in when all I wanted was to sleep. When I would get down, the
thing that really kept me going was thinking about how the dogs were
absolutely crushing it. A really great part of this...