Saturday, March 26, 2016

Out to the Whites...

Went out to the White Mtns. to run dogs with my friend Bill. We did the same trip Andy and I had done back in 2012 (Last dog run...). It was a bit of a slog going in, as the trails were drifted over in places due to recent snow and high winds. There was a lot of running and pushing to get the sled up the steep pitches, but we eventually made it to the cabin. The next few days were beautiful, sunny and not too windy, so like it always is in the Whites, good weather makes for good times. The trip out was easy. The BLM trail crew had groomed the trail while we were in there, so we almost flew down those steep sections of trail that we had struggled to climb earlier. Too much fun.
Bill's team climbing up the ridge-top trail.
Following Bill back to the cabin.
We had beautiful sunsets,
and a full moon every night.
Spuds and Barney at age eleven; still running up front after all these years.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Back to winter...

After one of the warmest winters on record (Warm enough? 3/6/16), it's finally returned to typical winter weather:
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FAIRBANKS AK 3/19/16
 ID           STATION                HI   LO                                              
PAFA  : Fairbanks Airport    17 / -20
PAEI  :  Eielson AFB             16 / -18
PANN  : Nenana                    16 / -20
PATA  :  Tanana                     16 / -21
But for running the dogs, it doesn't get any better than this. Gave the older ones (Barney and Spuds) a day off, so just took the five youngest. Pretty interesting run, since none of the younger leaders know their commands yet. But we made it around the trail and got home just fine. Like most of the time out on the trail, it's just too much fun.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ides of March again...

The Ides of March are here again. As I've noted before (Ides... 3/15/13), the Ides were a time of celebration for the Roman new years, which culminated in mid March. So here's one of my first posts (maybe the one I've most liked), which just happened to have been posted on the Ides of March. So just party on.
Almost Spring...
It was minus 15° F this morning and with the wind blowing, it certainly feels a lot colder. A good day to run dogs. Most of my dogs are large and fuzzy, not the sleek houndy/pointer crosses that you see wearing coats and booties at the race track. I wouldn't say my team is slow, but I round my run times to the nearest hour.  This is also good weather for the musher with a hangover; I call it a medicinal dog run. Not that I get hangovers much, well maybe a few, but the cold air really does clear the head.
(Originally posted 3/16/09)
Headin' up the trail through the ubiquitous black spruce.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Warm enough?

The remarkably warm and dry weather pattern for Fairbanks continues. February 2016, much like January and December 2015 was warmer than normal and exceptionally dry.  Alaska's warm winter is predicted to last until breakup.
Much of the state was also unusually dry, according to the NWS. Denali National Park headquarters and McGrath saw their second driest midwinter seasons on record. Fairbanks had, by far, the lowest precipitation (and snowfall) of any December through February in more than a century of climate observations, It snowed 2 1/2 inches in the three months and rained 0.13 inches. (Taken from: http://www.adn.com/article/20160301/mid-winter-months-break-temperature-records-across-alaska).
The dog trails are getting icy, not so bad that you can't run them, but it's a lot more interesting when you go out. Going side-ways on the turns puts new perspective on the question "how'd it go today?"
Here's a shot of the dogs taking a rest from the heat. The breaks are a lot longer now so they have time to cool down.