Jake, Greg, and the dog team made it back to Idaho
yesterday afternoon, April 1 after a 3,000 journey back from Alaska. Trent got back last Saturday and has been back in the classroom all week. Laura and Erika from Ed and Tasha Stielsta’s
Nature’s Kennel had made the drive to Idaho earlier in the week and were
waiting on the puppies to show up, and take them back home to Michigan.
The Nature’s Kennel Sprinter Van
was scheduled for evening departure last night, and Jake and Trent wanted one last run
with the team before kissing them good bye and sending them on their way
It’s spring time in the Idaho prairie
now, with no snow, and sledding isn’t going to happen, so Trent and Jake took them for
one last run “pulling” the Suburban Hillbilly Mushing wagon down some of the
agriculture right of way roads for a last dance of 5 miles. Couple of fun pictures of the kennel in
Spring, their last few moments there, and hitching the team up for one last run below.
Goodbye had to be a tough thing for
Trent and Jake after spending the better part of 6 months as alpha males in the
pack. When the puppies showed up, they
had never been hitched up as a team and didn’t know ‘gee’, from ‘haw’, from ‘gee-whiz’. Sixteen of the team experienced 500 miles of
the Iditarod trail, camping and running the same rivers and tundras their ancestors and families have been down. Fourteen made
it to the Norton Sound, twelve to the final checkpoint 75 miles from Nome, and
ten finished in Nome. They are all ready
to do what they love best; ‘team travel and traction’ over long distances in one of
the most remote parts of the world, that could only be traveled by sled dog
until a few short decades ago. They are
physically and mentally ready for the challenge. They were kindergartners, and now they are
ready for junior varsity and varsity teams on the Iditarod.
Trent and Jake may do this all
again next year and train another team of puppies. They may train and run a mature team for
another musher. They may decide that
this is just way too crazy for a couple of Idaho boys. We
shall see, perhaps we will see you on a new adventure next year.
Goodbye Ayun, Belly Button, Blast, Clog,
Digger, Gordon, Henry, James, Joe Cool, Krister, Linus, Loafer, Mukluk, Pig Pen,
Scott, Thomas, Stu, and Woodstock!