I realize there is a whole training season to catch up on now! The race starts in just over a week.
We live up in Ketchum, ID but our training kennel is about 45 miles south and west of Ketchum, outside Fairfield, Idaho on the Camas Prairie. Just north of town are the Soldier Mountains and Smokey Dome at 10,095 ft.
Pictures above of our training cabin and kennel. This is from yesterday, February 25 and as you can see we have very little snow in the prairie at 5,000 ft. No one is going to look at this and immediately recognize it as the kennel of an Iditarod team, but the location has been ideal. We had a lot of snow in December and January. The prairie is generally agricultural with lots of right-of-ways, and we can run the team with sleds right out of the back yard if we’ve got snow, and with the ATV if we don’t. We often load up the kennel trailer and head to high and snowy ground in the Soldiers, the Trinities, the Pioneers, the Smokies, and the Sawtooths. Some of the training runs we do make the passes and summits of the Yukon Quest seem tame. Our runs are over 50 miles at this point, and we have over 2,800 miles of training in with the dog team this season. I’ll tell you more about the dog team in the next post.
Below is our handler Jake Swift and yours truly. I know, Jake Swift sounds like a name straight
out of Hollywood Central Casting for a musher.
Jake has been awesome and is the secret sauce for my program. He is at the training kennel full time to
take care of the team, and gets them ready for me to come down from Ketchum to do
training runs. He has also developed in
to a fine and promising musher in his own right. I train the team 2-3 nights during the week
and bring the family to the cabin every weekend and usually train both nights. It’s great to get a reasonable amount of
sleep and to have the efficiency of the team being ready when I show up. There is a ski resort at the top of the peak
in the first picture called Soldier Mountain, and my oldest daughter Kali and I
ski there generally every weekend trip.
Below is a picture of veteran dog team member, Ayun, in the
cabin mooching pancakes from my youngest daughter Kira.