Expeditions and Cabins and End of Season

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.

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 A night in the Mongolian Yurt

A night in the Mongolian Yurt

Starting the move!

Handler Cabin

Handler Cabin

 Sun bathing- AK style

Sun bathing- AK style

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Denali Highway

 The crew at the ice cave.

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

 Jana and Cartel leading the charge.

Jana and Cartel leading the charge.

Teams patiently waiting as we explore the ice cave.

 Cooke and Crunch leading my team.

Cooke and Crunch leading my team.

Expeditions

With the Iditarod about to begin, the Ryno athletes have been keeping busy exploring Interior Alaska. The snow is falling non-stop, making for some incredible scenery and memorable trail breaking. Tomorrow, we hit the trails for the Denali Highway and guess what- it's snowing! Luckily, we have just the mode of transportation for such conditions.

Colorado Creek Trail on the one sunny day.

Frosty Trees

 Climbing mountains and breaking trail.

Climbing mountains and breaking trail.

 We made it to the top of Trapline Mountain!

We made it to the top of Trapline Mountain!

This will be our third spring leading expeditions, and I feel so fortunate to be able to explore Alaska and visit incredible places with incredible people! Of course, rarely do trips go as planned (for instance on the last one, we were breaking trail all three days! We covered 5 miles in 2 1/2 hours!). From being blown off the Denali Highway to breaking trail to being stuck on a frozen lake deep in the Alaska Range, it's always an adventure. Here's a video from two years ago when Maliko and I were trying to put in trails for our incoming guests. I got the snowmachine stuck in overflow and decided a 24 dog team was the only way to get it out. If you haven't read the whole story, here is the link: http://rynokennel.com/blog/2016/4/24/the-time-we-drove-a-24-dog-team

 

These incredible trips are made possible by Derek (my number one support and logistics manager), Liz (caring for all the pups and dogs staying at home as well as helping pack and prepare), the Last Frontier Mushing Co-op, and the fun folks who want to experience a different type of vacation. 

Construction Continues

 It's starting to look like a cabin!

It's starting to look like a cabin!

Construction continues on our new home! Derek and Dave have spent nearly every day building and framing the second story and roof. Dave is the owner of Alaska Commercial Rentals, one of our biggest sponsors. He's supposed to be "retired," but we roped him into our little project. It sure has been nice having a professional carpenter around to assist! My favorite features are all the large windows looking out onto the dog yard. I can't wait to move in!

When not helping with the cabin, we've been giving tours with the Mushing Coop, running dogs, or working with the pups. Terrell ran in harness for the first time and did fantastic!! Mako also had a turn....which didn't go so well. Even though he's as big as Stormy now, he's not quite mentally ready. Instead, he free ran next to the team with his harness on and had a great time! Typically, I don't put pups in harness until they're six or seven months old, but I couldn't help myself with 5 month old Mako- he's just so big! We'll give Mako and his siblings another shot in a few weeks.

All the puppies have officially moved out of the pens, and into the "big dog" yard. This allows them their own personal space and puts them right into the heart of all the activity. They seem to enjoy it!

Completing the dormers.

Half the rafters are up!

Fancy chainsaw work.

Mario and Yoshi

The final rafters.

 Bowser hugging his brother Toad.

Bowser hugging his brother Toad.