Monday, February 12, 2007

Denali Dogs

We needed to take a malamute up to an adopter in Fairbanks and bring a malamute down to Anchorage for another adoption. So we decided to meet partway in Denali National Park and spend the weekend skijoring.

The first day was snowing, lucky us 4 inches (10 cm) on a crust. This made for some fast going. (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Ken adopted Ricki (malamute on the right) and his daughter Callie changed the mal's name to Gracie. In order to control overflow on the road, they plow one side of the road so they can get road machinery to access and control the overflow. Skiers Right is the unplowed portion, skiers left is plowed. They left enough dust on crust to make for fast skijoring (who wants to break trail if they don't have to.)

You can see Ken's traveling rig--The Chariot-- with his daughter in it. She would climb in and out. This particular day she loved her new dog, who also loved her and Gracie forgot about me LOL.

Here's the malamute we picked up, Kilitoq or Tuk for short. Long legged, sturdily built with great paws. He's one of the most efficient pulelrs I've ever met. And he loves people. He's a dog everybody loves and because of his pulling ability they want him on their team. When he moves out, so do you.

You can see Sunday was a different day than Saturday. It doesn't get better than this: sunny, crisp air and fresh light powder on a fast base. Five people, nine dogs and a whole lot of fun. We ran into 2 small groups of people on Sunday and nobody on Saturday. Its a winter destination waiting to be discovered.

Dogs are allowed in Denali National Parkonly in the winter. Its one of the few national parks where this is allowed. Patrols were accomplished by dog when the park was first established to stop poaching. Mt. McKinley (Denali) National Parks first superintendent, Kid Karstens, hauled Charles Sheldon around by dog sled for his invaluable biological work and subsequent political work to establish the park. Two excellent books on early Denali (Mt. McKinley) National Park are "The Wilderness of Denali" by Charles Sheldon, and one of my favorite books of all time, "My Life of High Adventure" by Grant Pearson and Phillip Newell. In wintertime Denali, you have give right of way to dogsleds on the trail.


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