UKTOUSA and The Valley Snow Dogz

TRADITIONAL ALASKAN HUSKIES


At Valley Snow Dogz, we offer Fall Wheeled Sled Dog Rides, along with Winter Sled Tours in Waterville Valley Resort, Thornton, On Squam Lake and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Servicing special events at Loon Mtn Resort. Available for groups, gatherings, events, celebrations or simply for the love of it!

An authentic, memorable sled dog experience based right in the heart of The White Mountains. Please call 603-340-2390 for more information. Valley Snow Dogz....Creating memories for families, groups and anyone who has a burning desire to experience a sled dog adventure

A bucket list dog sledding adventure here in New Hampshire !

Valley Snow Dogz CALL 603-340-2390
www.ValleySnowDogz.com

Live Free And MUSH!

Live Free And MUSH!
Valley Snow Dogz Kidz Event at Loon Mountain Resort

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Morning Of The Annual Christmas Mush

It was a glorious sunrise. With just enough snow to catch a run at Dorchester, a few mushers and their teams set out for a Christmas mush. Most of us had some sort of Christmas costume or accessory, some sleds were decorated too and many of the dogs were wearing bandanas. The gated entrance was closed so we had to all squeeze into a small staging area rather than being able to hook up from our dog trucks. With close to 60 dogs all shoulder to shoulder, we had a very successful hook-up! My dogs had not had chance to run with many other teams so far this season, so the level of excitement was high as you will see from the following photos.....

WASHAKIE.... Or "BOB" to his friends....


He had something to howl about!

Dogs Dressed Up With Red Bandanas


Daisy takes a minute to look at the camera

Hooking Up At The Gate


It was amazing to see just how many dogs and teams we squeezed into this small staging area.

Group Photo of Christmas Mushers

Left to right...

'Rosie' (okay, so she's a sled dog)
Kelly, Me, Jaye, Gail,
'Cookqiz'......Kim, Corina and Scott
We're missing Kathy and friends who were in the process of getting their gear together.

Rosie And Yahboo Leaping With Excitement!!


Courtesy of Kim and Kelly Berg... a great shot of my two girlie leaders showing just how excited they were to mush with their furry friends. I can hardly believe the the pair of them.

Jaye's Team is First to Go.... Well, Almost!


Almost Ready To Go!

Lilly takes a moment to make friends with one of Gail's Siberians. Lilly is just the 'coolest' dog. Nothing ever bothers her, she is always just 'the same' no matter what's going on.

All Too Familiar Side of Lilly and Bobby


Couldn't resist this shot!

Chasing Kim and Kelly


On the trail and following teams on the single track.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Winter Is Here!!


Running By Day And By Moonlight??


Arriving At Camp

Getting dogs out of their truck boxes and giving them a snack and some water before I unload the truck and then get dogs ready for our first run on snow, okay so it's with the ATV, still...... it will be fun!

Sunrise At Camp

I never ever get tired of this view. It is always so cleansing, so spiritual and forever memorable.

Cookqiz (aka Ginger Monkey Face)




We Love Life At Camp !!!

The smile on Rosie's face says it all. First snow, lots of twisty turns, cool temperatures..... life is good!

Tumac getting Harnessed Up For His First Run!

He's such a beauty, a sweet boy with some great legs! he was ready for his first run in harness and eager to get to the gangline.

Hana and Tumac's First Run In Harness

They had been watching and watching and viewing the teams coming in and out of camp and I know they so wanted to see what 'it' was all about. So, I couldn't resist..... I harnessed them up and off we went for an easy 1/2 mile run. A fun loop with a few turns. I stopped here to take a photo and a short video of the pups running, what you can hear is Hana screaming to go! But you can see from their body language that they were thrilled to be with the big dogs!

Bush Whacking!

Beautiful day, first snow at camp early December. All the trees were laden with snow and hanging low over the narrow trail. This was a new section of trail for us so we were kind of bush whacking a bit.

Merry-Go-Round At Camp

I've been trying to replicate being at a checkpoint and having the dogs watch me walk around and do chores as they snack and have a drink. So the plan was to do back-too-back runs at camp, using camp as a checkpoint and leaving dogs harnessed and on the gangline.

As you can see, Yahboo is busy drinking out of Rosie's bowl, naughty doggie!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bringing Santa Into Town Square, Waterville Valley NH

I don't typically do anything public with my dogs other than social mushing and racing, but this event fell into my lap on a couple of occasions over the last several years and so I decided to embrace it and I'm so glad I did, as it was a wonderful charity fund raiser. The event planners had asked me to participate in selecting a charity for the event. Through my friend Gail Casonguay, I discovered the Marshall Family and suggested them as the charitable recipients. The event planners (Lori Bowen and April Smith) embraced the Marshall Family (who are adorable) and so, the Santa run was scheduled for Saturday November 28th at 3:30pm.

Despite the freezing frigid, cold wind, there was quite a crowd. The atmosphere was excellent and the amount of support from local police officers and event people, was just excellent. There were many onlookers, people with dogs and small children as we were dressing the ATV and harnessing the dogs over at the Rec Center.

Many thanks goes to Richard who has been out with me and the dogs all season long and was so willing to dress up as an elf and wear green tights. Also many thanks to Peg and Peter Hendel who were amazing and such wonderful helpers. They were with us from start to finish. Another thank you goes to Jaye Foucher who was a familiar face in the crowd and a spontaneous helper. As we pulled in with Santa, Jaye jumped in to assist right at a critical moment when the dogs were pulling hard and I needed another body on the ATV so that I could hug Santa good-bye as I dropped him off by the gazebo. Jaye then took my camera and was able to take a bunch of photos for me and helped get the team safely to the truck. Great timing Jaye ! Peg and Richard were upfront with my leaders but I was unable to see them because of the crowds!

The dogs were coming off from two days of rest so they were really rested up. We had quite a bit of speed on the blacktop and into a left hand turn which lead to a dirt trail. Santa held on and we literally flew onto the dirt trail with a great view of Town Square, Corcoran's pond and the crowd infront of us. The cheering was so loud. The dogs were enjoying the excitement and despite the brakes being full on, we were moving fast over the sand on the beach, then over the loose stone and onto the bridge. The cheering continued and the crowd was now all around us. I was grateful at this point for the Can-am experience as the dogs have to go down a tunnel of onlookers all calling out at you as you mush by the crowd. Santa looked great, I had a full elf costume on, the ATV was decorated in Christmas ribbons and bows and the dogs all had red bandanas on.

When I finally stopped the team, I could barely see the dogs. There was a lot to pay attention to... getting Santa safely off the ATV, saying our good-byes and pleasing the crowd with photo opportunities, letting the crowd love the dogs and take photos and listen to the police officers who were wanting to move us through the crowd. They did an excellent job and everyone was simply terrific. Dogs remained focussed and calm and really, apart from it all going by so quickly.... it was a blast. We were very grateful to be part of this event and to have the opportunity to raise funds for a good cause and a wonderful family.

Thank you to everyone who helped and who supported the event and of course the biggest thanks goes to my dogs. In lead I had Yahboo and Rosie, then in point I had Daisy and Cookqiz, team dogs were Tonka, Nellie and Zsa Zsa with Tiger-Lilly and Bobby at wheel.

One last word, much to my surprise were the number of people from our past who were there to reconnect with us and to witness our love of the dogs and see the dogs in all their glory. Three sets of people who we knew from years ago, came up to us and asked if we had Sasquatch with us. It brought a smile to my face and an ache to my heart. He made an impact on all who knew him and after all this time, his spirit lives on.

Fixing The Trailer Before We Can Leave!


It's been a season of broken equipment. The trailer broke the night before on our way to running dogs. Richard worked hard all morning to fix it, finsihing literally 20 minutes before we were due to leave for Waterville Valley.

Peg and Richard Have Fun Decorating The ATV


Peg was so gracious to help, she had just returned from a very long trip and no doubt, still trying to orient herself with being back hom from China and Instanbul. She was a gem and super good with the dogs.

Richard Struggles With His Elf Tights


The tights were supposed to be extra large, he struggles to get his muscular legs and butt into his tights. After lots of tugging and face pulling, he finally manages it. As you can well imagine, the onlookers enjoyed watching the struggle.

Dressed For The Santa Run Charity Event


The sign on the front of the decorated ATV says "Be Positive". When Cameron Marshall was diagnosed with Leukemia and given his blood type, he was told it was B positive to which he told his parents that it would now be his 'motto'. So in honor of his strength and positive attitude, we made sure that we had a sign on the ATV that did indeed say
"BE POSITIVE"
(how large do I look !!)

Thank Goodness There Was No Snow On The Road


Police officers wait to assist the team.

Heading Towards Town Square In Waterville Valley NH

A freezing cold day with an incredible sky infront of us which kept changing color throughout the afternoon. We just came off Rte 49 at quite a clip, there was a fairly sharp left hand turn coming off Rte 49 onto a dirt trail, which we took on two wheels. Santa was enjoying the thrill ride and so was I. The team was on fire and clearly, enjoying the whole atmosphere. We had a superb police escourt, the officers were wonderful. A couple of the officers were familiar to me and so, it was nice for them to experience the dogs, especially Dave, who had previously helped me with a flat tire (thanks Dave!)

The Crowds Close In

I just dropped off Santa and headed to the truck. It was so windy and cold. I had layers on under the elf costume so I look rather well endowed in this photo :0) It was a super charity event and I truly enjoyed meeting the Marshall Family and there wonderful kids, especially Cameron.

Finding Our Way Through The Crowd

Yahboo and Rosie did a fine job leading the team through the tunnel of people and dealing with all the attention, the cheering, and miscellaneous distractions such as dogs on leashes, small kids, fluffy toys and lots of candy.





Great Shot Of The Dogs Pulling Hard


Brakes on, two of us on the ATV and they are just pulling so hard. After two days of rest, this short run was sure to be a thrill ride, they had immense power today, especially on Rte 49 until we hit the dirt trail.

Peg Jumps On The ATV With Me


Great shot of Tiger-Lilly and Bobby at wheel

Heading Back To The Truck


Little did we know that just moments after this shot, the crowd abandoned Santa and enveloped the truck and the dogs. Literally scores of people with children, dogs and sticky candy. Dogs were hugged, squeezed, kissed, photographed and simply adored. I was grateful for the extra help as it took several of us to stay with the dogs, talk to the crowd and ensure that everyone left satisfied and that the dogs did not get intimidated by the volume of attention.
I couldn't have been more proud of my cute team, they handled the whole event with such grace and good behavior. Lots of little children had their photos taken with their cheeks pinned up against Tonka and Zsa Zsa, Bobby was a hit as he enjoyed tooling around with everyone and hugging them with his strong legs, Lilly - aka the 'heart breaker' (as named by admirers at the Greenville 30 race) was a star and often found laying in the lap of a child or two with big googly eyes as the little girls would say her name and kiss her head. There was so much going on, so many questions to answer, so many photos being taken that I couldn't get the camera out and take as many photos as I would have liked. I was appreciative that Jaye was on hand to help and take photos.

Great Job Yahboo and Rosie!


One More Glimpse Of Richard In Tights


Friday, November 27, 2009

A Lovely Thanksgiving Day

Okay, so the 'loo' on wheels has nothing to do with mushing, but as my equipment is slowly deteriorating, I'm wondering if this is how I might end up running dogs !!!! As I get older... hey, it might not be such a bad idea!

I spent most of the day cooking. A nice roast chicken with potatoes and veggies for me and Richard, along with some butternut squash and cinnamon buns for desert. Then I cooked up some sweet potato and chicken for Tisha, in the crockpot and meanwhile, there was a pot of chicken stew and rice on the boil for the rest of the dogs. After we all feasted on some good home cooking, we loaded up the dogs and set off for a long, evening run with the ATV.

It was one of those thick pea-soup nights. I knew it was going to be so foggy at Hill so I was glad hubby was with me. As we set off I heard a 'clunk', not a sound I had heard before. I pulled over and Richard checked the truck and trailer and couldn't see anything unusual. Off we went but still, I knew I heard something irregular. When we got to Hill, I walked to the back of the truck and saw that the arm of the trailer, nearest the trailer bed, was sinking in a 'v' shape. The ATV was pointing nose down to the ground instead of being parallel to the ground. When we looked, the arm was almost detached from the trailer bed! All that really held it together was the wiring for the lights. We were lucky to make it to Hill without losing the trailer and ATV.

Pea soup was indeed the way it was out there. Probably the most fog I've seen in a long time. Whatleigh and I used to freak out in it last season, barely knowing where we were some of the time as we bush-wacked the fields and other times, laughing when we could see each other but we would only be a few feet apart.

After running the dogs, Richard then managed to bungee and chain the bed of the trailer to the arm and then to the truck so that we could make the trip home. I now have a bungeed ATV (holding the steering in place) and a bungeed trailer!!!!!

Despite these humble circumstances, running dogs continues and somehow, we manage to just simply just make it work!

Life After Poop!

For those of you concerned about how Richard is doing, he is doing fine. He has recovered from being showered in dog poop, moose poop and deer poop and has since come to terms that this sport of ours lends itself to 'one' being extremely dirty during the Fall training months... though we all know that poop is really a big part of what we handle (so to speak) on a daily basis and not something we can get away from!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poop, Poop and more Poop!

I should have had my camera with me, but then again, maybe it's just as well that I didn't. Who needs to see pictures of poop! We headed north for a few days of running dogs and just as we set off down the road, Moose started to pant a little. He was in the back of the cab on Papa's old blanket that comes everywhere with me. Moose being almost 13 yeas old, is at that stage when he can't always control when he needs to poop. Sure enough, he pooped laying down. Within a second of his deposit make itself present (not a pleasant odor)... Richard lept in the air and grabbed Moose's poop with his hand. Swung his hand in the air, past my head (I was driving at the time) and quickly found a plastic bag in the truck to drop the poop into. Now, not only did he have poop all over his hand, but as he swung his arm over my head, he swiped his poop covered hand onto the felted roof of the cab. I couldn't figure out what on earth possessed him to pick Moose's poop up in the first place!! When I asked him, he said he didn't want Moose to roll onto it and smear it all over him and the blanket and then we'd have a real mess. I made a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts so that Richard could wash his hand, but first, he had to get into Dunkin Donuts with poop all over his hand....

Well so it continued for Richard. The following day we were on a run with the dogs, we were on a bend that we had done several times that day, but I had switched leaders. Yahboo was now in swing. I guess when she had been in lead, she remained focussed on the job at hand and missed the pile of moose (not my canine Moose from the paragraph above) guts/intestine right on the trail. Well, I guess being out of lead allowed her to look elsewhere and in a split second, she dived into the intestines which were full and I mean FULL of moose poop. She tore a huge section of the intestines off and as it swung in the air.... a few of the dogs, mainly Daisy, caught it. They all ate a good chunk of it. Meanwhile, as this was happening, Richard flew off the ATV and as he dived on the girls to pull the yucky stuff out of their mouths, he got covered in moose poop.. all over his hands, his jacket .... GREAT, we still had quite a few miles by dog team before he could liberate himself of his jacket and wash his hands. On we went. Cookqiz was in lead with Rosie, doing a fine job. Up the hill we went.... the dogs started to lope and I caught Bobby sniffing the air. "Oh No" I thought to myself "what now?" Just as I had that thought, Cookqiz came across a large pile of Deer poop and took a good mouthful as did her friends behind her. Goodness, how much animal poop can these dogs possible want to eat !!!! Richard lept forward to nudge the team away and as he did, some poop flew up at him and yes, once again, he was splattered with poop. He spent 24 hrs solid, smelling of poop.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Everything Blue

'
'Everything Blue'
The color of the sky, the depth of an ocean
Sadness inside, a grieving emotion
A bridesmaid dress, the icing on a cake
Feather off a bird, the ripple on a lake
A tuneful note, a heart warming monologue
Everything Blue,we miss you blue dog



Dedicated to Blue Dog who recently crossed the rainbow bridge, very unexpectedly. Blue Lived with my best friend Whatleigh from Barking Brook.....he was a shared gift between us as he was very dear to me too and he knew we were close friends and so, he wanted in too and stole my heart. He would welcome me with such love and passion as if he were a part of Uktousa, well... he was, very much so.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trying To Capture A Comparison In Height

..... between Rosie, Cookqiz and Hana. Hana who is now 4 months old has some legs on her. Recently weighing in at 34lb, I really think she is heavier as she wasn't quite still on the scale and I was holding her. I bet she is more like 36lb plus. As you can see, she is just a bit shorter than the other two girls, around 23 1/2 inches at the shoulders.

The Rear View

Interesting shot of two of my Hedund Girls. Rosie to the left and Cookqiz to the right. Great way to see how similar they are. Cookqiz is just a bit taller and a little more robust, she is currently out of coat. They were busy looking down the driveway as Richard was pulling in.

Husband In Training

Without any real conversation or planning, Richard has stepped up to co-musher this season and hasn't missed a single training run, much to the delight of the dogs who simply love having 'daddy' (aka Richard) onboard. Inspired by our good friends Kim and Kelly Berg, we have practiced a slick routine of unloading and getting dogs harnessed and on the gangline in pretty decent fashion with both of us responsible for various tasks. Having been used to doing everything myself for many years, I've settled quite well into having hubby come along and join in.

Last winter we enjoyed quite a number of runs together, I would hook up a tandem sled behind mine and off we would go on our adventures. It was lovely, we would stop along the way for tea and a snack while the dogs had a rest and something to eat and drink to. I guess it started then, we just got into a routine and it has spilled into this Fall. It's been really nice to share my thoughts and running goals with Richard and to get his feedback.

The other evening we had a fun race with Kim and Kelly.... the race wasn't on the trail, instead, it was at hook-up. With a few less dogs than Kim and Kelly, the goal was to not get left behind, but instead, see how swift we were at hooking up in record time and equal to the girls... so much fun! Richard was yelling " come on, come on..... we're ahead ".... we laughed so much. Once on the trail, each time we would go up and down a bit of an dip or round a twisty bend, Richard would raise his arms in the air as if he were on a roller coaster. Took me a while to figure out why he kept raising his arms in the air!

Anyway, it's wonderful to hear him ask what time we are training each day and that he wilingly helps in getting gear together for each run. Who knows, perhaps our dream of us both running and racing a team each will eventually come true.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Something To Howl About

Yay!!! We're at camp
. Oh, I so love "camp life". I love focussing on us, the dogs, eating and sleeping. No other worries or concerns, no schedule or agenda........ it's just all about running dogs and being with Richard. It truly doesn't get any better. I just hope one day, I can look forward to more regular camp outings.... you know, toasty warm woodstove, the smell of fresh cinnamon buns in the oven, classical music playing, lots of blankets and quilts to snuggle in, a few good books laying around to browse through. Heavenly.

Tisha Is Back On The Team!

Hardly able to believe she is in harness after being so sick this summer. Still a few pounds lighter than her normal weight but she looks great and is just as crazy as ever. She is one tough little Malamute.

Testing What Cookqiz Really Knows....

I switched the run around, taking a number of new turns to see if she would initiate the turns and boy did she ever. As always, hungry to learn, anxious to take commands, eager to please and focused on the trail. Cookqiz was nicely paired up with Rosie for a really fun and exciting run.

Our Favorite Left Hand Turn At Camp

Well, we ran alonside a Buck on this trail last year, it's a narrow, twisty turn trail so seeing a Buck next to us for a few minutes was a little daunting. Ever since then, the dogs accelerate into this turn...... so much fun!

Early Morning Run At Camp


WASHAKIE.... Or "BOB" to his friends....


He's just so darn adorable. His winter coat is coming in thick, elegantly outlining his gorgeous face. What a soft cutie-pie he is. Just love him!

BIFFA... Retired And So Beautiful


Sunday, October 18, 2009

HANA AND ROSIE

A very tight bond here. Rosie is a remarkable animal. Words cannot describe her devotion to her kennel mates and to me. We are often 'one and the same', we think at the same time when on the trail. With her best friend Yahboo by her side and Yahboo's devotion to me, my lead girls and leaders in training are simply a gift. I have no doubt that Hana will be a leader too. She spends much of her time with Yahboo and Rosie and I cannot wait for my two lead girls to show Hana what mushing is all about.....

TUMAC aged 3 1/2 months

A great photo that truly shows his peaceful nature. He is a loving, loving, gentle soul who is wise and responsive and yet, the biggest baby ever. Already sits for his food by the chainlink gate as I approach. He learns very quickly with a quiet and humble demeanor.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Season So Far

Winter has come a little early. Mornings are frigid and the early evenings are cold too. Training is under way and has been since the 1st September. Dogs are really doing good this season with a quick return to fitness and a desire to be on the trail as much as possible. Their keeness being spiked by the colder than normal days and the fact that 'daddy' seems to want to come along too.

Uktousa sees the retirement of two dogs this season leaving us with 11 dogs in harness, 3 retirees and 2 puppies in waiting..... waiting to be sled dogs. For now, they remain bed dogs.... that's right, they spend every night in bed with me (us). The perfect way to raise happy, lovable dogs :0)

Most of our training is done at night, we are so used to it now that it feels almost more normal than running during the day. It's just a little more costly as I'm going through so many batteries.
Watching the sun set and catching the last glimmer of light on brightly colored leaves has just been magical. There is never a run that I don't think to myself how lucky I am to have this activity in my life and the companionship of such devoted and remarkable animals.

I don't know what we will achieve in terms of race goals this season. The economy is having an affect on us and so, emphasis is on adventure for now, but we have a very serious and committed approach to our training in keeping with what might have been our race goals..... just incase things change for us and we can indeed consider a couple of races and share the trails with our friends for some fun competition along the way.

As we are ontop of our goals so far despite my personal setback of 'flu', I know the dogs will be ready for some longer distances this winter of over 50 miles or so, whether just for our own enjoyment or in preparation for a designated race. Either way, you can bet we will simply enjoy our time together, everything else will be a bonus!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Diva Has Retired From Being A sled Dog


I love this dog. She has blessed my life with utter devotion and incredible dedication in her role as lead dog and mamma to her 3 pups. She is and always will be 'outstanding'. After running her this season, it was clear that her head and heart would continue to guide her down the trail, but her body was clearly not able to, at least... not in harness. Still in fabulous shape, athletic, agile and healthy..... it is her time to savor her good health at her tender age of 12 and simply enjoy many adventurous hikes with me and Richard and become very spoiled and super cherrished. Here is Diva and Richard stepping out as we enjoy a Fall foliage hike together with lots of cuddles along the way.

Beautiful Fall Foliage


It was a fun walk with Diva Mamma and a great opportunity to enjoy taking some photos of the beautiful, Fall colors.

Hana and Rosie Sharing Toys

Hana and Rosie love to share Toys and play together, however, Rosie really thinks that Hana and Tumac are her babies and is often found trying to nurse them. She also takes the toys afterwards, and places them under her belly and makes sweet, nurturing noises as if to comfort her 'plastic' babies. She really believes she is a 'mommy'.