February 11, 2012

The 2012 Arctic Expedition is on!


It was a heck of a rough start and I don’t mean on the trail with the team. It was a real challenge this year just to get out of town. Between vehicle issues and blizzard conditions bringing traffic to a halt on the Haul Road, the commencement of the expedition was delayed a bit. Many thanks to Merrill Powers and his son who brought up the sleds and supplies a day behind Joe and the team and ended up spending the night stuck in a snow drift along with about 50 other trucks. That dang Haul Road…you never know what you’re going to get. And when someone is doing something so nice for you and they end up having trouble, it makes me and Joe and the dogs all feel like this…


Aside from finally catching the awful cold the Little Explorer and I were battling right before he left, Joe is doing very well. The weather has been phenomenal, with highs ranging from 10 to 20 degrees and lows of -5 to 10 above at night. Snow conditions are slick given the warm temperatures but it’s great for skiing.

The first day of dog sled travel for Joe and the team is always insane because the dogs are so amped to be out there working. They act like a mob of children who have ingested too much sugar for their own good. Most of the dogs hold pretty still to get in harness, especially the veteran expedition mals who mostly just tremble and whine with excitement. But sometimes you get a rookie who’s feeding off all the commotion and can’t seem to contain their hysteria. This was the case with Howdy a few years ago on his first expedition. I remember the first time I watched Joe put a harness on him. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was wrangling a tornado. Thank goodness it didn’t take Howdy long to learn how to hold still and be cooperative like the others. It didn’t sound like any of this year’s rookies had that problem.



It takes some time at the beginning of each expedition season (and sometimes at the beginning of each day) to figure out who will run next to each other. Joe started out with Farmer, Dino, and Bear in lead. Apparently Farmer and Dino weren’t too wild about the idea of running next to each other. Knowing those two pretty-boys they were probably arguing about who has the handsomest red coat. *eye roll*  They grumbled and growled and snarled, but once Joe gave the command to go they redirected their focus on pulling and put the battle of the egos on hold. So, it looks like they might be able to tolerate each other after all.





On the home front, the Little Explorer and I are settling into our new routine. We’ve been busy, busy, busy…but all is well. And now that I’ve completed the switch from the old domain to this new one, I hope to have more time to update you all on the expedition.  We’d love to continue sharing our updates with you here!


  • Karen D.

    Is it possible to come see the kennel someday? I’m a malamute fan – had my girl Ayla for 14 years & miss her so. Just purchased your new book! Live in Fairbanks. Thanks.

    • alaskanarcticexpeditions

      Hi, Karen. Hope you enjoy the book. Maybe you can come out for a kennel visit when Joe and the team get back from the slope. :) -Andrea

  • http://malamute-santo.livejournal.com/ Malamute_santo

    Hi! Great blog! Greetings from cold Moscow and my malamute Santo! Its about -30C here =)
    Good luck in your expedition!

    • alaskanarcticexpeditions

      Thank you! Please give Santo a belly rub for us! -Andrea

  • http://www.thzkennels.com Tim McElravy


  • Victoria

    My Prayers Are with your family, have fun. I was wondering If I might be able to get a puppy from you.

  • Douglas Lake

    My wife is sure that Joe went to Bloomfield elem. school in Jackson. She feels that any one of substance went there.
    We live in Mi. around traverse City and think that it is cold when it reaches the single digits. I can’t imagine 60 or more below.
    Stay warm,
    Doug Lake

    • alaskanarcticexpeditions

      Hey Doug. Next time Joe calls in with the satellite phone I’ll have to ask him. I’m not sure which elementary school(s) he went to. Was your wife his classmate? What’s her name?

      He just texted me with his sat phone and said it was 20mph wind with -35F temp, which means the temperature with wind chill was -68F today!! Yikes! It’s about 5 above here in Fairbanks…I feel lucky!! -Andrea