May 18, 2014

2014 Malamute Expedition

“Ordinary dogs have accomplished extraordinary things because they didn’t know they couldn’t

 2014 Alaskan Malamute Arctic Expedition

Team Malamute has returned from another successful Arctic expedition. The team was outstanding! Now, they are enjoying a well deserved rest in the shaded forest outside my log cabin window and howling to their hearts content.

I want to thank everyone for their generous support. Without you, Malamute Expedition would not have been possible! It was an amazing expedition. The team exhibited incredible power and stamina in some of the worst snow conditions that I have ever experienced in the Arctic. The snow supported cross country skis and snowshoes very well, but the dogs fell through the top layer of crusted snow at each step. It was a tough pull for them. There were many days that we averaged ½ mph because of the terrible snow conditions. Each year however, the team takes it to a new level and grows in spirit, passion, and strength. And they never have given up. They keep trudging along with smiles and wagging tails like cheerful warriors. The Arctic is their element, love, and home.

Also, I’d like to give thanks to the Good Lord for providing me strong health and the opportunity to explore his vast Arctic creation and share it with you.

 “A dog’s iron will and a person’s spirit combined is a formidable force. They become one team, one being, one cohesive unit working together to overcome what was believed to be impossible.”

 Team Malamute pioneered a route into the gut of the mighty Brooks Range where never in recorded history has a dogteam traveled. They cut trail in two to four feet deep snow across five river drainages, climbed, several steep mountain passes, endured record cold temperatures including -92F wind-chill, four blizzards,, and a rainstorm! We traveled unsupported-without food drops, snow-mobile trails, or any other means of assistance. The expedition was powered by 22 iron willed and specially trained dogs. Most of which were pure breed Alaskan malamutes.

 The Team has proved again that Alaskan malamutes are powerful freighters that have an inherited desire and love for pulling heavy loads. Also, the Malamute Expedition has set in stone that it is not impossible for a properly trained team to break trail while pulling heavily loaded freight sleds in snow two to four feet deep. The expedition highlights the significance of keeping alive the lost art of sled dog freighting, Arctic travel and Arctic exploration with Alaskan malamutes. When airplanes replaced the sled dog freighters during 1930’s the art of freighting and Arctic travel by dogteam has nearly died. It is an essential part of the Alaskan malamute history and the foundation of their legacy. Most importantly though, I hope the expedition helps draw attention to an increasing demand of many Alaskan malamute rescues that are in dire need of support.

“When both an animal and a person recognize that their survival depends on each other there is no longer a dominate role of either person or animal. They work and live together as one unit. Emotions are felt between them like they are one being. When one suffers or feels joy so does the other.”

The 2014 Expedition Team:

Farmer Luna

Pete Charlie

Penny Barney

Texas Mitch

Major Dino

Nikko Bucko

Sally Bear

Tip Junior

Howdy Ben

Red Petra

Champ Lupin

Here are a few statistics from the 2014 Expedition;

Approximate dogs’ weights 75lb-125lb

Duration of expedition: 67 days

Amount of dog food consumed – 2,584lbs

(1.75 per dog 38lb per day)

Temperatures ranges: +35F to -92F wind-chill

The team traveled in four days of -72F to -92F wind-chill temperatures.

14 days of -45F and colder

Four blizzards totaling 9 days

Snow depth: 2ft to 4ft

Harnessed and harnessed dogs combined: 1,300 times

Consumed approximately 335 cups of coffee.

“When a dog discovers that his strength has a limit. He will accept this limit as the peak of his strength. But if he does not know his limit, and he has never discovered it, then he will reach deep within his soul and spirit and exhibit feats of strength which is beyond human comprehension. And then, when 22 dogs are combined into a team, all of which do not know their limits of strength, the team can conquer what has been claimed to be impossible.”

 A few Career facts

Conducted the longest solo, unassisted, (unsupported) dog sled, Arctic expedition on record.

Within the past decade of expeditions:

– Spent 1,050 nights in a tent (almost three years total).

– Harnessed and unharnessed dogs 45,000 times.

– Worn out three pair of snowshoes

– Worn out seven pair of caribou fur mukluks

– Consumed approximately 5,500 cups of coffee

– Endured wind-chill temperatures as low as -92F to -100F

“The Arctic is an unforgiving place that commands deep respect. You cannot conquer her or plant flags into her soils and claim it as your own. She does not succumb to society’s restraints on freedom. She has her own spirit and governs the land how she chooses and rewards or punishes whom she wishes. And those who venture onto her frozen soils will either heed to her demands or become a frozen part of her landscape where the Arctic wolves mark.”

——-Joe Henderson——-