2015 Alaska Arctic Expedition Stats

2015 Alaskan Malamute Arctic Expedition
“Ordinary dogs have accomplished extraordinary things because they didn’t know they couldn’t”

The 2015 Malamute expedition has returned from another successful expedition from an unprecedented winter of the deepest snow ever recorded in Alaska’s Arctic. The average snow depth was one meter deep. However there were many areas that the snow was much deeper. The team did an outstanding job! Now, they are enjoying a well deserved rest in the shaded forest lying comfortably on beds of straw outside my log cabin window.

“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.”

-Joe Henderson-

“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.”

-Joe Henderson-
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. It was a tough pull for the team but they did an outstanding job.
There were many days that we averaged ½ mph and on a good day we averaged 1mph. Each year however, the team takes it to a new level and grows in spirit, passion, and strength. They never give up. The team keeps 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.

“Every member has his or her place in the team. Some dogs are small, maybe too small at times, and some are too large for certain types snow conditions but they are part of the team that is strategically woven together to create an impenetrable strong cohesive unit. No one is removed from the team for being too large, small, fast or too slow. If we are patient they will find their niche’. But if we treat them like gears of a machine we overlook their talents. Its up to us to find their strength and nourish it. And with patience it will grow.”

-Joe Henderson-
Team Malamute pioneered a route into the gut of the mighty Brooks Range where never in recorded history has a dogteam traveled. They cut new trail in one meter deep snow, endured -74F wind-chill, 15 blizzards days including two blizzards with hurricane force winds 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 a properly trained team can cut trail while pulling heavily loaded freight sleds in snow three 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 which 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.” -Joe Henderson-

The 2015 Expedition Team:

Farmer Luna
Pete TeeKay
Penny Barney
Bunny Mitch
Major Dino
Nikko Roxy
Sally Bear
Tip Junior
Smokey Ben
Red Petra
Champ Lupin

“The strength of a malamute is in his heart and soul. This untapped strength will only show itself if there is a mutual bond of trust between the person and the dog. It’s a trust that cannot be broken, providing its derived from the root of goodwill and compassion. When the dog believes that his strength will not be taken advantage of he will offer it willingly and without restraints. But if he senses otherwise, he will hold-back in a self preserving manner and will only give you half his strength.”
-Joe Henderson-

Here are a few statistics from the 2015 Expedition;
Approximate dogs’ weights 75lb-125lb
Duration of expedition: 65 days
Amount of dog food consumed -2,500lb
(1.75 per dog 38lb per day)
Temperatures ranges: +44F to -71F wind-chill
19 days of -40F and colder
11 blizzards totaling 15 days
Snow depth: 2.5ft to 4ft
Harnessed and harnessed dogs combined: 1,300 times
Consumed approximately 330 cups of coffee.

“There are three steps in training a working dog. First, forget about a quick and easy training formula. Second, build a bond of trust with him. Third, do not ever break that bond of trust by overworking him.” -Joe Henderson-
A few Career facts
Conducted the longest solo, unassisted, (unsupported) dog sled, Arctic expedition on record.

Within the past decade of expeditions:

– Spent 1,100 nights in a tent ( three years total).
– Harnessed and unharnessed dogs 46,000 times.
– Worn out three pair of snowshoes
– Worn out eight pair of caribou fur mukluks
– Endured coldest wind-chill temperatures in Alaska’s history; -92F to -100F

“The Trail lies deep and narrow in the powdery snow. From a distance it looks like a lazy line drawn across the white. It twists and turns around willow brush, across wide sweeping valleys and over gentle hills until it disappears on the horizon. It’s a bitter sweet Trail that is cussed and cursed, blessed and cherished. It’s a lone trail that is never seen by others. Mostly though, it’s a silent Trail except for the crackling of my breath in the cold crisp air and the crunching snow under my snowshoes as I walk in rhythm to my heartbeat. But its not just an ordinary Trail. It’s the signature on the landscape of an Arctic traveler and a sled dog team of malamutes doing what they were born to do.”