Saturday, January 30, 2010

A couple more SWC#1 Photos...

Here's our "#1" skijorer with her matched pair of GSP brothers.

and Kay running our "B" team...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Trails are in good shape for this weekend.

See the Sweetwater Challenge #1 photos below - hope to get some more to post later on.

The trails are in good shape - we got a few inches of snow this week - Rick was out grooming today. I ran a 5 dog team on the "green" west trails. Larry and Diane have been here all week running dogs. They are off to a wedding this weekend.

There's room at the lodge and in camp for anyone wishing to get on the runners and out into the wilderness this weekend!

Give a call (231-745-3614 or send an email:

Photos from SWC#1

Here's a few photos from Nowaks:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Happy Trails at Sweetwater Challenge #1

Well we got in one day of the Sweetwater Challenge #1 - the hard, fast trails of this past week softened up just enough for everyone to have a great run yesterday. Cudos to Janine from WI. for her 22.5 mile run yesterday with 3 dogs! We also had a wedding in our gazebo yesterday afternoon - a spectator from last year whose wish it was to get married at a sled dog event. Photos to follow soon - we had 3 different photographers at different points on the trail (and in the gazebo) - I'm expecting some great photos to post.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Photos from my run this a.m.

Rick went ahead of me this a.m. with the camera - he got two photos before the batteries went dead. Had a great run - the snow pack is in good shape, the brake is able to dig in and slow down the sled - not so hard packed that the brake just scrapes along the top. The leaves you see are on top of the snow, not spots where things are down to the ground - typical oak leaves - they drop all year long. The "frontal" shot shows the gangline in a pile on the ground - Rick stopped a little too sudden for the team and they got a little bunched up.

Sweetwater Challenge is a GO!

Greetings from the Manistee National Forest!

We have a well-packed trail and plenty of snow.

I spoke with the local road commission today and they are going to sand 32nd St. for us as it is a little icy (packed snow that has glazed over.) We will have sand on the hills on our private drive, as we did last year.

As of today, the trails are not icy, hard packed and fast, but not icy. The forecast looks like mid-30’s for the high on Saturday so that should soften up the packed snow to some degree. The packed trails are about 4-5 inches thick - there's about a foot of snow in the woods, along the trails - no bare spots.

Regarding trails, we have simplified the routing of the trails to reduce some of the technical areas – we are running some of the route in the opposite direction from last year. The mileages will be 9.5 to 22.5 with the option of adding the 4.5 mile east loop at the end of the run, before coming back into camp.

We recommend, in addition to the required and recommended equipment in the entry rules (available on the website) that you have a drag mat and carry a snub line. Depending on the temps, a hook may not hold everywhere on the trail but we do have LOTS of trees to tie off to. As one long time musher says, “he who relies solely on a snowhook will soon become a pedestrian.”

We have quite a nice selection of prizes for our events this year – Patty has been working hard on soliciting items from sponsors.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday before the SWC #1

What can I say - lots of snow - well packed trail. Running the 7 dog A team tomorrow.....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Good trails under foot....

Best wishes to all of our friends who are racing/pulling dogs this weekend at Lost Lake and Kalkaska. We stayed home to get some miles on our dogs and on our trails before the Sweetwater Challenge next weekend.

Here are some photos from this weekend. The trails are holding up really well - got off the trail on Sunday by 2 p.m., just as the sun came out. We should be fine for the weekend - we didn't get the sun and warm temps predicted earlier in the week. Looks like 30's for highs and 20's for lows for the next week with some possibility of snow showers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Photos - Just a long range weather update.

Here's today's long range forecast from :

The outlook for next week has changed a bit. I can also add that the models are in worse agreement on the details for next week than they were yesterday, but the general consensus is that things do not look as warm and the chances for rains do not look as great, especially the further north you go.
I am not yet ready to say that temps in the Northwoods next week will be remaining below freezing as one of the models is saying, but it looks like there could certainly be days next week when the Northwoods sees temps run below freezing. There are still come rain chances seen as we head through the middle to end of next week, but the best chances for the rains will occur the further south you go. It is looking like the Northwoods may end up being cold enough for the precip to fall as snow or as one of the models is indicating, the precip would stay south of I-80.
So I guess the bottom line for next week is it looks less threatening for snow loss in the northern Midwest. I am not yet ready to give the "all clear" yet, but things look more encouraging than they did the past several days.

This weather site is the most accurate I've found over the years. John Dee is a retired weatherman who lives up in the Copper Country of the U.P. He looks at many different radars around the country to come up with his forecasts. He's an avid snowmobiler.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another gorgeous weekend of mushing...

Kay came up this Saturday for two days of mushing here at Last Chance - she hasn't been on sled in a few years so we went out with small teams.

The trails are in perfect shape, firm, hookable, but not too fast.

I missed being at Tahquemanon with all of our mushing friends, especially our MiDD friends who were running it for the first time. I didn't miss the drive though :-) It's nice to have 25 miles of trail in your back yard!

We have a great base for the Sweetwater Challenge event in two weeks. We'll see what Mother Nature throws our way between now and then.

A special thanks to Mike Monarch for the extra fully equipped Hall sled. It's worked out great as a loaner sled for our friends who want to run dogs but don't have all of the equipment themselves.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It's a gorgeous day in the woods today. These are photos from the "east trail." It's an approximately 5 mile loop, depending on where you pick up the trail from our system of trails on private land. This is all Federal land with no access from other trails. You can sometimes hear the snowmobile trail farther east but you can't see them or vice versa.

This loop goes by several wetland areas, one is in the second photo, to the left of the trail. The trail follows alongside the wetlands for great views of the surrounding hills and forest.

Off to run a second a team....