Questions & Answers Wk 01
Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!
The way we get them ready is that we start training them running in front of and pulling a loaded 4-wheeler (ATV machine) in the Fall - We start out with a few miles a day and we slowly work it up to more miles and longer days. Right now they have been training at 15-18 miles a day or 5-6 hours!
How do you get all the dogs ready?
Mrs Mottinger's Class
Yes, Polar Huskies can swim but most of them prefer to avoid water much above their belly level -- we do not encourage them to love water for the simple reason that we actually want them to avoid it if at all possible. Should the sled fall in with the dogs and the dogs can not get on safe ice to pull the sleds out - we have to cut the rope, or the main line that attaches the sled to the dogs and let the sled float or sink separate from dogs in order that the dogs can rescue onto the ice. Just writing about this give me the chills. Not to many other scenarios are as frightening to me.
What would you do if the ice breaks and all the dogs fell in the water? Can PH swim?
Mrs Mottinger's Class
Because we all have to travel together, we can not replace dogs or change them out if they get hurt. That is one of the things that makes being on an expedition different from being back at the kennel training, or even in a dog race. We can on very rare occasions maybe find someone to take care of an injured Polar Husky in one of the communities we pass through - and then have them bring the Polar Husky to us when they get better. But otherwise we either have to stop traveling, travel with the injured Polar Husky for example on the sled, or find a way to get them home. We treat the Polar Huskies no different than we would any other team member.
In 2006 while traveling across ANWR Timber's ankle bothered him a bit. So we put him up on top of the sled. At first he wasn't too sure about it but he trusted Mille. Then he quickly decided it was really fun and even barked orders at the dogs!!
Have any dog gotten hurt on the adventurs?
Julia we are so excited to see you and your class online! We aren't really sure as everything will be dependent on the condition of the ice. We've made note of your contact information though and when we have an idea of when we will be arriving at Pond Inlet we will be in-touch as we would love to meet all of you!
Hi! When are you scheduled to arrive in Pond Inlet?? It would be fantastic for my class to meet your team and your huskies!
The dogs who have retired (Aksel, Freja, Ginger, Lipton and Timber) are all enjoying their retirement and not going with us.
The puppies, the youngest being Chitwa at 1 year and 6 months, have been training and are all old enough and big enough to travel.
As-for the final decision of who will be traveling? Mille has a pretty good idea. But that could change at any time between now and when the Team departs. The health and safety of the Polar Huskies comes first so we will just have to wait and see!
How many of the Polar Huskies will be going along on the expedition this year? Are any of the puppies old enough to go along?
The dogs need to eat A LOT of food when they are training and on the trail. Typically 2-3 times more than the recommended daily amount!
They are fed at the end of the day as we set up camp. They don't eat "breakfast" because they can't run on full stomachs.
How much food does each dog eat daily?
Right this moment -when we are answering these questions, not when you are reading this- :-) we are hard at work at Expedition Basecamp working on the gear that we will be taking with to Nunavut.
What exactly are you doing at the moment?
Mille has this to say about cold:
I love cold weather and I do not like to be cold!!! So that means that I enjoy the fact that I am pretty good at figuring out how to stay warm. I love food - and getting a lot of calories into your body is the first step to stay warm in Arctic conditions. When your body burns the calories in the food - that is how your body produces heat. I have a high metabolism so I kick out a lot of heat so to speak. I have very excellent clothing and equipment, I know how to layer and I know when it is time to sprint around to get my blood flowing.. So, yes I love cold probably not least because it allows me to do what I do -- and I know how to work with it...
Do you like the cold?
With nothing on the sleds, they weigh about 200 lbs. You may not think that is a lot but consider the size. The sleds are 14 feet long!
Good thing we have the mighty Polar Huskies to help us move them (especially when they are fully-loaded)!
How much do the sleds weigh (without all the equipment on them)?