Boot Camp Bog

We attended the West Coast Mushing Boot Camp with Jamie Nelson and Ann Stead. These intense three-day clinics are intended to improve training techniques for mushers and build communications skills with their teams. Lightning (on right) and Nimbus (on left) comprised the smallest team in our group which included other Samoyed teams, Siberian Huskys, Alaskan Malamutes, Alaskan Huskys, and even a Great Dane!

Our Boot Camp was hosted by the Crystalwood Lodge near Klamath Falls, Oregon. Their dirt trail system made up our lovely training grounds. Several challenging sections included large meadows which the teams had to circumnavigate without benefit of a visible trail, stream crossings, and The Bog (shown here). The teams pulled through about 4,000 feet of muck over the three day event, which was a workout considering how sloppy and deep it was!

I was very proud of how well our kids did at Boot Camp. They did everything I asked of them and then some. We picked up invaluable advise and feedback, and working with other mushers was a special treat.

Nimbus Earns WSX Title

Nimbus (right) finishing up his WSX title
Nimbus completed the requirements for his Working Samoyed Excellent (WSX) title. This title is granted by the Samoyed Club of America to dogs that have earned over 2,000 points in various working categories. Nimbus specialized in: sled, scooter, and skijor racing; excursion sledding and scootering; and backpacking.

Nimbus (closest) is shown with Lightning on the 5-mile scooter run that finished his title. He is an incredibly hard worker and loves to run fast!

10,016 Feet In The Air

2007 Mount Massive Sled Dog Race in Colorado

Here is our team at the 2007 Mount Massive Sled Dog Race in Leadville, Colorado. This picture captured all 16 dog-feet in the air. I was very proud of all the dogs: Lightning (left lead), Moonrise (right lead), Canyon (left wheel), and Nimbus (right wheel). Lightning and Moonrise (who are siblings), celebrated their seventh birthday earlier in the year. The whole team worked as if the altitude and warm sun were of no importance. This was a fabulous race site on the highest golf course in North America. The course went out along a fairway, then wove back and forth through the forest before returning.

The two grey dogs on the far right are another team that left the starting line at the same time we did at this “dual start” race. We had never started this way before, and it went really well. As you can see, we beat the Alaskan Husky team out of the chute, and followed them closely for a mile or two.

This was one of the races that helped our team earn the SCA Top Sprint Racing award for the 2006-2007 season, as well as the 2007 OWS Sled Dog Racing award. Our dogs won these awards all three seasons they raced. Running this team was a dream come true!

2007 Sammies Too Race

2007 Sammies Too Sled Dog Race in Colorado
The 2007 Siberian Rendezvous, Sammies Too race took place above Glenwood Springs, Colorado. It was a race for pure-bred teams only. The course was nearly 10,000 feet high, and a bit steep. We all felt the thin air, but still the team ran hard and finished the race with a respectable time. Lightning (left lead) and Moonrise (right lead) were seven years old at this race. The rest of the team consisted of Nimbus (right wheel) and Canyon (left wheel).

2007 Chemult Sled Dog Race

2007 Chemult Sled Dog raceIn the 2007-2008 winter season, we borrowed two wonderful girls from Kay Hallberg of Wolf River Samoyeds. Moonrise (right wheel), an experienced sled dog, and Canyon (left wheel) added a great deal of power and enthusiasm to our team. The Chemult Sled Dog Race in Oregon was my first time racing a four-dog team, and it was just thrilling. The course was incredibly fun, and beautifully groomed. The dogs ran hard and strong. This race helped our team to win the SCA Top Sprint Team award for the season. I think our boys, Lightning (left lead) and Nimbus (right lead), enjoyed having the girls helping them out.

2004 Priest Lake Sled Dog Race

2004 Priest Lake Sled Dog Race in Idaho
Lightning (right lead) and Nimbus (left lead) are teaching Paul how fun it is to race with a dog sled. We had two fairly good runs at this race. Day 1 - Paul’s sled bounced off the side banks about 100 times (the course grooming device left a crown down the center), but the team still averaged 15 mph. We shocked the crowd by being the first team to the finish line. Day 2 - Paul only hit the sides 20 times so we averaged 15.9 mph. We took 4th Place overall out of ten teams. The best part was at the finish line where the crowd was amazed to see a two-dog team keeping right in time with all the 3-dog Alaskan Husky teams.

Shaver Lake Sled Dog Race

2004 Shaver Lake Sled Dog Race in California
The 2004 Shaver Lake Sled Dog Race was Paul’s first experience driving the team at a race. Temps were around 50F degrees, and the course was slushy, steep, and very rough. Experienced mushers said it was the toughest race course they had ever run. Lightning (right lead) and Nimbus (left lead) placed 2nd in the 3-Dog class. First place went to a well respected musher who usually wins several classes on the California circuit. Even though she ran a team of three Alaskan Huskys, our 2-dog Samoyed team beat her on the second day! Although this was not quite enough for us to overcome the edge she had from the first day, it was a very impressive showing. Paul and the boys earned tremendous respect from her and the other mushers.

2003 Priest Lake Sled Dog Race

2003 Priest Lake Sled Dog Race in Idaho
In 2003 our team traveled to Priest Lake, Idaho for our first race on snow. We entered the 3-Dog class, and ran it with our two boys, Lightning (right lead) and Nimbus (left lead). The other nine team ran with full three-dog teams. We finished the race in 3rd Place, averaging nearly 15 miles per hour throughout the course! This race helped our dogs to earn the SCA Top Sled Dog award for the 2002-2003 season.

Snow Nose

Nimbus enjoys his romps in fresh snow. This picture shows him tasting snow that stuck to his nose while free-running in our nine acre fenced yard. The dogs love to explore this spacious area populated by trees, rocks, and the occasional rabbit.

Showing at 2002 SCA National

Judge preparing to inspect Lightning
We showed our dogs at the 2002 SCA National Specialty in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Here is Lightning in the Best of Breed ring, just before being inspected by breeder-judge John Ronald. There were nearly 200 other Champions entered, each judged against the official Standard (a detailed description) for our breed. Only one dog or bitch is selected as Best in Specialty Show (BISS), a highly prized achievement. Lightning went on to win this top honor at the 2004 SCA National Specialty!

Nimbus (right) and his brother Draco (left) were in the puppy sweepstakes and regular dog show at the National. They both made the cut in sweeps, meaning they were considered for a placement. Nimbus also made the cut in the regular dog show. 

Both of these boys (together with Lightning and his brother Loki) represented their mother, Ch Wolf River's Fata Morgana ROMX, in the Brood Bitch class. At 11 years old, she had no trouble leading her well-conditioned sons around the ring. It was a very impressive lineup!

Working Events At SCA 2002

Backpacking with the Samoyed Club of America group hike

The 2002 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty took place in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Lots of fun working events were offered, alongside the conformation show. Lightning and Nimbus hiked with nearly 20 other Samoyeds (including their brothers Loki and Draco) on the Appalachian Trail. Our boys, seen on the right, hiked in their royal blue Wolf Packs Reflector dog packs. Their brothers are next to them wearing their purple Banzai dog packs.

Lightning pulling at the SCA Weight Pull event

The picture above shows Lightning pulling 14 times his body weight in the SCA Novice Weight Pull. He worked his heart out for me, and pulled the second highest weight that day, 757 pounds! He made 12 pulls in all, increasing by 50 pounds each time. All of his pulls were under 6 seconds, with the exception of his last which was under 7 seconds. Several people commented that Lightning really lives up to his name!

Nimbus pulling at the SCA Weight Pull event
Nimbus had fun at the Novice Weight Pull event too, hauling a total of 402 pounds. He had never done this before, and seemed to get a kick out of the applause and attention. We look forward to entering more weight pull events with him in the future!

Nimbus herding sheep
Nimbus participated many other activities at the National including sheep herding. This picture shows his introduction to sheep. He was very enthusiastic, and it was fun to watch him interact with them. 

Lightning also worked sheep, and completed his Junior Herding Dog (JHD) title at this event. He did a lovely job of moving three sheep around a field the size of a football field, and through several gates, in a controlled manner.

Cross-Country Trip

Lightning watching bison in Yellowstone National Park

We drove from Oregon to Pennsylvania to attend the 2002 Samoyed Club of America National Specialty. Round trip was almost 9,000 miles! During our adventure, we visited some of the most beautiful spots in America. One of our favorites was Yellowstone National Park. Here is Lightning surveying a herd of bison. Both of our dogs were fascinated by the gigantic animals.

One of the world's most famous geysers, Old Faithful, did not disappoint us! We got to watch it erupt twice during our visit. Nimbus is pictured on the left, Lightning on the right. 

Later, Lightning (left) and Nimbus (right) visited Mount Rushmore. We thought their likenesses would make a great addition to the monument alongside presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

After the National, we visited Matt and Cynthia Woodard who own Loki (litter-brother of Lightning) and Draco (litter-brother of Nimbus). We scootered with the four boys on some lovely Massachusetts trails. The trees were cloaked in autumn colors. One great run took place on Cape Cod. Pictured from left to right: Nimbus, Lightning, Draco, and Loki. Notice how the two teams are in-step with each other. This is something we often notice in an efficient sled dog team.

Backpacking Mountain Lakes Wilderness

Backpacking through Mountain Lakes Wilderness with Lightning and Nimbus
In the summer of 2002 we went on a great backpack trip into Mountain Lakes Wilderness in Oregon. We really enjoyed the rugged trail system into this ancient caldera. This region shares the geologic history of Carter Lake, but instead of forming a bowl, glaciers cut away several sides of this crater and left behind many small lakes.

Lightning (on the left) and Nimbus (on the right) carried 25% of their body weight in their Wolf Packs Reflector dog packs. Nimbus' load included one of his favorite stuffed toys, and both of the boys carried water, their food, treats, dog boots, first aid items, and other necessities. 

Backpacking with our Samoyeds in Mountain Lakes Wilderness
Once we hiked down the steep sides of the caldera, our route went past many beautiful lakes. This is Como Lake, which was very clear and peaceful. Pictured on the left are Linda with Lightning & Nimbus. In the middle is our friend Candice with Corby. On the right is Francisca with Reign. All of these beautiful dogs are related pure-bred Samoyeds.

Nimbus, Corby, and Reign earned points toward their Working Samoyed titles on this 14 mile trip. Lightning has already earned his Master Working Samoyed title, which is the most advanced working title offered by the Samoyed Club of America.

Nimbus Turns One Year Old

Nimbus went boating for his first birthday

Nimbus had his first birthday party on July 10, 2002. We wanted to do something that he would really enjoy. To celebrate we took a boat to Buck Island on Howard Prairie Lake in southern Oregon. Lightning (right) cooled off by biting at the bow-wake as we made our way across the lake. 

Nimbus and Lightning posing on a pair of stumps

Once at Buck Island, the dogs raced across the beaches and through the woods. We gave them a swimming lesson. Because Nimbus grew up during the cold winter months, this was his first experience in deep water. He was surprised when he could no longer touch the bottom, but enjoyed being cool during a record-breaking heat-wave. Afterward, Nimbus (left) and Lightning (right) hopped up on stumps and surveyed their realm.

Nimbus got a birthday cake. It was a hamburger that we shared with the boys when we returned to the marina. Everybody had a great time at Nimbus' first birthday party!

Nimbus is Best Puppy in Sweeps

Nimbus gaiting
At the Samoyed Club of San Diego Specialty, Nimbus was awarded Best Puppy in Sweepstakes! He won $9.00 which bought him a little purple horse toy made of rope.

Nimbus winning Best Puppy In Sweeps
Our judge was Alaskan Malamute breeder John Boughton. He was pleased to learn that he found a true working puppy among the entries when I mentioned that Nimbus has run in harness since he was five months old.

Nimbus' brother, Lightning, finished his American Championship this Specialty weekend with back-to-back 5 Point Majors. It was a weekend for us to cherish.

First Flight For Nimbus

Nimbus' first airplane flight
Nimbus went for his first airplane flight today. The little guy took to it well, looking out of the window and eating yummy treats. Here we are about 3,000 feet in the air. The shadow on Paul's face tells the story of how this picture was captured.

Hiking At Castle Crags

Puppy Nimbus (left) and Lightning (right) enjoy exploring Castle Crags State Park in Northern California. From this spot we admired the rugged granite spires of the crags, and could also see the sleek white shape of Mount Shasta to the North.

Later in the month, Nimbus earned his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) title, and made his debut appearance in the conformation dog show ring, receiving 1st Place in his class. He loved all of the attention and treats, and charmed everybody with his calm disposition and sweet nature.

Snowy Times For Nimbus

Nimbus learning to pull the sled beside Lightning
Here is Lightning (dog on right) teaching five-month old Nimbus (left) how to be a good sled dog. This was Nimbus' first official team hookup. I was very impressed by how the puppy held his line tight, ran straight, and worked hard beside his brother. We went one mile, with lots of stops and oodles of praise and hugs. Nimbus knew he was doing something very special, and Lightning loved working next to him. 

Besides me and the kicksled, the boys were hauling the brand new International Traildog Log, a journal which will be carried by adventurous dogs around the world. We were breaking it in on its inaugural voyage, after the original Traildog Baton was lost. This image graces its pages, as does a brief description of our fun morning.

Five-month old Nimbus enjoying the snow
Nimbus has been getting a first-class education about snow this winter, with local record snowfall for the month of December. Here he is laying on our deck "stairs", while the pile of snow behind him is over six feet high! Lightning and Nimbus love to play tag together in the deep snow. They keep each other entertained. One big bonus from having such a great snow pack is that both boys stay clean. We are not looking forward to the time when our snow melts and the dirt beneath is revealed.

Nimbus Learns To Pull

Nimbus is learning how to pull. Our four-month old puppy has been introduced to a special adjustable puppy harness. Now we are allowing him to drag lightweight objects such as this partly filled plastic jug. Doing so will get him used to a noisy thing following him.

Nimbus was altogether unphased by the rumbling milk jug. After turning his head to look at the object, he walked along with happy enthusiasm while being praised for doing so.

Nimbus Helps With The Scooter

Puppy Nimbus testing the scooter line

Four-month old Nimbus loves to help his older brother Lightning, who puts between 30-60 miles a month on his scooter. Nimbus is quickly learning about this sport, and has already decided that the lines do not taste very good.

Four-month old Nimbus learning to run with the team
Young puppies can learn a lot from a trained working dog. Nimbus runs free alongside Lightning during some of our scooter runs. We travel at the puppy's pace for about one quarter of a mile, rest, then return home. Lightning continues his workout while one of us entertains the puppy.

Best Working Award Again and Again

For the second year in a row, Lightning earned the Best Working award at the 2002 Williamette Valley Samoyed Fanciers Specialty! Our judge was Howard Dullnig, who also awarded Lightning's brother Nimbus Reserve Winner's Dog at this large Specialty show. He defeated many older dogs to earn this prestigious win. 

Also for the second year in a row, Lightning was the Best Working winner at the 2002 Samoyed Club of Washington State Specialty, under judge Estelle Cohen. This image was taken right after he won his class and shows him awaiting a treat from his loving owner-handler. Thank you Ron Manor for this nice image.

We are very proud of our boys, and even more so knowing that they are active workers with many trail miles behind (and still ahead of) them.

Nice Show Wins

On March 9, 2002, Lightning was awarded Winners Dog and Best of Winners for a 3 Point Major by breeder-judge Annella Cooper at the Centralia, Washington show.

Nimbus was chosen as the Reserve Winners Dog (to a major) out of the 6-9 Month Puppy class on the same day! It was very exciting.

This image shows Lightning waiting for the judge to inspect him during the Open Dog class. Thank you Ron Manor for this candid picture of our boy!

A well-attended sanctioned Fun Match was held on the previous day, so we entered both of our boys as a way to remind all of us what to do in the conformation ring. Lightning went Best in Match, and Nimbus was the Working Group 2 winner! The boys won lots of ribbons, some mugs, and a pretty stained glass window hanging.

Lightning Teaches Sledding

Lightning and puppy Nimbus sledding together
Lightning loves to pull his kicksled. Until this point, he has run solo. Now he has begun to share the fun with his five-month old brother Nimbus. Lightning is a great teacher, and Nimbus seems to love this sport already.

This image was taken on Christmas Eve when the boys ran a mile together near Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. Lightning went on for another five miles. Nimbus was led back to the car to be played with until the return of his mentor.

Shadow Fan

Pacific Crest/Wolf River six-dog team running on a fan-hitch.
This haunting photograph is titled “Shadow Fan”. It won the Top Professional Award at the 2009 SCA National Specialty. Our image graces the Samoyed Club of America’s website, exemplifying the working heritage, power, and joy of this nobel breed.

During the winter season of 2008-2009, we once again borrowed Lightning’s sister Moonrise and half-sister Canyon. These girls ran on our team two years prior when we were racing and won the Top Sprint Racing Award from the Samoyed Club of America. We also got to puppy-sit Moxie, one of Lightning’s sons, for a few weeks, which gave us six dogs to play with. We hooked them all up to the sled on a fan-hitch, an arrangement which allows all the dogs to run side-by-side instead of in pairs on a long gangline (as is traditional for our part of the world).

From left to right: Lightning, Stormy, Moonrise, Nimbus, Canyon, and Moxie. The ages of the dogs on this team range from six months to nine years. Moonrise and Canyon belong to Kay Hallberg of Wolf River Samoyeds, the breeder of our dogs. Moxie belongs to Amanda & Michael Berkeley.

Group Run

Free-running in our dog yard
Lightning's sister Moonrise (BISS Ch Wolf River's Moonrise WS) and half-sister Canyon (Seamist Canyon Of Wolf River WS) visited us during the winter 2008-2009 sledding season. They got to do a lot of free-running in the deep snow together. Canyon is leading followed by Lightning, Stormy, and Nimbus. At nine years old, Lightning still plays like a yearling in deep snow.

ISDRA Championship Team

Lightning & Nimbus at the Club Mud race

In the winter of 2002-2003, our team won the International Sled Dog Racing Association 2-Dog Gig racing class. This was the first time an all-Samoyed team ever won an ISDRA class. They did it again in the 2003-2004 season! Together, Lightning (right lead) and Nimbus (left lead) won many other sledding awards. These powerful boys won the Samoyed Club of America Top Sled Dog/Sprint Team award all three seasons they raced. They also won the Organization for the Working Samoyed Sled Dog and Skijor awards multiple times.

Pacific Crest Samoyeds ~ Blog