Nigel's Choice Front and back cover.

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Comming Soon
Nigel’s Choice- My Iditarod Adventure
by Nancy Yoshida
Art work by Jon Van Zyle

Nigel, my dog who decided to go home after being chased by a stranger in the famous Steeps of the Alaska Range has written a book. It is called Nigel’s Choice. It is in its final editing and then hopefully to the printer. It is geared for 6,7 & 8th graders. It shares his time in Alaska and Iditarod ’09. Nigel tells the story from his point of view. I hope it will also be a teaching tool about the choices we make and how that can change our life.

Nigel is looking at us wearing the green T Shirt. Yes he is a character.

I wanted to let you all know that the decision has been made to not persue Iditarod again this year. I have been plagued with complications the latest of which is I need to have another eye surgery to correct two failed cataract surgeries, so it looks like I will have to try at another time.

I thank all of you who have been faithful supporters and hope you will still continue to follow Sled Dog Racing, as it is an amazing sport.

Tina and I feed the dogs at 7am so we could go for a work at 830. We meet Boyd in the dog yard at 8:30 and booted and harnessed the dogs. We were on the trail by 9:11 with me driving and Tina behind on the ATV. We have snow but not enough to run dogs safely with sleds so on the ATV we are. It was a cold morning. About -13 with a windchill of -25. Add to that the moving ATV and you get the picture. We were both dressed warmly so there were no issues with the cold. I drove with Tina and the team again down the trail over the golf course. Tina then drove the team  with me behind her. This was her first time with 17 dogs and she did a great job. I then got off and she took the team by herself. All in all we did 36 miles. The dogs were great and came home looking good.

It was great but sad because it would have been a wonderful winter with Tina here helping. You could not ask for a better handler. We wish she and Tony all the best and hope a positive result from the chemo and radiation that he is going to have the first of the year.

I had an eye appointment in Mpls. on monday to see a specialist about the two failed cataract surgeries I have had on my right eye. The Dr. I saw was able to lazar the eye and stop the light shattering I was experiencing but will have to do surgery again to correct the vision. With having to do that and no handler here to keep things going I have withdrawn from this years Iditarod. It just seems like everything is working against me being able to participate at this time. Who knows what the future will hold but for right now it is out of the question. I hope to be able to go for the start and even help in some way with the race. We will continue working the dogs as much as I can. I continue to look for a handler and hope that something will work out to relieve the stress of trying to do it all.

Today’s pictures are of Tina and the dogs.

Today was a very exciting day in the dog yard. Tina arrived yesterday from Georgia to pick up her things and visit for a short time. It was fun to have her and the dogs sure enjoyed it.  We did not have a lot of time to run because of a Christmas party at noon but we got to run some. We booted all the dogs and then lined them all out. Boyd was there to help so it made it easier even with the -11 temp. There was a light wind so it was about -22 to -25.

Once all the dogs were lined out we were off. We went through the hay-field for a few minutes and then headed out to the golf course. The dogs were great and doing much better with out necklines. I agree with Sue Allen that I will never use necklines again on regular training runs or racing. Maybe with puppies initially to get them moving in the right direction but we will see.

Due to the time constraint we only got 12 miles done but it was a real fun 12 miles. Tina and I both enjoyed it.

I have to go to Mpls for an eye appointment on monday so we will not run again until Tuesday.

We had a party for Tina on Sat evening. The picture is of Tina, Sue, Cameron and Boyd.

Today began with feeding at 7am. Boyd, Sue and I then meet at 8:30 to start booting the dogs It was a balmy -18 with just a slight breeze. Once everyone was booted and on the gang line, I was finishing putting my heavy coat on when the team left without me. Something I have thought about but never experienced before happened today. The gang line came loose from the ATV. I’m not sure how it happened but it made for a crazy time.

Boyd and I jumped on the ATV and got in front of the team to stop them. Being very fresh they were not very happy to ablige. I was able with get them re hooked to the ATV but we had such a tangle I ended up just turning them loose. Once we got them all home Boyd gave them water and then we lined them out again. We had some new trail which was great. We were out 4″15″ and went about 30 miles. We had a snack in the middle and several happy stops.

 It was slow going over the field to the golf course but nice once we got there. The dogs all look great and are doing better than Tuesday not having a neckline. I think we will keep working on it.

I bought two new dogs yesterday. They are from Aaron Burmeister’s main team from last year. He will keep them in Nenanna and I will pick them up on my way to Alaska. They are both males and both lead. I’m sure the will help round out my team for this year. There names are Tyler and Hawkeye. If they are at all like the other dogs I have from his kennel I know I will love them.

Today’s picture is from our work today.

I arrived home from the rookie meeting to -10F. I wanted cold so now I guess I have it for real.

The Rookie meeting was great. I got to see some old friends and meet some new friends. Several of us spent Saturday night in Martin Buser’s dog barn sharing stories and learning from each other.

Today began with me feeding about 6am. Boyd and I meet in the dog yard at 8:30 to put booties and harness on and we were ready to go. It was -15 or so and warmed up to a balmy -5 by the end of the work. We do not have enough snow to work with a sled but now that everything is frozen I will work on extending a trail so it is not so boring for the dogs. We did go 32 miles and are trying the no neckline approach. I spoke to many mushers and vets at the meeting that firmly believe that this is the way to go for the dogs. We had some problems when we stopped as everyone could head toward me for a pet. I think it will take only a few works before they have it down pat.

I am taking tomorrow off to work on trail but will be out with the dogs on Thursday.

Today’s picture is of Alaska.

Today began with feeding at 6am. Sue, Boyd and I then meet in the dog yard about 8:15. We harnessed and I was off and running about 8:40. It was cool in the 20’s but it would sure be nice to have it cooler with snow enough to run a sled. There is a light dusting so the dogs were really happy even if it was still with a 4 wheeler.

We went 32 miles with a snack in the middle and several happy breaks. Everyone came back and had a romp before going back to their houses. Everyone got a drink and then we emptied their bowl so it would not freeze. Everyone looked great. I am heading to anchorage in the morning and will be gone until Monday evening for the rookie meeting.

Have a great weekend and I will see you when I get back.

Today’s work began at 5:15 with Sue Boyd and I meeting in the dog yard. We got things ready,  harnessed and were out of the yard by 5:45. We went 31.6 miles with water in the middle and several happy breaks. Everyone came back looking great.

I had to run to Eddy Streeper’s kennel to meet a truck bring beef and liver so Boyd did the morning feeding after I left and the dogs cooled down.

It has been crazy with out Tina  but maybe we will find a solution for my situation. I think I have a house on dog trails in Knik and may have a handler. I am going to interview a woman on Friday after I arrive in Alaska to see if that would also work out for her to help also.I know if we just hang in there it will all come together. I am hoping all my huge complications are on this side of the starting line.

I hope you all have a great day.