An Alaskan Dog Sled Ride for Zeb and Eider Duck

Let’s ride on a dog sled!   Mom really said those words and we quickly agreed.   We are in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, to work on Eider’s dad’s estate, but not today.    Mom made reservations and our friend, Barbara, drove us to Sirius Winter Sled Dog Tours .   Arriving for our 6 mile, one hour trip, we watched our dog team get harnessed to our sleds.

This is our dog team and sleds. Ready to go

This is our sled, with mom.   Barbara has another set of sleds with her driver, or musher.   I, Zeb the Duck, and cousin Eider Duck are on the second sled.

Ducks on sled, ready to ride.

This is Avett, one our dogs.   While riding, Nita, our guide and musher, stood behind the first sled and guided the dogs.   We rode with mom, standing on the back of the second sled.   Standing gave us a great view, and wasn’t as cold as sitting so close to the snow.   Mom stood, with her knees bent, on the ride.   She said it felt like water skiing.   During our ride we did not take photos.   We were moving fast; going up and down small hills, and over frozen creeks.   Dog sleds on ice feel a little different.   During turns, Nita told us how to lean to make things easier for the dogs.   We loved our ride.   Here we are, sitting on the first sled, exhilarated after our exciting and wonderful tour.

Nita, our guide and musher is standing on the first sled, waving to mom.

We love these sleds and the Alaskan Huskies that pulled us through the wooded snow area.   The trails were groomed, but Nita told us the untouched snow would be almost waist deep.   That’s a lot of snow.   We just had to pose for another photo on our sled, with our dog, Avett.

Ducks with Avett

While we still wanted to go further, we aren’t ready for the Iditarod.   That famous dog sled race began Sunday, March 4, 2018.   The official start was crossing frozen Lake Willow, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Anchorage.   The finish line in Nome, Alaska, on the Bering Strait, will be reached in about 9 days.   That is too much for us.   Isn’t this a great picture of the dogs pulling the sled?

Dogs pulling sled through woods

This photo came from Sirius Dog web page.   The only time we were on the trails with dogs, we were on the sled.     These winter sled dog tours are available from Sirius from November through March.   We hope you enjoy a dog sled ride soon.   Of course, they are available in Alaska, but many other locations also.   They are offered in Colorado, in many of our ski areas.   We had never been on a dog sled before, and we love it!   Maybe again sometime?   Driving back home, we again drove on snowy roads and under branches, bent from the heavy wet snow.

Driving on a snowy road with low hanging snow covered branched

This was a perfect day in Alaska.   This is the end to this Alaska trip.   But we want to show you one more photo.   This was taken about 15 minutes before official sunrise, from our back window.

So blue, just before sunrise

The morning really did not look so blue to us, but we heard that the time just before sunrise and after sunset has great light for photos.   We just love the blue in this photo.   We took many photos, but this one has the most blue.   Mom did not enhance or alter anything about the photo.    This is just how it came with our iPhone.   Next time we will show you more of our beautiful Colorado.

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The Knotty Store in Alaska with Eider Duck

Our Alaska cousin, Eider Duck, wanted to show us his favorite gift shop.   Near Fairbanks, in Salcha, Alaska you can find The Knotty Shop.

The Knotty Store

The Knotty Store

The name comes from the Knotty Pine wood.   Inside the store you will find so many Alaskan gifts.   Much is handcrafted by Alaska’s residents.   There is a large selection of clothing.   The knives feature the Alaskan ulu knife, some of them with the handle and stand crafted from Alaska’s diamond willow wood.   Wooden bowls are also popular items at The Knotty Store, as is a birch stein with a lid.   The food section features many flavors of syrup.   Fireweed syrup is available, as is salmonberry syrup, (what is salmonberry?) along with a favorite, wild blueberry syrup.   The Wildlife Museum highlights several Alaskan mounts.

Indoor Wildlife Museum

Indoor Wildlife Museum

Eider lives here, so these animals do not make him nervous.

Love the fox

Love the fox

We think the fox could be our friend.   While the selection of gifts is incredible, the real attraction is outside.

Large

Large

Eider wants you to see several of these carved animals.

Great

Great

We really think they all are wonderful.

Adorable

Adorable

Such talent to make these.

Takes talent

Takes talent

Eider loves to visit this store.

Eider rides again

Eider rides again

We could not choose a favorite.

Moose or caribou?

Moose, reindeer or caribou?

But these antlers do grab and hold our attention.   Which is your favorite?   For more information and photos of The Knotty Shop, visit http://www.AlaskaKnottyShop.com   Eider, we love this shop.   Thanks for sending us the photos, cousin Eider.

Fairbanks in the Winter with Eider Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, asked my Alaska cousin, Eider Duck, to show us a little about winter at his home near Fairbanks, Alaska.   Eider brought us some photographs.   Eider said this was a rather mild winter at his house.

These photos were taken in early January 2015.   At that time, the temperature was about 20 degrees below zero.   Eider, some people do not consider that a mild winter.

Dark and cold

Dark and cold

Winter at Eider's house

Winter at Eider’s house

These photos were taken more recently in March.   The wind blew and the snow really fell.

Blowing snow near Fairbanks

Blowing snow near Fairbanks

Eider could not see the house across the street very well.

Neighbor's house

Neighbor’s house

This snow had fallen during a warmer time.

Snow on trees

Snow on trees

The temperatures were close to 15-20 degrees above zero.   We love the snow clinging to the trees.

Fresh snow

Fresh snow

Eider said there was between 2 and 3 feet of snow on the ground.

Near Fairbanks in March 2015

Near Fairbanks in March 2015

Previous snowfall did not melt the way it does in Denver.   Eider said some evaporates and some just compacts as it waits for the spring thaw.

Waiting for spring

Waiting for spring

Eider said that this winter he did experience temperatures of 40 below zero, but not for extended periods of time.

Perfect day to be inside looking out.

Perfect day to be inside looking out.

Well, Eider, we in Denver, would not consider this a mild winter.   Stay warm and stay inside, Eider.  But we certainly appreciate your photographs.   Thanks for sharing with us!

The Iditarod from Fairbanks Alaska

Eider Duck, our Alaska cousin, brought us some photos from the starting point of the Iditarod in Fairbanks.   The Iditarod is a dog sled race in Alaska.   Some call the Iditarod the “last great race.”   The race usually begins in Anchorage, Alaska and ends in Nome, Alaska.   This year, however, there was not enough snow in Anchorage for the beginning of the race.   The race was Re Started Monday, March 9, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Fairbanks, Alaska.    The awards banquet is scheduled for Sunday, March 22 at 4:00 p.m. in Nome, Alaska.

These are some of the photos Eider shared with us.   These photos were taken from a distance, so we are not sure whom the mushers are, but we love these.   Thanks Eider!

Sled with well wishers

Sled with well wishers

Getting ready

Getting ready

Dog team and sled

Dog team and sled

Dogs ready

Dogs ready

Let's go

Let’s go

Are we going soon?

Are we going soon?

Running

Wanting to run

Run now

Run now

Great photos Eider.   Thanks!

Ice Sculptures in Fairbanks, Alaska

Last time we showed you some snow sculptures from Breckenridge, Colorado.   My Alaska cousin, Eider Duck, sent us some photos of ice sculptures from the ice park in Fairbanks, Alaska.   We think these pictures are really great.

Eider Duck on ice train.   Cindy is also with Eider and his dad today

Eider Duck on ice train. Cindy is also with Eider and  dad today

Ice Bear

Ice Bear

 

Look behind you, Eider!

Look behind you, Eider!

 

Love this fish

Love this fish

 

Hope he is not mad

Hope he is not mad.  He is big!

 

 

This is carved from ice.  Wow!

This is carved from ice. Wow!

 

Such detail

Such detail

 

This are carved from ice blocks from a pond in Fairbanks.  The ice is so clear!

Lights of different colors really enhance the sculptures

Lights of different colors really enhance the sculptures

 

The first stage of ice carving is done with a chain saw.   The final stages with small hand tools, some power tools, for the perfect final touches.

Even an ice bridge

Even an ice bridge

 

We love this ice peacock

We love this ice peacock

 

Perfect details and great colors from the lights.

Perfect details and great colors from the lights.

 

And fun for young humans in Fairbanks, Alaska

And fun for young humans in Fairbanks, Alaska

 

Alaska: At home and beginning The Quest

Last time we saw photos of Eider, my Alaska duck cousin and my human cousin at Chatanika Lodge in Alaska.  Today we have photos of Eider at home in North Pole, Alaska.  I think there is a gas grill under there.

No cooking outside today

No cooking outside today

Eider, that is quite a snow hat on the tree behind you.

Snow hat on tree behind Eider

Snow hat on tree behind Eider

Eider’s dad shoveled snow so the people could deliver propane-heating oil to their house.

Clear a path so heating oil can be deliver

Clear a path so heating oil can be delivered

Eider is sitting on a snow bank.  Cold duck feathers!!

Snow, snow, snow

Snow, snow, snow

Somebody or something is looking in the window at Eider.

He is watching you!

He is watching you!

Wow!  Eider has a moose in the back yard.  Now the moose is enjoying a snack in Eider’s yard.

A moose has to eat

A moose has to eat

In Alaska there are many dog racing teams.  Many people have heard about the Iditarod dog sled race.   There is a second famous dog race.  Eider and dad went to the beginning of the Quest dog race.  They sent these pictures to me and I want to share them with you.

Starting the Quest

Starting the Quest

The dogs wear boots to protect their feet.  The orange boots are easy to see.

At the beginning of the Quest.

Ready to race

The Quest begins

Allen Moore.  This team won the Quest

Ready to run

Ready to run

This race began in Fairbanks, Alaska and ended in Whitehorse.  Whitehorse is in the Yukon Territory of Canada.  This is a 1,000 mile international sled dog race.  Next year the race will begin in Whitehorse and end in Fairbanks.

We love getting pictures from Eider.  Many of the activities in Eider’s life and in Alaska are very different from our life and interesting to us.

Can we have a moose?

Can we have a moose?

Chatanika Lodge, Alaska

Hi.  Zeb the Duck here and I am so surprised and embarrassed.  You all know my Alaska uncle and my Alaska cousin.  Today I got a letter and pictures from them and I learned my Alaska cousin has a name.  I never knew that.  The name is Eider and Eider is also a large sea duck that live and breeds in the Arctic.  Eiders can fly at speeds up to 70 mph.  I learned that from Wikipedia.  My cousin, Eider, is a true Alaskan!

Eider and family went to Chatanika Lodge, about 28 miles from Fairbanks.  These are some of the photos we received.   The entrance to the lodge has real moose antlers and much natural fur.

Entrance to Chatanika Lodge

Entrance to Chatanika Lodge

The eagles are carved from wood.   Here Eider is sitting on a rail made of spruce.

Eider on spruce rail with bumps

Eider on spruce rail with bumps

The bumps on the cedar are all natural.   These carved wooden bears are inviting on this winter day.

Eider on snowy bears

Eider on snowy bears

Eider is sitting on a snow bank and looks cold.

Eider on snow bank.  Brrr

Eider on snow bank. Brrr

Take him inside Alaska uncle!

Inside the lodge is a small restaurant.

Eider on lamp shade near bear skin

Eider on lamp shade near bear skin

There are a lot of old Alaskan art and artifacts.  Here is Eider on a doll.

Eider on antique roll

Eider on antique doll

Eider is sitting on old sewing machine by a Harley Davidson motorcycle lamp.

Eider on sewing machine

Eider on sewing machine by Harley lamp

They visited Chatanika Lodge during Christmas, so we can see some decorations.

Looking at snowy outdoors

Looking at snowy outdoors

This time Eider is sitting on a bear trap.

Eider.  You are on a bear trap!

Eider. You are on a bear trap!

Be careful cousin!  This is my cousin Cindy holding Eider by a dall sheep.

Cindy holding Eider near dall sheep

Cindy holding Eider near dall sheep

Dall sheep are known for their curled horns.  The horns grow in the spring and summer and then in fall and winter the growth slows and stops.  The growth pattern forms rings, called annuli, and the age of the dall sheep is determined from the horns.

In March Chatanika Lodge holds Chatanika Days festival.  One of the events is outhouse races.  Teams build outhouses, a person must be in outhouse and the teams race down a course.  This is the original outhouse entered by the lodge for the outhouse races.

Ready for outhouse races

Ready for outhouse races

Be careful Eider.

This looks like a great place.  To see more visit www.chatanikalodgeak.com  Thanks for sending pictures Eider.