2014 SEASON BOOKING NOW
Book now for the 2014 season...we customize our tours to our clientele's
level of ability so we are able to work with beginners to advanced.
Don't hesitate to get with us with any questions.
We are in the process of planning 2 Extreme/Wilderness dog sled
expeditions this coming year specifically geared for high adventure
including the possibility of very difficult trails, Alaska weather
extremes and physically/mentally demanding situations.
If your profile can meet the requirements to participate as a client/team
member on either of these expeditions please express your interest
with us ASAP due to logistical considerations on our part.
The routings in the planning stages are...
Yukon/Charley River Expedition...approximately 12 days - level
of difficulty strenuous.
Nation/Black River Expedition...approximately 8 days one way or
16 days round trip. If you choose the shorter trip you would be
flown in or out with a bush air charter. Level of difficulty possibly
Late Feb or March but exact dates are still pending. Due to complex
logistics dates, costs and details are still under consideration.
Photos of the 2013 expedition and other expeditions are posted
on this page. A new extreme trip website page will be coming this
EXTREME TRIP 2013
Erik Larson has set up pictures with GPS cords for the Extreme
Trip. It is an enjoyable slide show. Please check it out... EVERYTRAIL
The following pictures of overflow are from one
of our extreme trips and are not what someone could expect on one
of our tours geared for beginner and intermediate mushers.
Apr 4...our season ended yesterday with the departure of our last
2 guests and it was a really nice season. We enjoyed the interaction
with all the clients and some great mushing. Snow conditions have
been good and temperatures are holding to where we get to take some
nice short fun runs here for the next few days.
Below is a paragraph that helps show the experience we are seeking
to send our clients home with. There are also some new reviews on
Kate and I returned to Atlanta and were met with a lot of hectic
work and travel, so the past few weeks have just gotten away from
me. We want to thank you for your gracious hospitality at the Homestead,
and tell you that we had a terrific time! The dog mushing was a
blast: we both enjoyed the experience even more than we had expected.
Of course the dogs are the stars, and they quickly captured our
hearts and admiration. But we also enormously enjoyed meeting the
two of you and getting a peek at your extraordinary lifestyle. Wayne
could not have taken better care of us, and we feel that by the
time we left we had made great friends in Eagle. There is obviously
a lot of work involved in putting a trip like this together, and
we felt that your planning and logistics were carried-off without
a hitch, especially considering Scarlett’s unexpected trip
to the lower 48. You run a good operation.
Mar 10...life can throw some hard curves and I had to leave to
go to my mom the day the crew came back in. I did not get to see
them which was a shame as I missed hearing a lot of the stories
but if I get a chance to catch up I will post more of their trip.
One of the 1st team members sent a nice e-mail today and here is
what he had to say... Dear Wayne and Scarlett ,
I am writing to thank you both for organising a wonderful adventure,
I loved all of it. It was very nice to finally meet you both after
a lot of emails over the last six months. I love Alaska ,your home
and everyone I met.
The trip was great fun and I am very grateful that you where prepared
to take the risk of letting me join it having never met me before.
It was very different to previous sledging trips I have done , mainly
because of the dogs. Oh and the swimming! I have never been around
such well trained dogs. They are amazing. Being able to put on and
take off harnesses, feed them and direct them to the sledges without
the manic hassle I have had to deal with in the past was fantastic.
The process is a joy rather than a Herculean effort that left one
in a muck sweat. The other wonderful thing was the way the dogs
responded to commands. To get a team to turn right or left off the
trail into deep snow instantly is very impressive. You are magicians.
Another team member heard from...It's 3.20am and I've given up
trying to sleep and come downstairs for a cuppa and bowl of oatmeal.
Thank you so, so much for giving me the opportunity to have such
an experience (water sports included!) How could I worry with 5
mountain men to help when needed? And how can I possibly explain
to folks here what an adventure it all was. I know I was a bit of
'the weakest link' but boy, what scenery, what dogs, what people,
(what bruises!) what a life. That was truly living, and I can't
say thank you enough. But I will write again and at more length
when it's not 3am!!
Love you and Alaska lots,
Musher Mary xxx
Here is another team member and his thoughts...- the dogs: they
always go at the top of the list because, even when I'm knee-deep
in overflow and Lil Miss is up on the bank and won't even LOOK at
the water, I'm still constantly amazed by what they do!
- the overflow: yes, yes....I know.....it's a pain in the butt.
But still....I couldn't help but smile when we hit it. Yep, I'm
- trail-breaking: OK, so there was little any of us could do to
take the responsibility off of Wayne & Nate's shoulders here....and
I'm sure it's no fun for you guys ....but again, I'm amazed by the
work the dogs do in carving out a trail in the snow!
- Mark & Lori: what an incredible experience! Just getting
to know them and get a glimpse into their lives "in the middle
of the middle of nowhere" alone was worth the price of admission!
Definitely going to keep in touch with them!
- claiming several new cabins for SPAIN! It just never gets old
There was more of course. Every moment on the trail (even on the
Yukon!) adds to the full experience. The unexpected is always out
there lurking and I guess that's what keeps me wanting more. Of
course, sometimes I make my own fun (however accidentally) by flying
out of Spike's or something like that but.....never did say I was
a professional or anything....haha!
Feb 26...the team is one day away and looking good!
Feb 25...the team had a short day today.
Finally a few pictures are filtering in.
Mary and her swimming lessons with Nate appearing to direct the
Nate, Wayne, Tim, Eric, Michael, Mary and Lori relaxing in the
Feb 24...Day 13 and the team have made it to Washington Creek.
Feb 23... Day 12 looks like the team made Slaven's and can enjoy
the historic surroundings.
Feb 22...Day 11 has the team back at the mouth of the Kandik River
with plans to head further down the Yukon to Slaven's Roadhouse...an
historic cabin site in the Yukon Charley Rivers Preserve.
Feb 21...The new team members headed away from the warm hospitality
of Mark and Lori and began the travel back down the Kandik River.
Day 10 had the group at an old cabin site that was once lived in
by Randy and Karen Brown. With luck the colder temps had the overflow
Feb 20th...Day 9 was an interesting day for all. The group woke
up to minus 42 F. and weather that was flyable so 1 of the new members
of the team left Fairbanks on Wrights Air and landed on a river
strip near the cabin of Mark and Lori. The plane then loaded up
with extra gear, extra bags of dog food and 1 wrist injured Jake
(Wayne's favorite dog). The plane then flew into Eagle where it
dropped its load gathered a plane full of fresh gear, food and the
other 2 members of the new group. The plane left Eagle, flew back
to the Kandik River dropped that load and picked up the 3 team members
that were leaving. Thus begins the 2nd half of the Extreme trip.
Feb 19th...Day 8 was a tough day. The team had pushed on up ahead
to a camp site, made camp and enjoyed the evening. They headed back
expecting maybe a little bit of wet stuff but Mary found herself
in waist deep overflow. So the final day for Mary, Erik and Tim
was another tough one but all were happy and enjoyed the adventure.
Feb 18...Looks like the team has had a fun day of exploring and
have set up camp about 12 miles above the last cabin. Hopefully
I will be able to hear more of what they are up to soon. It looks
like they are a couple of miles up Big Sitdown Creek. They may be
out of satellite phone range as they are sending me double SPOT's
in the evening a sign to me that they can't get out by sat phone,
for 1 reason or another.
It is confirmed...they triumped and made their goal. A group of
snow machines had spent about 4 days attempting to reach the same
spot and were unable to get there so I can bet the team is celebrating
Feb 17th...The group chopped ice and dried gear yesterday at Mark
and Lori's and then headed out this morning in an attempt to reach
their furtherest goal along the Kandik River. I am waiting to hear
if they made it. There was some trail that they would have been
able to follow for awhile but then they were hitting virgin trail
and did not know what the conditions would be so did not know if
they would reach the next cabin or set up a tent camp for the night.
Feb 16th...will just post the message I received from Wayne, last
night, as that kind of says it all...I would not let Mark kiss me
(Opps that was from a previous message I sent to Wayne).......We
don't need any dog food on wrights...someone figured too much dog
food for this trip. Only 17 miles today ...tough miles...all of
us soaking wet....dogs "almost" swimming.....lots of overflow...Gary
flew over...heard he was going to give you a report...we had 4 teams
on one side of the river and me leading on the other side..I was
walking back to help swim other teams over when Gary flew by....good
crew of clients...Tim is maybe the toughest....63 yrs old and he
was wading back and forth to help everone. Mark and Lori are GREAT
hosts with us....plan B in effect.....maybe plan C and D...tomorrow
is a Zombie attack day...that means day off for certain dogs and
certain people...any dog run will be a short fun run tomorrow......hopefully
next day to Jeffs cabin...IF Earl and Charlie make it there tomorrow.............probably
have the charter land here at Marks......all is good even though
we don't quite have a specific sheduale right now..Mary is sitting
next to me as I write this and says..."she didn't realize she
was taking a water skiing package along with a dog sled trip"
Feb 15...I talked to Wayne last night and everyone is in good spirits as they
made their way 32 miles up the Kandik yesterday. They had to push
through some overflow but it appears to have been manageable.
Feb 14...Happy Valentine's Day...the team has moved well up the Kandic River.
Hopefully I will talk to the team today and know more how things are
going. The only message I have gotten is that the boxes I sent with
the food supplies are falling apart so I have images of burritos being
spread along the river with dogs scarfing them up.
The group is into Day 4 of a 17 day adventure…heading into
totally new and remote territory for our guides and clients.
At this point on Day 3 the group jumped off of familiar trail
systems and headed into new and unknown trails.
Light snowfall early in the year had us worried about trail conditions
on overland portions. Then severe cold moved in, followed by deep
snows, followed by very warm temps that have caused a lot of overflow
that is protected under the heavy layer of snow.
Snow machines have been over sections of the Kandik River and have
busted through the protecting layer of snow which has helped to
freeze up some of the wet overflow. So we are keeping our fingers
Feb 13 has the team at the mouth of the Kandic River. Tomorrow
takes them into new country.
Feb 12 was the start of this season's Extreme Trip.
This year we are calling this an Extreme Trip rather than an Expedition
as we are running it a little differently. It is into unknown territory
for everyone but there will be, hopefully, trail the whole way.
With the cold we have had, followed by deep snow and then very warm
weather we are expecting wet overflow conditions and that is what
we have been hearing from snowmachiners that have been running up
the Kandic River. Our crew will not turn into the Kandic until tomorrow
and we are hopeful that current cooler temps will have the overflow
frozen to where the teams will not be slogging along in wet slush.
I will post any news as I hear it.
Yesterday the group ran about 45 miles and overnighted
in a cabin near the Nation River. Here is the SPOT location...
Mush your own team of sled dogs through the Alaska, Yukon wilderness!
Touring and KENNEL UPDATE and BLOG
Race Update...Matt Hall and team
COPPER BASIN 300 http://www.cb300.com/RaceUpdates.html
Jan 15, 2013...Matt finsihed in 14th position at 18:39 last night.
Positions 18th, 19th and 20th finished before him as after 17th
place out of Tolsana the race organization decided to end the race
at the last checkpoint instead of the finish line. So teams 1 to
17 braved the bare gravel, ice and up to 6 inches of standing water
and slush that the warm winter storm had created. The 2013 race
lived up to its reputation of being tough...not because of extreme
cold but extreme warm, heavy snows, slow and difficult trail. Matt
was proud of his dogs and glad that he did the race. He and his
dogs continue to gain experience.
Matt is out of Lake Louise. He has dropped all of his yearlings
and is finishing off with his older dogs. A good move on his part
as he can now relax more. He is in good spirits and is looking forward
to the last 50 miles of this race.
January 14, 2013...Matt is down to his last 100 miles and his dogs
are looking good and he is in an upbeat mode. Alyssa said he departed
Sourdough at 12:07 (time sheet says 02:07...typo). He should be
at the finish line sometime in the early evening. Then time for
he and Alyssa to get some rest. Alyssa is handling for him and handlers
get as sleep deprived as the mushers. They do not help with the
teams but are there at all the checkpoints, that can be driven to,
in order to pick up any dropped dogs. That way the dogs are in familiar
The trail is said to be better, more hardpacked and less fresh
We are excited to see Matt finish this race!
Talking with Alyssa earlier, after Matt had left Paxson, the teams
were busting through 12 inches of fresh snow on the summit and were
heading back out into more snow. The weather reports are calling
for an additional dump of 3 to 8 inches today and 3 more tonight.
The teams are going to be slowed a good bit. They are still predicting
freezing rain and rain. So instead of the severe cold they are dealing
with another set of really bad conditions.
Jan 13, 2013...Matt has done an excellant job staying in the front
of the pack with a 5th place into Paxson. He has taken his mandatory
break there and is slowly getting back out on the trail. He intends
to take this next leg more slowly with maybe a break somewhere between
the checkpoints. He is working to build a good race team for the
future and knows that this year it is important to keep their heads
happy, so that the desire to run is uppermost in their minds.
Jan 12, 2013...Matt is starting in the number 2 position today
at 10:00 am. This is the hardest mid-distance race there is and
one of the reasons is it is usually very cold. So, of course, Matt
did not take his rain coat. Guess what...a warm winter storm is
moving through the area Saturday to Monday that can dump up to 10
inches of snow, freezing rain and rain. Might make for an interesting
race. Temperatures at 7 am were 25 F.
Sled dogs enjoying back packing in the off season.
Ever hear the one about not standing up in a canoe?
Top of the World 350 Sled Dog Race...
Matt and his team officially finished in 9th position
at 23:35 on Dec 30th. The dogs were quickly fed and bedded down
and Matt is catching up on some of his beauty sleep. Good Night
from a very happy mom!
Matt with his team after 12 hours of rest.
Minutes before the start and the dogs are eager to go.
Robert Gecas is hooked on to the back of Matt's sled to help slow
and control the speed of the team as they enter the starting chute.
Matt out of the starting chute in Eagle.
Dec 30...Race planning and strategy often go out the window with
good sense when involved in racing. Matt's mom and dad are here
to say we are proud of the professional way Matt has handled himself
and his very young and inexperienced team so far in this race. He
has learned they have speed and endurance and now wants to continue
gaining that experience without burning them out. His plan out of
Eagle was to go back to Tok with the same run, rest scheduling even
while knowing that the big name mushers with more experience and
veteran dogs would be doing longer runs and shorter or no rests.
We were thrilled to see him still leading Lance into 40-Mile. There
he made the professional decision to not take chances with his inexperience
at how far to push the dogs and is ending his first major race with
his dogs welfare uppermost in his mind.
Be fully aware that we are not knocking the other mushers that did
not spend as much rest time. They have been racing for years and
know their and their dog's limitations. Matt has a very young team
and he is using this race as a stepping stone into his racing career
and we think he is doing it in a very wise way!
Dec 29th...Matt pulled out of the starting chute with a healthy,
happy looking team. Pictures to follow here tomorrow but click here
to see the already posted ones...http://www.facebook.com/bushalaska.expeditions
Just received this message...
whoo hoo---race on!
TRAIL REPORT: from the 40 mile race support ..."Matt Hall
is flying and Lance Mackey is right behind him"
Matt pulled out of Eagle planning to be a little conservative with
his young team but the above trail report has his dad and I laughing.
Dec 28...Matt pulled a sneaky one on us last night. His first race
turned out to be a new race that is running between Tok...Eagle...Tok
in honor of Chief Isaac Juneby. It is a 350 mile race with the first
half done in a fun run fashion with an official restart out of Eagle
for the final 175 miles. Anyway Matt said he was not planning on
doing any fast times into Eagle when who should arrive first with
a big smile on his face and great looking dogs and some of the biggest
names in long distance racing hot on his tail.
Nov 22...Happy Thanksgiving to all! It is a beautiful winter day
here. The river froze up quite high about a week ago and we have
been working on getting trails into Eagle and across the river,
in order to head downriver. Nate made it into town yesterday finally
after days of trying and brought home our turkey and we will celebrate
on Sunday. We all headed in with small teams today to met up with
some people from town and help pound a crossing there. Nate took
a larger team and headed overland. He made it on time. The rest
of us took 4 small teams and headed upriver working to pound down
some more ice between here and there. We wound up getting to the
crossing just as everyone met in the middle so we at least got to
do a little more pounding there.
The dogs are doing great and having lots of fun on the runs...now
Oct 25th...as usual we kind of jumped through fall and are in full
winter mode now. A shock to the system but after a few days the
body adjust and we begin enjoying the white ground and the white
frosted trees. As cold sinks into the area the Yukon Water begins
to give off steam that quickly becomes a thick layer of fog. As
it moves it coats everything it touches with glistening white...so
beautiful. The dogs are in fine form and we are starting to train
the young leaders. Before snowfall we were out ice training the
pups and they were having a blast.
We have rearranged some bookings and there is space available for
tours. Check with us to see if your timing matches ours! Have a
Sep 27th...fall is fast approaching. The dogs are getting antsy
to hit the trail and we are preparing for winter. Snows hit the
mountains early but then a late warm up had us rolling our sleeves
back up. It is expected to be a little cooler this next week. We
have one more trip to Fairbanks to bring in the last ton of dog
food. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the roads stay snow and
ice free for a little longer.
Aug 14, 2012...The second wave of suicidal porcupines have broken
through the perimeter of the homestead and here is one of the two
Happy 4th of July...Here's hoping every one had a nice day.
We went into Eagle and enjoyed the socializing for a bit then came
home to find one of the retired dogs with porky quills in its mouth.
He was a sweetheart and let us pull them out and we got them out
quickly and then went looking because the critter had to be close.
LilGirl led us to one of the storage tents and there was this big
guy trying to hide. We did not have the heart to shot him so got
a dog kennel and backed him into it and went for a ride on the river
and released him in a spot that he cannot get into any more dogs.
The garden is growing and we are finally getting some rain so can
stop watering. The river is very high and still coming up. Hopefully
by fishing time it will have gone down to where we at least have
June 17th...Happy Father's Day...Wayne is not too impressed with
the gift the dogs gave him...
Personally, I am not either...a bear up a tree in the dog yard
all night...Quiet PLEASE!
June 15...summer is moving on nicely, the garden is growing and
the dogs are enjoying the freedom of daily walks. Lonesome our single
pup from an anticipated litter is 3 weeks old and cute as a button.
We have been enjoying travel on the river and came across an interesting
discovery. Is it a new species...?
Cleaning out some paperwork I came across an interesting picture.
Here is our very first Sierra Club Tour group waiting at the Eagle
Air Strip for the charter flight to pick them up for their return
to Fairbanks. Picture is compliments of Bob Thorton.
Just in case anyone thinks this is a serious picture...this was
a fun loving group who had a great time setting this photo up.
May 11...has us waiting for meltdown in order to
get the boats into the water and working on next winters tours.
We are excited to be offering an expedition traveling from Eagle
into new country for the guides. The trail will follow the Yukon
River, turning up the Nation River with trail breaking over a pass
into the Kandik River and then cross country into the Black River
territory. This expedition will be in two legs...one going from
Eagle to the Black River which will take about a week. A bush plane
will fly expedition clients out and other clients in to do the trip
in reverse. It is a beautiful and remote section of country. If
you are interested in this expedition contact us for more details.
The tour dates are in mid to late February.
There are also dates open for custom tours in January,
parts of February and parts of March.
Touring and KENNEL UPDATE and BLOG
May 7...Time does have a way of passing and getting away from me.
April brought warm weather and melting snow. The river ice became
dangerous to cross early but then the last bit of winter held on
until a few days ago when the ice from Dawson finally pushed through
the area. I spent some time down south with my mom so I missed break
up but arrived back to a shoreline lined with huge piles of ice.
No way to launch a boat. Wayne had scouted out a landing sight near
home so friends helped me launch a canoe and once I felt balanced
and stable I pushed out into the river amid the flowing ice. I had
6 miles to work my way across the river. It was actually a lot of
fun once I realized I had total control and could work around any
large chunks of ice. Wayne and 4 dogs were waiting to pull me in
near our boat landing area. We then put the supplies I brought into
backpacks and hiked along the ice packed beach to the 4 wheeler
and proceeded to work our way along our water logged trail. Last
winter's freeze on Last Chance Creek has caused the water to divert
and it is running across about 200 yards of our trail system. It
will be awhile before we can easily drive the trail and launch the
canoe. So we are enjoying time here with the dogs, enjoying some
quiet and getting some chores done. Matt is on the Skagway glacier
with a lot of the dogs...waiting to hear how they are all doing.
COMPLETION...the guys are home, tired but happy. The dogs are crashed
in their houses sleeping on beds of fresh straw. Listening to their
tales tonight I will have to put some of it into print soon. They
had some very interesting happenings.
March 21...The guys left 40-Mile at about 10:45. They are expecting
a slow run to home so may not see them until about dark tonight.
Sounds like they have had a good trip from all feedback I am getting.
Mar 3...Ouch has it really been this long since I posted on here...Life
gets a little busy around here during touring season. Tours have
gone well even with the up and down weather. We finally got some
wonderful snowfall and the trails are nice. January seemed to break
all kinds of records for cold and then February rolled around and
tried to melt us. March is getting more back to normal with temps
around zero and below. The dogs have had a good year and they are
all in great shape. Our clients have come from so many different
areas of the US, Europe, Asia, India, Australia, New Zealand and
South America. It has been so interesting talking and relating with
everyone. I am finding out that we are not that different...as the
saying goes just a horse of a different color. We are into our final
month for the 2012 season and it is a busy one.
Jan 14...has it a mite chilly at minus 50 and clear skies. The
sun made a small appearance in the cabin a little while ago. Nugget
and her 3 pups are doing well. The smallest one tried hard to survive
but was not able to. The other 3 are growing by leaps and bounds.
For those of you wondering about the snow. We finally got enough
snow to be up to normal and the trails will be good when we can
get them in. High winds have been blowing the trails out right behind
us as we break trail. Luckily we are not in an area that is being
hit with lots of snow so our touring season is on track.
Dec 31...has us wishing you a very wonderful New Year, may it be
a good one.
The last week for us has been hectic with the start to our tour
season, severe cold temps and Nugget our female developing a problem
over the Christmas weekend. She was due to have a litter of pups
app Dec 28th. She developed an extreme infection in her uterus and
it looked like we had lost all the pups. We were able to get her
on a plane to Fairbanks and Dr Renee Rember. An ultrasound showed
at least one live heartbeat so they got busy and went in to remove
her uterus and pups. 4 of the 7 pups were alive. The pups were not
quite 48 hours old when they made the flight back to Eagle with
temps nearing 30 below. We grabbed the kennel and slammed it into
the sled and headed to the store to warm her and the pups up. She
had the pups so surrounded with her body that we decided to leave
them there. The original plan was to have Wayne hold them inside
his coat. We made a very slow trip down the river in the dark and
only ran into problems on the steep hill coming off the river. So
had to pull sled and machine back down and circle for another run
at it at higher speed. But Nugget being a good mom did not squish
anyone and warm hands were waiting at the cabin to hold pups as
we got mom settled under the kitchen table. They will stay here
until the weather warms some. They are a very contented set of pups.
One is still very small but appears healthy and growing so hopefully
it will catch up with the other 3. 3 females and 1 male...Rudolf,
Vixen, Prancer and Dasher are a much wanted addition to our kennel.
Dec 23...the snow has been lightly falling all night. A very fine
misting snow that does not build up to much depth but it is still
beautiful. We are going to have a quiet Christmas here at the homestead
before our season starts. Have a very Joyous Christmas Season!
There are new pictures on the TRIPS and PHOTOS pages. Check them
Dec 7...has the river still knee deep in overflow in spots. Kind
of a different year out there but when it finally settles down there
should be a good running edge for trails.
Wayne and I have enjoyed looking at some of the "from model
to musher" pictures that are in a lot of web sites so we thought
we would add our own. We have titled this...Before and After...
Dec 1...Thanksgiving was a lot of fun with company from downriver
and then Hugh, Nicole and Jessie mushed in from Tok, with 37 dogs
in 2 teams. I think most of the run was a lot of fun but the ice
and our low snow trail system here at the homestead had the departure
a little bit exciting. Just after they left to go back the river
decided to rise and we are dealing with a lot of wet stuff right
now. Once it freezes back down then travel will be good once again.
This is a picture of Matt as he did some dog training back and forth
in the overflow.
Meet Team "A"...Erik, Wayne and Matt
New 2011 photos on opposite side of page.