GreatMountain Chinooks
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Old News at GreatMountain

November 4, 2007 - Rigging - Today after many years of rebuilding our team, we hit a team milestone.  We have a lot of young dogs who just started working on the team in the past couple of years.  While we have some reliable workers, we only ran a four dog team all last season, with a chase team of dogs learning how to work in harness.  Today, for the first time in years, we were able to take six dogs out to work on the rig.  The dogs only ran for two miles, but it was hilly terrain, with large puddles they had to go through.  The dogs worked well, running consistently ahead, running through water and keeping their lines taut.  We are also thrilled that GreatMountain X Yukon Charley has stepped up to the plate to run in lead this season.  Her grandmother is an exceptional wheel dog, as was her mother before her, but neither have been willing to work in lead.  Charley has what it takes and appears to only be getting more confident with each run.  It is a real thrill!

Moxie & Charley in lead, Mahoosuc & Chocorua in swing, Trav'ler and Jack in wheel.



August 12, 2007 - Old Dog Days at GreatMountain - WoodsRunner X Katahdin turned 12 this July and so did six of her remaining siblings!  It just so happened that Maisy, Katahdin's well-traveled sister, was coming to GreatMountain to meet her new brother, Cutler from our most recent litter.  So, we invited brother Erebus and sister Trailbreaker up to the farm for a little reunion.  Much to our delight, Bob Jones brought Hudson along too, so WoodsRunner X Baxter got to play with her dad, Erebus, and her brother.  A great time was had by all! 

Trailbreaker, Maisy, Erebus and Katahdin still going strong at twelve years old!

Katahdin & Maisy
Handsome Hudson Jones

Erebus, Baxter & Hudson (Baxter and Hudson will be 10 in October)

May 6, 2007 - Family Reunion - Karen Hinchy came up to New England to attend a Pat Hastings workshop on evaluating litters.  Jess joined her for the seminar in NH and then they headed to Maine for some long walks in the woods with a pack of crazy dogs.  We loved having a chance to see Tikaani.  At seven months old, she is built like a smaller version of her mother.  We were pleased that Pat Hastings evaluated her and said she was structurally very sound and a nice dog!  Conaway enjoyed visiting with his mom and playing with all of the dogs.  He's matured so much over the past few months and Karen has done a terrific job training him - we hardly recognize him for his good behavior! 

Tikaani & Nokomis

Trav'ler, Nokomis & Tikaani - Trav'ler is Tikaani's grandmother.


Chocorua & Conaway

March 24, 2007 - Last run of the season - A few weeks back, just when our snow was starting to melt, a work colleague of Jess' told her that his sister wanted to drive a dog sled before she turned 50.  When his sister contacted us, we had to break the news that the sledding season was likely over for the year and that she'd have to wait until next year.  However, a late season snowstorm dropped a foot of snow on our trails last weekend and despite incredibly high temperatures in the latter part of this week, we still have a good bit of snow left on the trails.  So, Anne and two of her friends showed up this morning to join us on what was surely the last run of the season.  We'd also arranged for Bonnie & Mike to bring Moxie's son, Bailey, over to give him a try on the sled.  We gave everyone instructions and then headed out with three teams - Jess driving four dogs, and the other two teams running two dogs each.  While the conditions were icy to start, by the time we actually took off, the snow had softened and the running was really quite excellent.  The teams did great, doing two short runs so four people could take a turn driving a team.  Everyone had a great time and Anne got her wish!  It was a great way to end the season!

Baxter & Moxie in lead, Mahoosuc & Trav'ler in wheel

Baxter is having fun despite herself!
Three teams finishing the first run.

Robyn with Charley & Bailey


Anne with Jack & Chocorua

Bonnie driving Charley & Bailey, Phyllis driving Jack & Chocorua

February 19, 2007 - GreatMountain Winter Party - When we moved to GreatMountain Farm in the fall of 2001, we didn't get around to having a housewarming party until February, 2002.  Since that time, we've invited all of our friends and family to the farm over President's Day Weekend for a Winter Party that features a soup and dessert contest and lots of outdoor activity - this year featured the new game of "snow bocce".  This year was probably the best party yet, with exceptional weather, lots of snow on the ground and a reasonable sized crowd for once (only 54 people and 26 dogs as opposed to years when nearly 100 people have come!)  We were thrilled that our NY/NJ contingent of Chinook owners - Maria Sommer, Karen Hinchy and Kim, Steve & Ryan Kramer could make it up for the weekend.  We were able to sled several times over the weekend and to take the dogs for long walks.  We hope you enjoy the many fun photos we have from the weekend!

Why not start with the best!  How about this for some happy dogs?!?
Charley, Willow, Trav'ler & Chocorua blowing off steam after a run.

Over the weekend, everyone got to try their dogs out pulling.  Conway did great running on the team and pulling Karen all over the property on snowshoes.  Atlin turned out to be an exceptionally competent skijoring companion for Kim.  In fact, the second time he went out with her, he followed the teams and gave her an incredibly fast run.  It's hard for a dog to do this work alone - we were all very impressed with him.  Maria's team did really well - with Willow (10 months) working in lead! 

Jess with Moxie, Mahoosuc, Jack & Trav'ler
Karen with Chocorua, Charley and Conaway

Steve with Charley, Chocorua & Jackman
Kim with Atlin digging in

Maria with the Callicoon team - Willow, Calli & Ande
Kusko & Atlin pull Ryan on a sled

Two GreatMountain teams coming in off the trail after their second run.

February 4, 2007 - Running two teams at GreatMountain - Today was a milestone at GreatMountain.  It was the first day we had two four-dog teams out on the trail.  It is finally paying off living with 12 dogs!  Jess took out the "A-Team" while our friend Tobias followed behind with the training team.  Because we have deep snow on our trails and  a snow mobile in need of repair, we went out to the snow mobile trail on our power lines.  This is much hillier terrain than the dogs have been used to, but they did great.  This was Tobias' first run on a four-dog team and after noting how scared he was for the entire ride, he said he exclaimed that he got a better workout than the dogs!  Hope you enjoy the photos - there are some great shots thanks to Penthea and her excellent photography skills and they really capture the progression of the team passed her hidden spot - neither of us even saw her!

The teams cresting a hill.
Things start to get fun on the downhill.

Jess's Mother/Daughter Team:  Mahoosuc (L) and Moxie (R) in lead, with Trav'ler (L) and Charley (R) in wheel - Mahoosuc & Trav'ler are amazing in this shot!
Tobias had Chocorua (L) and Baxter (R) in lead and Chocorua's son, Jack (L) and Nokomis (R) in wheel. Baxter's still got it at 9 years old!

After the run, the dogs always get to blow off some steam running free

Baxter expressing herself!

Resting after a hard day's work!

November 26, 2006 - We were blessed with family visitors this Thanksgiving holiday.  In addition to our son and roommate, we had Jess's mom, her husband and his cousins from Austria.  We enjoyed several days of fun around Maine but the Austrians, Beate and Andrea (mother/daughter), agreed that the best part of the entire trip was getting a ride on the dog sled!  At the moment we planned on rigging with our company Beth and Parker showed up to visit with Trav'ler's son, Sinamokst.  He worked on the team and pulled his heart out - what a tremendous sled dog he is!  We had mother and child combos working on the team below.

Beate with a four dog team - Moxie & Mahoosuc are in lead, Trav'er and Sinamokst in wheel - check out Sinamokst digging in at a gallop (above right)


Hilmar & Andrea with the same four dogs - this time you can really see Trav'ler working in wheel!  What a nicely matched team!

August 9, 2006:  Berry Thieves

On days like today, it’s hard to believe anything could be wrong in the world.  The sky is a color blue only seen in watercolor paintings, with a wisp of an occasional passing cloud.  The temperature ceases to exist and your skin becomes one with the air.  Only the gentle breeze offers reality.   On these warm, perfect summer days, the blackberries hang ripe and heavy on their thorned branches.  They are as sweet and warm as a blackberry pie straight from the oven. 

In the evenings on days like today, I look forward to long walks on the plush grass of our fields with a pack of Chinooks running wild with abandon.  And, I look forward to those berries.  While the dogs have always enjoyed picking berries, they have begun to use their speed and furred bodies as a means to hording the berries, believing they should not be made to share their wonderful discovery. 


Nokomis & Mahoosuc eating berries

As I round the corner of the field to the first patch of berries, they rush to the bushes stripping the ripe berries from the branches, watching over their shoulders for when I will arrive.  By the time I get to the berries, the low hanging fruit is gone.  I must pick deeper into the brush, carefully avoiding the thorns.  The dogs watch my hand and as I am about to pick a berry, a nose will arrive, driving thorns into my hand which must be withdrawn as they gleefully eat my intended target.  I give up on this patch and move on. 

The next patch is near the swimming hole and half the pack is in the water by the time I arrive at the bushes.  The other half is already at work eating berries.  Here I have an advantage – the bushes are thicker and deeper and some of the biggest, sweetest berries are further back and higher up.  Here I can find ten or so mouth-watering berries.  As I go to eat them, though, I find the eyes of the old dog staring at me; she has been cooling herself in the water and has not been eating berries.  “Will you share?  I am not as able as the others,” her eyes say.  Of course I do.   Once the thieves and beggars are done, I have only a few berries left of my own.  But I savor the flavor all the more for the joy we share in the hunt and of the glorious day we have been given together.

The dogs all lined up at the berry bushes

GreatMountain Chinooks

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Dogs: | Baxter | Trav'ler | Baring | Moxie | Chocorua | OtterCharley |
| Nokomis | Ripley | Mahoosuc | Jackman | Redington | Strider |

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