Since my last post, many things have changed. Shortly after that post a friend mentioned in casual coversation that a friend of his was selling their house in Gausdal (a mountain region west of Lillehammer). The house had a kennel for sled dogs already built and was close enough for Kaia to continue working at the Kindergarten. We were interested but not looking very seriously at moving from Mesnali until after the winter. However, after seeing the place we were very interested! It was beautiful and really as perfect as we could have hoped. The only drawback was that the felt a little small. After taking time to consider the pro's and con's of buying a house and moving ourselves and our dogs before the winter was over, we decided to go for it!
It took some weeks and a lot of work but we are now moved into our house in Gausdal. Kaia still had to work, so I spent a lot of time and energy moving our whole operation from Mesnali to Gausdal. When we arrived in Mesnali in November of last year, all of our belongings fit into one small pickup. It took 4 truckloads and 5 trailers to get all of our belongings and kennel gear from Mesnali to Gausdal! It is amazing how much stuff we mushers have!
We are all settled in now. Our new place is great. It is a very old farm called "Ropphaugen", with trails for training the dogs directly from the yard and no neighbors close enough to get annoyed by the dogs barking during dinner.
Our first night in our new house was also the night of the mushers meeting for the Gausdal Marathon, a 220 km dog sled race that I was signed up for. With moving in and race prep we did not get to bed until nearly 3:00. The race was the next day.
We arrived at the race starting area at around 10:00 and set up my team and sled. I left the starting chute at 13:36. We had a tough race, and it was nearly 11 hours before I reached the half-way point. The dogs were not having fun and at that point neither was I so rather than force the issue I chose to scratch from the race. It was a very disappointing race for me, we have almost 1500 miles of traing this year, and I thought we were ready. Very discouraging.
The dogs are getting some down time now so that I can focus on putting the finishing touches on the kennel, and finish unpacking the house. Next week we are bringing in two very good dogs from the team that was 3rd in the Finnmarksløpet and has won the Gausdal Maraton several times. These are very good dogs and are the beginning of our new kennel. We have many old dogs who are approaching retirement and life on someones couch, so bringing in some really proven quality dogs is a step in the right direction! Thank you Trond Ørslien!
Hope everyone has had a good holiday season!