This week, Joe is making his way back to the Haul Road to meet up with his first client of the season. Brian Brunner, a fellow malamute lover from the beautiful northwestern state of Washington, will be joining the expedition for 10 days.
So, today we have a very special guest post from Brian on why he signed up for an expedition.
WHY would you want to experience 80 below in the most severe, unforgiving environment on earth, the Arctic???
I have been getting asked that a lot the past few weeks as I get ready for my expedition with Joe. When I answer I am not sure anybody hears, because they have that bovine look on their face, trying to detect the first signs of insanity or senility in my face!!! I don’t necessarily want to experience that, but it comes with the territory. What I want to experience once in my life, “bucket list” thing I guess, is a few days with some Alaskan Malamutes totally in their element, still doing what they started doing thousands of years ago. The scenery, physical and mental challenge and time with someone like Joe are all incredible extras for the trip. This I would only do with someone like Joe Henderson.
I have been reading and rereading their website and blogs since I signed up over 12 months ago, every word, and just finished his book, “Malamute Man.” His experiences, incidents with predators, blizzards, open water, etc., make me wonder, “did my mom and dad raise a dummy?” In his book on page 138 it says:
“March’s rich blue skies and bright sun made up for all the blizzards.”
So I’m going with that, it takes the sting out of 99 below, brutal and invigorating!! A friend in Anchorage suggested I start sleeping on the picnic table in the nude to get used to the temps!! My wife Barb offered to hold a fan on me to simulate the wind chill!! So that’s what my friends and wife think of my idea!
I have a footnote on my emails that reads,
“Mals stopped their own evolution in its tracks several thousand years ago, when they looked back at their ancestors, and decided, this is far enough for us!!” Maximus (my 7 yr old male mal)
We currently have 4 rescue mals and our 12 year old yellow lab, the therapy girl for the ones recovering from a rough start with the wrong people.
Three of Brian & Barb’s mals and their lab
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Brian!