Hello, everyone! The team and I have arrived home safe and sound and I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude to our expedition sponsors, past and present, for their support. Because of you, our expeditions have been a great success, especially the 2013 expedition which was one of the most challenging yet successful expeditions I have ever conducted. And of course, I want to thank my wife, Andrea, for enduring my absence for the coldest three months of winter and taking care of the dogs I left at home because they were either retired or too young to partake in the expedition. Also, I feel very blessed and thank the good Lord for another opportunity to travel with such a fine team of dogs. They did a fantastic job!
During the 2013 solo expedition the team and I experienced one of the heaviest snow falls on Alaska’s North Slope that I can recall in the past 30 years. With snow depth ranging between 2 and 5ft, the 23-dog team and I traveled for three months into areas of Alaska’s Brooks Range where never in recorded history has a dog team traveled in winter, proving again that a freighting team can be trained to break trail in unlimited snow depth while pulling seemingly impossible loads. I saw incredible country and I am still struck by how vast, rugged, and untouched the Brooks Range is, even after exploring the area for almost 3 decades. Also, I discovered and documented some new geologic features which will hopefully result in a published report for the State of Alaska.
During the expedition I took a total of 4,500 digital photos of both landscape and dogs, so I have quite a job ahead of me sorting and categorizing them. In the meantime, here are a few statistics from the 2013 Expedition that I thought would be interesting to share:
Temperatures (with wind-chill)
Above 0°F (40 days)
0°F to -25°F (15 days)
-26°F to -50°F (26 days)
-51°F to -75°F (19 days)
Incidents of frostbite
For the first 7 days of the expedition, the sun never rose above the horizon.
Number of times I put a harness on a dog
Approximately 2000+ times (thank goodness they don’t require booties!)
Miles traveled on an established trail system
Zero! As always, we make and break our own trail as we go. There aren’t any trails out there anyway!
Snowshoes worn out beyond repair
Number of people/signs of human activity observed during the expedition
Number of food drops or resupplies
Range of ages of the 23 dogs on the 2013 Expedition team
2.5 to 12 years old
15 (all intact)
8 (1 spayed) – Note: the females went into season almost one at a time which lasted for 5 consecutive weeks. Needless to say, the males howled for 5 weeks straight. No joke.
Number of injuries/casualties (dogs)
Number of injuries (Joe)
Amount of kibble consumed
35 lbs/day of kibble mixed with oil. For 23 dogs, that’s 1.5 lbs/day per dog. I attribute their relatively low food consumption to good metabolism maintained through a carefully managed breeding program. They stayed healthy and actually gained fat over the duration of the expedition.
If you can think of any other statistics you’d like to hear about, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll address it. In the meantime, I’m going to demobilize, decompress, and get some time in with my two favorite girls.