Welcome, friends! You may have seen many photographs and videos of our expeditions on our website, Facebook and elsewhere on the internet credited to Angus Mill, and I’m sure some of you have often wondered whom this photographer/adventurer is that has followed me across the Arctic capturing some of these fantastic images of me and the dogs. Well, let me introduce you to the man behind the scenes - Angus Mill
Angus, capturing images of the dogs in their environment.
Here’s a shot I took of Angus last year at the beginning of his five week expedition with me and the team.
Here he is in front of his tent on a fine spring day.
Here’s a shot of Angus participating in the evening chores. Yes, that is dog crap he’s scraping off the bottom of the sleds. A must-do chore every evening!!
When you see an Alaskan malamute during a hard pull you will see the happiest dog alive. He or she doesn’t know the limit to their strength. They pull with every muscle fiber in their bodies backed up with an iron will and stubborn determination. In fact, they don’t know that they have a limit to their strength, and they haven’t any idea the incredible amounts of weight they are pulling. All they know is that they are doing what they were born to do, and pleasing the person they love, and having a blast doing it.
One of my favorite quotes – “Ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things because they didn’t know they couldn’t.”
If you know no boundaries, then you know no limits. Now, if we modified that- “Alaskan malamutes have accomplished extraordinary things because they didn’t know they couldn’t.”we tap into a malamute’s psyche. Malamutes are not aware of any limits. They believe their strength and stamina is invincible. Of course we humans know better, and it’s up to us dog trainers, owners, and mushers to nurture their way of thinking and not abuse it or take advantage of it in a way that pushes them past their natural limits and abilities, to accomplish a personal goal. This is the foundation and training platform that I use, and is the key to a happy and healthy freight dog.
Here’s a photo of the 2012 team taking a break in February. All of our 23 dogs did a great job this year. We traveled nearly consecutively every day for three months and the team was just as enthusiastic on the last day as our first. It’s a true testament to the resilience and stamina of the Alaskan malamute.
Arctic Alaska is a dynamic place comprising various landscapes. From the jagged peaks of the Brooks Range, to the rolling North Slope foothills and tussock-laden tundra, to the fractured turquoise sea ice – the arctic is without a doubt a place of great diversity. Naturally, these different types of terrains bring with them their own special obstacles and hardships when it comes to traveling with a dog team.
Joe and our malamutes have about 30 years of experience traveling both the Arctic Coast/North Slope as well as the Brooks Range mountains, so we wanted to share with you some of the main differences. The table below summarizes some of the pros and cons of mountain and coastal travel.
*** Mountains ***
*** Coastal ***
Both settings are amazing aesthetically, but the mountains are definitely more of a physical challenge for Joe and the team and a major technical feat in the realm of dog sled travel. Overall, the mountains are Joe’s favorite place to explore with our malamute team.
Where would you rather travel – the mountains or the coast?