Roaming with the Mosier Misfits

Last weekend we had the chance to hang out with our friends Colleen and Thad up in Mosier, Oregon (about 7 miles west of Hood River).   They are the proud owners of a sled dog team called The Mosier Misfits.  We talked about starting a photography project documenting their team and finally made our way up to Colleen and Thad's 40 acre property in Mosier.  Of course, we brought our home along with us!

I first met Colleen through her work with The Community Project, a non-profit that is working in Debre Berhan, Ethiopia to build a K-8 school, community garden and community center.   It's an incredible project and definitely worthy of a blog post on it's own (hopefully when Bill and I make it back there one of these years to help volunteer on the project!)   Thad is a software engineer and together they spend much of their free time training their 12 (!) dogs for 6 and 8 dog race competitions.    It's a fascinating sport that I was pretty ignorant about so it's been great to see all the different facets of training a team.

They currently have 11 'active' dogs (who believe it or not, Bill and I can now accurately identify!):  Wax, Flow, Rocket, Disel, Guillermo, Rose, Lilly, Comet, Oscar, Fido and Flash.  There are also three pups living the fabulous retired life - May, Becca and Samuel.   So yes, Colleen and Thad are the proud parents of 14 dogs.    And they are very much part of a big happy family - it's not unusual for all the dogs to come inside their house to hang out for an afternoon.  We got to experience this last sunday - all 14 dogs and 4 adults, hanging out watching football.     

We were able to tag along on two training runs - one with a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call to head up to Frog Lake on Mount Hood.  Unfortunately, it was a rather warm weekend so the snow conditions weren't ideal but it still made for some fun photos!  The second run was a short trek on the road by Colleen and Thad's house. Colleen drove the pilot vehicle to make sure traffic was clear (it's a very rural road with minimal traffic), so Bill and I hung out the back and tried to shoot the dogs in action.   It was a blast.    We are looking forward to following The Mosier Misfits and continue documenting them.    

The team is headed off to two races over the next two weeks, so Bill and I are dog sitting the retirees.  It feels weird to be a big ole house after almost 4 months in the Airstream!   

Thad checking out the snow conditions on the trail.

Getting Ready

Some dogs just can't wait to get going!

Out on the trail.

Thad and May

Sometimes training a sled dog team in Oregon requires a little creativity.

Running in the rain.

Big happy family--smiles all around!

Airstream in the mists of Mosier

Airstream in the mists of Mosier

Morning hike with Inga

Morning hike with Inga