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!