Legend has it that Iditarod musher Jeff Deeter is half wolverine; that he can out-shoot and out-cuss any Sourdough worth their hot cakes, and that, once, he caught the aurora, if only for a moment, while running his dogs beneath the arctic night. Deeter began mushing when he was 14, ran his first Iditarod when he was 19, and is fully invested in the world of sled dogs. He and his wife, KattiJo, live in Fairbanks and own and operate Black Spruce Dog Sledding, a home-based tour business that introduces people to the world of sled dogs. He’ll be racing the Iditarod this March and plans to continue doing so “until we run out of money, or it stops being fun. Whatever comes first.”
Check out Jeff and KattiJo’s Black Spruce Dog Sledding operation.
Product descriptions by Jeff Deeter
Dog race rules require every musher to carry an axe with a minimum 22-inch handle. The Estwing does far more than just meet race rules. Over the last 15 years, this axe has cleared dozens of hazardous trees from the trail, tested thin ice, chopped thousands of salmon for the dog team, and even been used as defense from aggressive moose! I never leave home without it.
When it comes to night travel, nothing is more important than a good headlamp. Lupine makes the best on the market. It gives off an extremely clear, white light. Multiple light settings are controlled from a single, easy to press button. Lupine offers a variety of battery sizes, conveniently matching my illumination needs.
Protecting your eyes and face from the elements is a serious concern in remote, winter travel. The placement and quality of a parka ruff is crucial. The intent of the ruff is not only to break the wind and deflect the snow before it hits your face, but also to form a warm pocket of air to keep your corneas from freezing at 55 below. Amanda Gecas, owner of Boundary Fur Sewing, is a lifelong Alaskan well versed in winter travel. Her skills as a furrier have been keeping mushers and winter enthusiasts warm and protected for years. Thanks Amanda!
Warmth and dexterity are two essentials I look for in my gloves. The Heatlok, sold at most Alaskan hardware stores, fits these two needs perfectly. They are also quite reasonably priced. I keep a pair in every jacket and am constantly rotating them as I go about my day in the kennel and on the trail. These gloves are the number one choice among almost all Alaskan dog mushers!
After a long night on the trail, the last thing I want is to struggle with starting a fire. The UCO brand match has been with me for over 20 years now and lights every single time. The flame holds up to 50-mph wind, dense snow, and pouring rain. They light even when wet, and will literally burn under water! They live in my bibs and are at the ready anytime I need them.
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