Day 10 – Shawn Goggins

Good some time of day or night ATAO kennel viewers/readers. I have been in Alaska for 10 days. This is a whole new world, shining, shimmering, splendid….Sorry. Currently I am in Palmer, AK and there are mountains on the horizon all the time. This is an unusual sight to see, and a sight that I keep mistaking for dark clouds. Remembering they are mountains is like…hm…I’m not good with metaphors…but looking up and following their curves to the clouds is still a new and awe-inspiring realization every day.


There are also Boreal Forest’s here, which is cool biome that I’m thoroughly enjoying exploring. Today I made Will spend a good chunk of time combing through a patch of forest that I thought I had seen a Lobaria lichen in. I took a collection, but I’m not sure which lichen it is quite yet. I did however find two friendly Cladonia lichens. These are my favorite because they have adorable basal squamules with trumpet like structures (podetia) that shoot upwards and have a tiny party. Not the last part about the party, but I love these cuties. Sorry for those who fell asleep in this paragraph.

I got too excited back there. I meant to set up some cool aspects of Alaska, i.e. mountains and lichens, and transition that excitement and passion into compliments for Will. Smooth transition. *High five.


Will has been working everyday to plan for and improve her kennel. I see the countless hours she spends on this project. She also talks my ear off about all of her plans, hopes, and fears. Her excitement for the kennel comes with waves of fear. The last 17 years of Will’s life have been dedicated to building enough experience and knowledge to venture into this moment. The incredible support of so many people has been indispensible in helping tip the scales away from fear and into excitement. I would like to briefly thank the following people for their incredible support.


  1. The Troshynski’s! I am so grateful to Jeanne and Jerry Tro who have been nothing but welcoming, kind, and generous. Thank you both so much. Mr. Jack Tro has managed to remain aloof, but legend has it he coughed somewhere in his abode the other day.


  1. The Millers & Adsits! A very important thank you to Margret and Michael. You opening your home, and making space for us over the last week has been greatly appreciated. Also your obvious care for Will is noted and appreciated.


  1. The Darnell’s. I only met you two once, but I saw that you treated Will like family and graciously welcomed me into your home as well. Your support and care for Will lifted my heart. Thank you Pam and Daryl for donating so many necessary supplies to the kennel. I can’t wait to take a ride on that sled!


  1. The Buser’s. I was in awe to meet you both. Over the last year, Will has told me many stories of how Martin taught and encouraged her to mush. Kathy and Martin, the owners of Happy Trails Kennel, and 4X Iditarod champions worked a deal with ATAO Kennel so that we have 4 beautiful puppies. I can’t comprehend how much of an important moment that is for Will to start her kennel with puppies from the family that started her mushing in the first place. So, thank you.


  1. Mom and dad – The Goggins clan. I love and miss you two very much way out in the Midwest. I can’t wait for your first visit to Fairbanks. In the mean time I appreciate how much love and generosity has been given to both Will and me. That mean’s the world.


At last, there are more thank you’s that I have for friends and supporters of the kennel. To everyone who has made these last 10 days of transition into Alaska so amazing…THANK YOU!


We now have some devilishly cute and hungry puppies at the ATAO kennel. For those who are able, donations are greatly appreciated. Like and share the ATAO kennel page and spread the word of Musher Will!