Welcome to Rain Mountain
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What's a Chinook --
Meet the Family --
Getting Your Chinook--
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Top of this Column - Holly & Leschi, Mother and daughter, on a beautiful day in the Cascades.
Above - Tatoosh, Holly's granddaughter, from the 2003 Repeat Litter of Rain Mountain Jenna and WoodsRunner Rorik. Tatoosh went east as a baby to Granite Hill Chinooks in New Hampshire to join the Donais family & their breeding program.
Right top - Rain Mountain Kutaan Taaku shows the assortment of Chinook ears, with one down & one helicopter. After two litters Taaku is now enjoying retirement with Mike Choy and Chinook roommate, Chaka.
Right center - Rain Mountain Tonasket Thunder & my roommate of many years, Chad Peterson. The two of them had daily wrestling matches as if they were both pups, long after both were grown adults.
January 2009, rare photo of me taken by Daphne Lewis, with the house and dog pen in the background. A bad hair day and I'm squinting from the glare of the clouds and reflection off the snow. I'm rarely seen outside in daylight without sunglasses but we'd just stepped out of the woods.
Welcome to Rain Mountain
Powerful, Healthy, & Sweet for Pet, Show, and Recreation
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Rain Mountain is the oldest/longest still-active breeder of Chinooks in the Western US
and one of the oldest in the world.
Rain Mountain Chinooks isn't a physical place or being. Raising, showing, gliding over the snow on a dog sled, or rambling down a dirt trail on a rig or hike, as well as just living with Chinook dogs has been my hobby for over twenty-five years. Chinooks are a rare American breed originally developed for sledding. These days, however, they are finding their place as the near-perfect suburban family pet and outdoor companion on weekends.
There never has been a huge kennel facility and never will be. They're my pets and companions. Chinooks like to be with their people. For twenty years the Chinooks and I lived in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle but in fall of 2008 we moved north to a gorgeous woods of old cedars near the town of Stanwood. (More on that below.) They do make a great suburban pet so please don't feel that you need to move to the Great North Woods in order to have your own. Here, the dogs enjoy running the trails through the woods and hunting for no-see-ums under the leaves. But they did these same activities in our former suburban backyard. They all think they should be allowed to sleep on my bed in the comfort of the house at night, which is why I limit the number of Chinooks I live with to the number that can fit on my bedroom floor; typically that means four or five primary dogs and a few visitors. All our pups are born here in the house and spend their first two months underfoot before venturing to their own homes where they are likewise loved and catered to.
For the first fifteen years after I was out of college, I worked as a writer in the high tech industry, penning such exciting pieces as, "The Parallel Development of Voltmeters and Calibration Instrumentation from World War II to Present". I found that it was far more fun to write about dogs, hence my time as editor of the award winning Chinook Quarterly (national newsletter of the Chinook Owners Association, UKC parent club of the Chinook) and later as the dog breeding columnist for a regional canine-oriented newspaper. Once I learned how to put together websites, I was in heaven with my own soapbox for all things Chinook. Warning, I'm always long winded.
A quick note for those of you browsing here. This website is be best viewed with a full screen. I'm a bit inept with HTML coding so things won't always line up correctly if you're using a reduced size viewing area. I also have tried to downsize photos but there may be some old ones that will take a while to load if you're not using a broadband connection. Since I'm a computer geek by trade (though NOT a web developer), I'm spoiled by having broadband back to times when most people didn't even know what the Internet was. Please do drop me a note if you find a link that isn't working (other than those I've noted as not yet being up and running).
Thank you for your interest in Chinooks and for visiting the Rain Mountain website. I hope you'll enjoy your time here and that you'll find the information you're searching for. Check back often as I add new information. There's more below and on the remaining pages. If you don't find the information you're looking for, don't hesitate to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask.
Rain Mountain Geography
A little more information about Rain Mountain, where we're located and visiting here. As I mentioned, in 2008 I was lucky enough to move to my dream property thanks to the generosity of my friend Colleen McDaniel. I now have a home that is half the size but I'm on a piece of land that is almost six acres, bordered by a stream with its own salmon run and shaded by cedars and Doug firs that tower around 200' or more in height. I'm about ten miles or so from the town of Stanwood as the crow flies, which is my address of record, but most people understand the location better when I tell them that I'm between Arlington and Mount Vernon just off Interstate 5. I'm lucky enough to work from an office in the house, which makes it possible to work fifty miles from everywhere. So now I'm halfway between downtown Seattle and the Canadian border. That comes in handy since my mother's half of the family is all in Canada.
Western Washington and my old and new locations
This is a unique part of the state geographically. First off, in northern Washington state, the Rocky Mountains mesh with the Cascade Mountains along the northern boundary of the state. The Chuckanut Range of the Cascades is the only part that meets the ocean and it does so starting here and northward to the Bellingham area. From where I am to the town of Stanwood, which is on the waterfront, it's almost all downhill. It would be fun to ride a bike there but not back home again. So as you drive north from Seattle to Everett, then to Marysville, you'll climb up to the plateau where I'm located.
The next interesting geographic quirk of this area is that we have no screen whatsoever from the Pacific Ocean's weather and it comes blasting at me right down the Strait of Juan de Fuca at full force. (Sure, there is Camano and Whidbey Islands but they don't provide much more protection than a speed bump; definitely not like a full mountain range such as the Olympic Mountain Range does to the Seattle area further south.) I learned this the hard way the first few months I was here when the winds off the Pacific collided with those out of Canada and I had 30" of snow dumped on me. I was stuck here for thirteen days, missing Christmas with my family. Thank goodness for great neighbors and lots of projects around the house. So the climate up here can be totally different than anywhere else. We have winds up here that are worse than elsewhere in the general Snohomish County area. If you're familiar with the drive up to the Canadian border, I'm on the plateau just before you drop down into the Skagit Valley, famous for its daffodils and tulips.
Weather coming in off the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca
slams right into us at the Rain Mountain Slug Ranch
Visiting the Rain Mountain Slug Ranch
You are very welcome to visit here and meet my current crop of pets and talk with me about what litters I have planned, what pups I might be placing (since I may have some coming to me from stud service agreements or from females that I co-own who are being bred), and any adult dogs that are available for placement. Adult Chinooks make wonderful pets. They readily transfer their love and affection to a new owner and new family and since they are long lived for a dog their size (typically 13 to 15 years), a dog that is being retired from life as a brood bitch or show dog will still have a long life ahead of them. I am pretty flexible on my time since I work from a home office but I do have to at least put in an approximate of the basic Monday through Friday work week. If you're going to be passing through the area and the only time we can meet is during the week, let me know and we'll work something out. But otherwise, let's try for an evening or weekend.
Please let me know also how many will be in your group. Most of the time I'll meet you outside so we can hang out with the dogs maybe even take them for a walk on the perimeter trail. When the weather isn't good, of course we'll go inside but the house is quite small. If you're bringing children, keep in mind that my Chinooks are VERY friendly and will want to wash their faces. Taga (shown standing up against the six foot fence at left) is more than 26" at the shoulder so he looks right into the eyes of children up to at least six years old or more. Small kids might be intimidated by the height and friendliness of the dogs. The worst thing that has happened is someone (my own niece) being scratched by a toenail or being knocked on their bum. Think very carefully if your children are old enough to go eye to eye with a big dog. I know a lot of two year olds that think having their face washed by a big friendly Chinook is the greatest thing ever and others that were scared to death. I want your child to be one of the ones that thinks it's the greatest so if that means leaving them behind until you can bring home a smaller puppy, then so be it.
For visits other than the annual picnic, when you come up to the gate, if you have a dog with you, please leave it in your car until we've agreed it's the right time to bring it out. Otherwise, chaos can ensue. My dogs are very friendly both to humans and most dogs they meet but there are times when things can go sideways. I hate to think that an overly friendly dog could scratch a child with a waving paw and thick Chinook toenail. I may have a female in season that I don't want to get out and said female may be just dying to do just that and looking for the slightest opportunity to dive through your legs in the commotion of a new dog coming in.
I love having visitors and I'm just a mile and a half off the interstate and very easy to find. So if you're in the neighborhood and want to come by, please drop me a note. I'm sure you can understand that I don't publish my address but once we've confirmed our visit, I will give you directions (GPS systems want to put you in the middle of a field near by) and my exact address.
The Annual Picnic
Before moving to the the home I have now, I used to have frequent get togethers at my place in Kirkland, especially over the holidays. But now that I'm in a small place that's half the size of my former home, it's a heck of a lot easier to have friends over in the summer when the weather is nice and we can get together outside for picnics and barbecues. Starting in 2009, the first full summer I lived here, I began throwing a picnic on the second Saturday in August for all the Chinooks in the Northwest. Folks had fun and the word spread until it was officially the Annual Western Chinook Picnic, held every year on the second Saturday in August. Chinook owners come from as far away as southern California, Montana, southern Idaho, and all over Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia for the day. We get together to eat, drink a few beers or a couple glasses of wine, eat some good burgers and brats and plenty of desserts, and talk until the stars come out. Some folks pitch tents here and others will stay in local hotels or camp at nearby state parks, making a weekend out of it. There are always a few people who are just here to meet the dogs for the first time and talk to other owners so they can decide if this is the right breed for them as well. Since Chinooks and kids go together, we always have a few kids around too.
If you would like to be added to the email list for the next picnic, please email Ginger Corley and ask to be added to the Western Chinook Picnic List. As mentioned above, my address isn't published but if you ask to attend the picnic, it will be included with the picnic invitation and directions (GPS systems and mapping programs almost all want to put you in the middle of a field of cattle rather than routing you to the correct driveway; this is an improvement since there used to be buffalo in that field and they weren't as friendly as the cattle are about you being lost; moral of the story is read the directions).
Seriously, A Slug Ranch?
Some people ask why I call the place the "Slug Ranch" rather than just Rain Mountain. Well, Rain Mountain is our kennel name that has been with me from Kirkland days and will be with me wherever I move after I leave here, if I ever do. But this place truly is a slug haven if there ever was one. They are everywhere. Whenever I'm trying to do my usual Poop Patrol, half the time I'm trying to scoop up slugs, they are that big. So I either carry around a salt shaker (salt kills them instantly) or I just plain pick them up and chuck them into the woods. If there were a commercial use for slugs, I'd be rich. Or if I could convince the dogs to eat them. They like to roll on them sometimes but not eat them. And if you're wondering what this really has to do with Chinooks, not much other than explain why I call this place the Slug Ranch. You just need to walk around after a rain and you can see them with every step. Heck, even in the middle of summer when we haven't had a rain in weeks (the secret of western Washington is that we have two seasons, either the constant rains of fall, winter and spring or the no rain at all of summer when it turns into a dust bowl and we natives moan and groan about the moss between our toes starting to die off) you can see them all over here. If the dogs weren't such good hunters, I'd get some ducks or geese to control them but instead I've made peace with them.
though, I'm rather lucky that where I am now I'm in the "Rain Shadow"
of the Olympic Mountains. That means that when the rain clouds come in
over the Pacific from the west they bump into the Olympic Mountain
range and hop over them, leaving a gap before they land and dump their
water on the city of Seattle. So parts of the northeastern
Olympic peninsula (like the town of Sequim), Whidbey Island, the San
Juans, and Camano Island (just a few miles from me) only get 22 inches
a year of rain compared to Seattle's 38 inches of rain per year. Contrary to popular opinion, there are several cities in the US that get far more rain than Seattle. What we do have is a high number of cloudy days, though again there are cities with more of these as well.
Copyright © Ginger Corley, Rain Mountain Chinooks, 1988 to present. No material may be reproduced without permission, though permission is usually granted. Logo by Susan Fletcher, Frontier Chinooks, used here with permission and much appreciation of her great talent.
Rain Mountain Times is published when we get around to it.
Copyright © 1998 to Present, Rain Mountain Chinooks