I put Puck and Hazel in lead (they are both two year olds who have run in lead together for me with few problems before) with six yearlings, my boy Strider and an older "reliable" leader named Kitty Cat in the team as back up. We hadn't even left the yard when Puck and Hazel started fighting. I ran ahead, untangled them and called for them to keep going. Instead they turned into the bushes. Just getting out of the yard is the big thing because out on the trail they usually settle down, but leaving home with 100 dogs barking like mad all around them is distracting and it's a common place for a clusterf**k to happen. So on the short 100-metre route to the main trail I had to stop the team about six times to line them out. By the seventh time I was sweating (at minus 30, I was sweating!) and, to my chagrin, felt defeated. The yard wasn’t even out of sight. I put every other dog I had in lead and no one would move forward. Strider simply lay down and then my "reliable" leader balked and tangled the team for the millionth time in about 10 minutes. My instinct was to just go back because on top of my dog problems, the four-wheeler wasn't starting right leaving the yard. But I continued on, metre by metre, trying to keep my cool and encourage the team. Anyway, I kept switching dogs until finally I ended up with Puck and Hazel in lead again. We made it about 20 minutes down the trail when Hazel saw a booty on a downhill and, at first, trotted right past it. A second later she decided she would like to eat it and turn around (on a downhill) to get the booty. The run went on like this for about an hour,(notice my leaders turned around) with me stopping about every five minutes to untangle, freak out and swear at the sky. By then, the four-wheeler had completely stopped working and the dogs had to pull-start it whenever we stopped. At least I was able to keep warm by constantly jumping off the machine and running up the line to fix the dogs. Eventually I realized that my state of mind was the problem and calmed down. Anyway, the trip home was much better (it always is) and little Kitty Cat came through eventually when, out of shear desperation, I tried her in lead again. We got home eventually and were treated to a nice sunset.
Last night I covered the Top of the World Classic (NCAA Division I) basketball tournament for a newspaper in Missouri. It was cool covering such a big event with lots of media and people who think they're important.
I got home from the game at around 11 p.m. and had to write the article. I was up until 3:30 a.m. writing and had to get up at 7 a.m. this morning to go to a gun course that I signed up for some time ago. The course is a two-day workshop on how to shoot handguns (revolvers and semi automatics). Ok. How can I put this lightly? Alaska scares me sometimes. I'm taking this course so that if I'm out on the trail with the dogs and a moose decides to attack, I can defend them. That's all. That's the only reason. The other people in the course were there to defend themselves or their motor homes or whatever. I'm serious. It's really creepy. One woman said she was a homemaker and a mother of six and that she had "had some encounters with some people" in the past. So now what? She wants to shoot them? The best part was the video. It starred some washed up actors including the beefy, moustache brother from Simon & Simon. It was a video about women and guns. (Scary, right?) The woman in the show wanted to learn how to shoot to protect herself but, of course, before she could learn anything, she had to have ear protection to match her sweater and she made plans with the other lady shooters to go shopping after a day at the range. I was definitely laughing (and snorting) the loudest but we all had a good chuckle. We had a two-hour lecture by Joe Alaska Cop who talked about gun laws and when it’s OK to shoot someone. (I'm not even close to kidding) We looked at different kinds of guns, opened them up, felt around...At one point at I was holding a Glock and just had to laugh. Tomorrow we actually get to shoot live rounds and have to take a test. Then we can get a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Scary, RIGHT? Yeah. Man, this place is so whack it's dope. (Not really. Sam read that line in a magazine article and we laughed and laughed.)
Check out www.angryalien.com (Chris, you'll love this). It's all your favourite movies reenacted in 30 seconds. BY BUNNIES! Hil-larious. Seriously funny stuff. The unbleeped Resevior Dogs is my fav, although Jaws kills me too.
So that's it. I leave for Whitehorse on Tuesday or Wednesday and will try to post some photos of the debauchery that's sure to ensue back in Canuckland (Sans handguns of course.)