Here's a quick overview of our weekend in Denali and you can decide if you want to keep reading.
Sick on the way there, wind blowing my sled off the highway, 30 miles, camping, cold, windy, 15 more miles, sick on the way home, Sunday night in the outhouse at 20 below having issues at both ends, don't eat egg salad from a gas station in Healy.
Well, I'm just now recovering from my bout with food poisoning. Um, I won't get into the gory details, but Sunday night was one of my top three worst nights of my life. Thank Jebus we were home at least, although I did force Sam to make a few unscheduled stops between Nenana and home. Ok, enough poop talk.
We got to Cantwell late Saturday morning and while Sam and Mark set up camp, I hooked up the dogs and took off. We did 31 miles in three hours and 20 minutes and they handled it really well. Oh, I should mention that when I said I did back-to-back 30s earlier in the week, I was wrong. This time I brought my GPS and realized my previous 30-milers were actually only about 23. So this time I actually did 30. As the sun went down it got really cold and the wind picked up. The gusts were so strong my sled was getting blown all over the place. The dogs put their heads down and pushed through the wind like champs. Back at camp, I laid out straw, fed them, massaged sore muscles and feet, and bedded them down before retreating to the heated tent for salmon and rice that Sam made for us. The next day I decided to do a faster, 15-mile run sans Parker who was still a little sore. I let Mark, who has lived in Alaska all of his 45 years and never been on a dog sled, drive the team for a few miles. Then it was Sam's turn and then I hopped out of the basket and onto the runners for the remainder of the run. After, we hung around by the fire, ate lunch and then took off for home around dark (3:30 p.m.). It's still cold, about 25 below F, but I'll take the dogs out today for shorter, faster run. We took all the dogs to Cantwell including the oldie (Ruffles), the fatty (Gus) and the puppy (Roy). Roy just ran around bothered everyone, Gus was pretty chill and Ruffles spent most of her time huddled in the cab of the truck trying to stay warm. I put a fleece dog coat on her and we eventually let her in the tent to warm up. The trail was good but pretty hard packed from all the snowmachine traffic, so it was a little hard on joints. The weather was good except for the wind and there wasn't too much traffic on the trails. A couple other dog teams and a few snowmachiners and that's it.
I got bad news about lil' Roy. My vet said because he was so malnourished at such a young age that his joints are deformed and he'll never run in harness for more than a few miles. Looks like we have another couch dog.
Here's Mark driving the team with me in the basket.
Roy running circles around the team as I'm trying to hook them up.
Me and the team and the mountains.
I never get tired of mushing through the mountains.
Me again with the team.
Me on the second day.
Sam on the runners and me in the sled. Brrr.