The team was moving nicely up a side-hilly incline and we got to a junction which we call 'Moose Camp.' So far this year, we've gone left. Today I wanted to go right. Since we got new snow, the trail to the left wasn't even there anymore and the trail to the right was a highway, so I figured it wouldn't be an issue. Instinctively, my leaders - Ku and his son Tim - turned left. I stepped on the brake and told them 'Gee!' They went right. Good dogs. But then they ducked back over to the left. 'No, Ku! Gee!' Ku moved back over but this time, since we had moved forward a little, he and Tim went the wrong way around a big hump topped with a big stump. Dammit. I was now in powder, so there was no setting a hook. Well, Ku and Tim were pointed the way I wanted them to go, so we might just have to climb up and over this stumpy hump. So be it. I call the team up and off we went, each pair going up and over. Easy. Until my wheel dogs, Crush and Doyon got there. They went on either side of the stump and Crush's tugline got caught up. Double dammit. The team came to a stop and before I even realized what I was doing I ran up while the team was still fairly calm (confused) and pulled back on the gangline, releasing Crush's tugline and thus sending the whole operation slingshotting forward. I turned to get ready to catch my sled, got hit with the brushbow and rolled onto the sledbag. I grabbed the handlebar, flopped off the sled and, hand over hand, worked my way back. We were heading downhill so I tipped my sled hoping to create enough drag that the dogs would stop momentarily so I could get back on the runners. They did and I did. Off we went, the dogs with a renewed vigor knowing they had dumped me, and me with a parka full of snow and a huge, embarrassed grin on my face.
These days we still not doing big miles but gradually increasing and just having a bit of fun. I've come to the realization that I have to get a real (read: full time) job. I'm still planning on a entering a couple of races at the end of the season and we're still going to do some weekend tours, but taking the winter off from a full time job is just not feasible right now. I put a lot of pressure on myself and it's made things that I used to love doing very, very stressful. So, I'm taking the stress out and getting back to basics. A 1,000 mile race is still on my radar, but not this year and not next. Meanwhile, we've got all the dogs running and they're having fun, too.
Heading down the Swiss Cheese Trail.
Ku, on the left, cooling off while Tim looks on.
Back in the dog yard checking feet after the run, the alpenglow cast warm tones on the mountains beyond...and on Mr. Lahey...