Sunday, November 06, 2011

More pictures from the Whites

First sled run in the Whites

We took our first sled trip out to the White Mountains last week, which marks our long overdue change in training. No more running in circles, tough pulling on the four wheeler, which I am proud to say I only turned the engine on twice, both times to slow them down on a couple gnarly down hills. Now our training will switch to alternate longer camping trips, and short heavy-loaded wood hauling runs. This is great because that means soon, we can just GO.

The “new” dog truck (Thank you again Bob Hauer) should be out of the shop soon and then it will be “look out Alaska here comes the Cosmic Canines!”

There is only a little bit more snow in the Whites, as there is here in Two Rivers, so it’s still a little bit rough. I am thankful to those low snow years I spent in Homer learning to mush now. Those are the skills I was tapping into to keep even a small team together.

Most of the trails are good there are just a couple tore up hills with alternating deep ruts and overflow that you have to keep on your toes for in between Lee’s Cabin and Moose Creek. Otherwise we broke trail all the way from Wickersham to the junction of the Haystack Trail. Then we traveled in the track of one solitary trapper on a snow machine. Looked as if he just put out his Marten Traps, and on the way back he already had one in a set.

There is not much of a snow hook hold except running for a random tree with your hook. So we focused on them waiting for me. Much as if they would do if we were setting out those traps on the line. I tell you when to stop; I tell you when to go. All of our survival depends on it.

While we taking a break at Moose Creek Cabin, I noticed all of the dogs ears perk at attention, they were focused on the center of the large meadow where the cabin is located. I noticed something silver trot to the path we had just come in on. Before I could register in my head, “Hey! A wolf!” along came a larger black one, and then another large sliver one. They sniffed around our trail and then checked us out pretty good before continuing on through the meadow.

Some say seeing wolves is “good medicine.” In any case, both the dogs and I thought it was pretty cool. Mushing in general is good medicine as far as we're concerned.

All in all I thought it was an awesome run. The dogs look great, nice and steady and tuning in. Jupiter and Black got their turn in lead and Jupiter really shined. He’s a fine big 65lb boy who has powerful speed and the strength and size to keep the whole team moving with him.

Borealis also stood out in this trip. At 14 months he is the youngest in the race team. He’s another big 65lb boy who handled his first camping trip like a pro. He ate up the trail, taking it all in like it was nothing.

It’s nice to be traveling again. All the hard work and routine of our fall training is finally giving fruit to what it’s all about. Getting out there!