13.9 Miles Thursday 11-29-12

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4.9 MPH avg, 3.15 total hours, 2.49 total moving

May not sound very impressive, but this was a terrific run for us!  We drove to Camp K today expecting rain and were greeted with ~ 1” in camp, ~ 3” on most of the trail and up to 10” at the furthest part of our run.  Add that to an ATV with two different sizes of back wheels and no motor, causing us to rely only on braking power to slow down on slick surfaces and our “downhills” were “downright” scary…at least to me!  The dogs were loving every minute of it!  It was possibly Tkope’s first time to see snow, and both he and Cicely’s first time to run in it. They much prefer it to mud, although we had quite a bit of that too!  Today was a lesson in “Up, Up, Up” and “Easy, Easy, Easy”!  I still hear Martin Buser’s voice in my head when I’m on the verge of panicking going too fast and about to lose control and wanting desperately to slow down the team.  Having attended his Open House pre-Iditarod 2008, he talked about how important it is to control your voice when you’re wanting to slow your dogs down instead of allowing the pitch and loudness to just keep increasing, which is what’s natural.  I was, thankfully, able to keep my voice under control and my team listened beautifully, even though it would have been MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE FUN to FLY DOWN THOSE HILLS for them!  But, a dead musher is a heavy musher, so they helped me stay alive!  LOL!  We ran out of Camp K and started with the 4 dog loop going up the big hill, then down “Connie’s Cliff” to the bridge, and up and over the “Best Hill Ever”.  Then we went under the power lines and up towards the Horse Corral/Lollipop but veered Gee, going up and up and up over the ridge and around a bowl and down the other side to the Forest Roads marked “Big Creek” and “North Ridge”.  That was as far as we’ve been before, which was on a sled, as there was no trail groomed from there, but today we were able to follow it up and up and up some more until it was clear that the ride down was going to be treacherous enough, so we turned around and started heading down.  It’s actually a good thing there was 10” of snow up there because it allowed me some more traction both for the tires and for my Left Foot, which I was dragging with every muscle fiber I had to slow us down.  When I put the brakes on too tight/too long, we skidded severely to the R, so I got pretty decent at using that to my benefit to keep us in the ruts and from going over the edge.  When we got back down to the Y, my arms were pretty much noodles, having relied on them quite a bit going downhill.  We didn’t have the miles I wanted to do yet, so we headed towards the Horse corral/Lollipop and looped back to camp.  It was getting dark and I figured that would be too much to deal with as I needed all the forward sight I could have to give me time to slow down sufficiently without traction, and by the end, without much braking power.  We decided to stay with Pam, as “The Weakest Link” only had gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before and was pretty exhausted.  They really do fine on campouts, and learning to sleep on a picket will be an easy thing I think, so there was no need to have them sleep out in the rain tonight.  Didn’t seem like a very nice reward for all their wonderful work and listening.  They slept cozily in their boxes  : )  I am SO PROUD OF MY TEAM!!!!!!  They NEVER cease to amaze me!!!!!!!  They have overcome such obstacles (including a musher with so very much to learn) and rise above every single challenge that comes their way!  They inspire me every day!

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