10.0 Miles Saturday 12-1-12

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6.8 MPH avg, 1.40 total and 1.28 moving hours

(YES, yet another ___.0 distance run!)

This morning I wasn’t sure I was even going to run them at all… I was tired (Yes, I STILL AM THE WEAKEST LINK!) and it sounded like it was pouring down rain outside.  Thankfully it was just the metal roof on Pam’s house, and when I put them out in the yard to stretch their legs, they didn’t look tired at all!  So, after changing my mind a multitude of times, we ended up running with Dave and James, who was running Connie’s 4 dogs (while she waited at the campground in her bright yellow jacket and shiny metal WALKER!  We Love You Connie and look so forward to being out on the trails with you again soon!)  Dave and James took off a few minutes before we did, and we caught up to them by the open gate.  I had asked Dave to not pass today because I was concerned about Tkope’s manners (especially with one of Dave’s dogs who likes to “visit” other teams sometimes), but it quickly became evident that we would be passing and it would be fine.  My STERN musher voice was used on several occasions to tell him ON BY, and he seemed to grasp the importance of listening and did so pretty well.  He had a couple of stare downs and one face to face with Dave’s leaders who had come around my team when we were discussing which way to go from there, and with nice calm talk from me, held it together and didn’t let his uneasiness at being that close to a strange dog get the “best” of him.  He wasn’t relaxed, but he didn’t use any “distance increasing signals” after a less than stellar pass of Connie’s team (where he told Jake to back off…please?!).  Later in the run we drank out of the same puddle and he “held it together” again.  This weekend ended up having some really great passing training for him, and even though he has a ways to go, I’m trusting him more and more to not cause any problems.  I think the calm talk is a tool that works best with him, but theoretically he will not get close enough to other teams for me to need that tool.  We both have plenty to learn. 

So we continued under the power lines and went East for quite a ways until reaching barbed wire in one direction and a steep hill that I knew we couldn’t safely come back down in another direction, so we turned around there.  I was REALLY REALLY impressed with both Galena and Tana’s leading this weekend.  They were on the hunt just a couple times and nothing too severe UNTIL we were coming back down at the steepest part of the road.  We were approaching the big turn and I knew we were going a bit fast for it (especially since there’s a steep drop off if you don’t make the turn!) so was in the process of slowing down when we looked down the road and saw not one, but TWO suicidal squirrels run across and down the steep embankment on the other side…the same steep embankment I was trying to avoid!  Galena and Tana flew off the edge and down about 5’ while I was skidding sideways without much control and finally realized that if I turned the wheels towards the high bank, that would stop us if needed.  When I got even with where my “trusty” leaders were, the gangline was angling backwards up the road, and we came to a “gentle stop” just as Dave was coming down.  He didn’t see the craziness, just my ATV and gangline sprawled across the entire road! 

The rest of the run back was smooth, and we pulled up to the truck again happy and a bit more tired than yesterday.  Lance, Cicely and Galena had slowed some on the trail (with loose tugs) and Tkope laid down with Cicely soon after we stopped.  They all laid down and went to sleep fairly quickly after undressing them and putting them on the truck.  They could have gone farther and still had some gas left, but we were happily finished for the day.

We made the difficult decision to come home a day early because the forecast was for 5-11” of snow on the way, with more snow forecast for the next several days.  I brought my sled home in hopes of being on it in a week or so.  Having survived the snow on an ATV, I’m less terrified to be on the sled behind 6 dogs now!  I am looking forward to getting that first official snow run behind us, and feeling the power of my little team.  I’ll be practicing packing the sled, making more booties (our Velcro arrived while we were gone), and a bunch of other things in this coming week.  There’s not much time left to tie up all the little loose ends, especially with more training and, oh yes, work!  We are so happy about this past weekend, and looking forward to the next time out!




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