Sunday, November 24, 2013

Arrive Alive

Sunday morning and the lack of food in our cupboards had forced me to head out for a big grocery shopping excursion.

I like to shop locally but am forced by my pocket book to head to the bigger city south of us to partake in this weekly ritual.  One that at this time of year leaves me with the sweats as everyone and their grandmother is also doing the same thing... shopping.
However being a beautiful day,  and the promise of talking to my son a couple thousand miles away on the phone at the same time, made this a not so bad chore to do today.

So off I go heading out on the main hiway which was clear and dry today making it easier for me to take in the views and rejoice in the fact that I call this province my home.
The mountains were beautiful today, looking larger than normal with their snow caps reflecting the bright morning sun.

Of course this is not my picture as using my camera would have made it a little dangerous while driving.
My pleasant drive was interupted by some woman in an SUV kissing my ass.  She may as well have been, I swear she was so close I could smell her breath.
Before I could come up with a plan to piss her off she passed me and flew by.  She had to be going at least 20km's over the speed limit, at the very least, as within moments of her passing she was a small dot ahead of me.
Where, WHERE, could she be going that she had to go so fast?  
I suppose a family emergency?  Late to pick someone up from the airport?  While I was compiling the list of reasons in my head to make her recklessness okay (which by the way I could not come up with any that made this alright) I noticed that I was a minority in driving the speed limit.
It seemed to me that 90% of every driver out there today had somewhere to be NOW.
Seriously people.  You are not just putting yourself at risk.  What about those who are sharing the road with you?
Do you not have family that would like to see you arrive home alive?
I do.
Anything can happen. 
Sure you tell me that you are a safe driver and that driving fast is no biggie, your brakes are good, you are experienced... whatever.

ANYTHING can happen.  
And it all happens in a blink of an eye.
I know this from experience as this is a picture of my van after I hit a deer while doing the speed limit.
So if you don't mind I would like to visit with my son who is coming home for the holidays.
I also have plans on hanging out with my entire family this Christmas season.
Not being thrown into a situation that YOU put me in because you just had to be somewhere right now!

I sure as hell do not want to end up here as I am sure your family does not want you here as well.
SLOW down!!!!!   There is nothing and I mean NOTHING that is so important that you must risk my life (or yours) to be there by driving fast and careless to get there.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Perfect Conditions????

I was thinking I should get my butt in gear and work on a blog for our new season of running dogs.
I kept putting it off not sure where to start and what to actually talk about that would interest those who may not have ever stood on runners behind the power of a team of dogs.

It wasn't until today's interesting 'run' and a comment that was sent my way making me chuckle that it was decided this must be shared with others.

The remark was along the lines of...  "too hot, not enough snow, and now too much?  Dog sledding seems to be persnickety!"

Yes, I suppose it is, at least can be.

We do not have our own land to run dogs, unlucky in that we cannot walk out our back door, hook up dogs and just take off for a daily run. 
I wish!!!
Instead we have to load up dogs and drive to various locations in which to let the dogs do what they love to do.

This said we are extremely luck this year in that a friend of mine has opened up her land (at least 3 sections) for us to create our own trails and run whenever we feel like it.  I'm sooo excited about this.
We even  purchased a snow machine in order to groom the trails and have a couple 'musher' friends who will be using the trails and helping us to keep them groomed as well.
However we have two issues that have kept us from our dream training trails.
1. The snow machine is not working at this moment and is waiting for a 'fix'
and .....
2. We just located a trailer in which to move this snow machine.  So up until now it was not even leaving our drive way anyhow.

We do have another piece of land that we have been using as temporary training trails and these are at the race site of the Rosebud Run... it is great that the dogs are used to running here and know the trails very well but the draw back is there is only 3 miles of trail and it can get very boring for the dogs. 
We were running them backwards by the end of last year and will do that again by the end of this week.
Just to keep things interesting.

Keep things interesting???
I just said that?

Who needs to KEEP things interesting when it just happens?

The past few runs for us have been full of drifting and punchy snow conditions, which have kept us running at a very slow pace.
This is fine in how I panned to train my kids this year.
Slow and steady.

With the possible race of 50 miles per day we need to pick up our distance (yay for new trails) but keep them slow and steady for now.
I do not want the kids tearing ahead like bats out of hell to only run out of steam only 15 minutes down the trail.

Today was like training for a slow motion race.

Blizzard conditions kept the snow from building up in one place, and instead moved it around to find something to lean against and then created walls of snow.

There are many places on this particular trail that are chutes made out of snow fences... or snow fences and brush... or just a rise in the earth and brush.... we found them all.

Even after determining there was lots of snow in the starting chute it was still a shock to all of us when we hit snow so deep we almost lost sight of the dogs.
Hubba looking back at me for confirmation moved toward the fence line looking for firm footing only to be caught by the weight of the sled in the deep snow.
After much pushing we were finally freed from the sinking snow to head off onto clearer trails.... at least for a few feet.

There were many piles of snow that we had to get over.... and ice to deal with on the bridge deckings.
All challenges that we dealt with just fine.

Not wanting to hurt the dogs after watching them swim a few times through a couple deep drifts I made the decision to cut the run short and turn the kids at the two mile gate.
Being a dull day with no sunlight the white of the snow seemed to blend in with the horizon and when we got to our turn Hubba made a sharp haw away and off of the trail.
He has been amazing this year listening to every command I give and taking the turns without hesitation.... so I called him back to turn gee... and instead of hitting the trail he turned back to the longer trail...a sharp right.

I once again called haw and he once again turned a sharp left right off the trail and pulling us around a pole.
Ray at this point got out in front of the team calling them to follow him.... however we were now caught up on the pole.
Not tangled, but unable to go forward.    So Ray trudged his way up to the pole and somehow lifted the line over top.
Freed we went forward in Hubba's direction.... a sharp left away from the main trail.
It wasn't until I was beside the trail that it occurred to me the trail was gone.  Buried under a drift that was easily as high as Ray's hip.
Hubba knew what I was asking, and understood the direction to take to get us around the drift... so I let him.

The next obstical I knew about and where we would encounter it.
Between two snow fences and always with very large drifts in there.
I was not disappointed.
Ray had to walk forward pushing his way through (almost hip deep) in order to create a trail for the kids to get through.

We did it... and we were all sweating by the time we were done... I was wishing at this point that Ray could have been ahead of us with the snow machine.

It will be nice to finally be able to run the trails without all the deep drifts that we've had to trudge through.

I love the snow.... and I don't mind the training we are getting in trail blazing.... but a bit of a smooth ride for my kids would be nice about now.

Oh, and don't get me wrong... I'm NOT complaining.  Not at all.
I've loved being able to get out on the runners again (and so early in the season for us).... what I cannot wait for, is being able to have Ray out on the 'iron dog' trail blazing for us... Mush on lead dog Ray!!!!