Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Doggone Adventures

I was thinking the other day that we are getting so pro at this dog sledding 'thing' as everything generally runs so smoothly.
Feeling like I could hook up with my eyes closed and following the same routine makes each outing run near perfect.

Until today.

Suppose I was feeling a little cocky and deserved tonights adventure.

The trail right now is fast and icy.
Not bad for training runs getting ready for a sprint race in two weeks time.
However my kids also like the distance and are not satisfied with doing the race trail once so we always run it twice at the very least.
Tonight was no exception and with a little bit of a tangle coming into the truck the first time I was able to get them back out for our second run without too much trouble.

I was on my own and didn't bother putting a sled bag on opting only for a small handle bar bag that carried items such as extra rope and a head lamp.
It was a cold run and the dogs and I were covered in frost as the sun made its way below the horizon leaving us in a dusky light as we made our way over the second last bridge.
At this point Rocky decided he had to poop... so I slowed down for him as he kept squatting and nothing was happening.... the third attempt he ended up slipping his collar in order to stop dead to try and aim for a successful BM for the fourth time.

Groaning I thought to myself... forget it, we only have one more bridge to go and then we are on the home stretch... he can run without a collar.
Which he did happily, tail up bounding along at his own speed, even slowing down to run beside the sled which gave me a chuckle as his face had the look of confused shock prompting him to shoot forward and tighten his tug line.
Running to the truck I praised my kids as I always do, telling them how wonderful they are and that it was snack time.

Tonight was going to be different.

Instead of heading to the truck we ran right past it in order to do the trail for a third time!!!
Now normally I would be whooping and "Good Dawging" it but with Rocky out of his collar I needed to stop everyone and at the very least re-attach Rocky.
I was at level with the back of the truck and for whatever reasoning I had for this I put the snow hook around the hitch instead of the snub line.
Leaving the sled I then walked forward to put Rocky back in his collar.  It was at this point that Elly decided it was time to go and pulled us all forward setting all the other dogs into a frenzied mass of fur which then ripped the snow hook off the truck and propelled the sled forward.
I was at Rocky's side and was thrown into the sled with my one leg going under the front this made Rocky panic and he then ripped himself out of his harness.  So now I had a loose dog with no collar or harness on, tail wagging and tongue hanging out with a smug look on his face.

Elly and Rigby were both screaming to get going again and were pulling me forward with my one leg now caught around the tug line which at one time held Rocky.
Trying to Hang on to the sled, which had no sled bag for a grip, and one hand on the gang line while yelling (or would that be screaming) for Elly to stop must have made for an interesting sight for anyone driving by.
Looking up at the front of the line I saw that Elly had also slipped her collar and it was now hanging down around Hubba's neck putting him into a state of panic as he tried to get away from the object swinging around his face as he also desperately tried to wiggle out of his harness.

I had to think, and think fast as the dogs kept surging me forward in an almost face down position at the back of the team.  Pictures of me being pulled along at top speed with Rocky bounding around the team loose flashed through my mind at this point.
Somehow I managed to pull myself up and quickly let go of everything in order to lunge forward to grab the handle and hit the brake.
Everything was so icy yet I had no choice but to kick the snow hook into the ground as hard as I could so that I would be able to get to the leaders and turn them around to get back to the truck... I would deal with the loose Rocky later.

I let go of the sled and reached down and grabbed the snow hook line that is attached to the front of the sled, the dogs sensing this movement shot forward again ripping the snow hook out of the ground and out of my hands giving me massive rope burn and taking off on me... again I was able to catch the sled and once more stopped the now crazed dogs.
My last resort now was to let the dogs run forward until I reached the starting gate which gave me something to tie my snub line to.  I also dug the snow hook into the ground here for added security.
At this point I unhooked each dog individually and brought them back to the truck.
All the while Rocky was prancing around following me back and forth to the truck.

I loved that they wanted to go again and if it wasn't for my wandering Rocky we would have.
I also love the fact that Rocky actually stuck around and came to me when it was his turn to be hooked to the truck.
I do NOT love that I now sit in pain as both my hands scream at me, or that there are muscles in my back that didn't know they existed until now.

Lesson learned.
Never lose sight of the fact that anything can happen at anytime.

I be ever so humbled.
Not sure if you can see the rope burns.. three lines worth,x two on the fingers and one on the top portion of the palm.... on both hands!

 On that note.
It was an excellent run and the dogs did a great job.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Send this Stuart McLean, edit it a bit first though, because some of it I didn't understand, haha!