We had a great weekend with the dogs! Despite some warmer then normal weather we still managed to put over 70 miles (in three separate runs) on the dogs. We are aiming to put a straight through 50 miler on them this weekend! Their training is coming along really well.
On Saturday, we were finished running around noon, so we packed up and went into the city for the day. We went to a gun range in town and I practiced some with firing a .44 magnum. This is the caliber of gun that I plan on carrying in the Iditarod, so it is important that I get comfortable with it! MOOSE BEWARE - I'm getting pretty good. We also took the time to treat ourselves to a movie - something we used to do lots, but can't seem to find much time for anymore. We went to see the 'Sixth Sense' with Bruce Willis - pretty good, I thought!
I had read the scary story on Jon Little's homepage of his moose encounter last week and wanted to tell you all some of the 'dangers' of the trail that we face during training. We do also have moose (luckily not quite as big and ornery as Alaskan moose!), in fact, Mark chased a young bull moose down the trail with his team on Sunday. However, we live in a mostly rural, farming/ranching area, so most of the animals we meet during a run are loose farm dogs, cows, horses, and such! Actually, the farm dogs are great distractions and good 'On By' training for the team! In addition to all this, we live 1 mile off of Highway #2 that runs from Edmonton to Athabasca, many of our trails are accessed by running 2 or 3 miles along the highway in the ditch. The ditches are wide and safe to be in, but the semis roaring by are unnerving at the best of times! It's also a pretty big distraction for drivers, dog teams in Alaska might be a common place, but in our area, we are quite the novelty! Drivers honk, hit their brakes, and some even stop to take pictures! I just keep my fingers crossed that there will be no accidents and remind my self what great training this is for Day 1 of the Iditarod, where we run through downtown Anchorage!
I spend all day yesterday in a town about 1 hour from us, called Smith. I did 6 presentations to the school kids there (Grade 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6, and the junior High Kids) on dog sledding and the Iditarod! Camilla and Mannie came along as well. Mannie was unsure of his footing on the linoleum flooring and didn't have a very good time, but Camilla was very well behaved and enjoyed meeting all the kids! I did my slide show and showed the Idit-a-Rock and Roll video, which is a BIG hit with the kids! I always have fun at school visits - the kids are always so interested and ask some of the coolest questions! I've been doing around one school a week for the last while, but we are going to have to start putting visits off till after Iditarod, as training is taking up more and more of my time!
Well, that's all the news for today. It's kind of warm again, but cloudy so it shouldn't get too hot, so I'm off to do a 20 - 25 mile run with the team!
If anyone is reading this :) and has questions that they would like to see answered here, just email them to me at (removed old address) and I will certainly try to get them answered!