Saturday, 21 December 2002

December 21, 2002

What a spectacular night we came home in from our run yesterday. The day started off beautifully, as we were leaving the yard, fog was lifting from the valley, leaving behind a wonderful blanket of hoar frost to coat everything in white. It was pretty enough that you could forget it was –20C – at least for a bit! 

The dogs ran great and we ended up doing a 40-mile run. 

As the sun was setting at 4 pm or so, the sky turned a beautiful cobalt color and then gradually faded into darkness. We were running through a wooded section of the historic Landing Trail when the team can around a corner and there was a big, gorgeous, orange full moon dancing behind the trees. Several times on the roads that led home I glanced over my shoulder, thinking a car was coming, to find the light was the moon – not headlights. 

As we were doing the final few miles home, I shut off my headlights and enjoyed the moonlight run. I was shocked to see the northern lights competing with the very bright full moon. They danced and spiked for quite a while – I can’t imagine what a display that would have been without the moon washing them out. 

It’s been another busy week. As most of you know, we put Libby down last Friday. It was hard, but we know it was the right decision. Libby was one of the greatest teachers I ever knew and she saved one last lesson for me – one about learning to let go. 

We decided to take the teams out for a camping trip the next day. Nothing like a night in the woods to help me deal with tough things. We dropped the dog truck off at the Forfar campground and then headed home to hook up teams. It was a 25.5-mile run to the truck – where we stopped and took a 3-½ hour break. We had scheduled it for longer, but the dogs weren’t at all tired coming into the campground. The next leg of the run took us down 17 miles of familiar trail and then 9 miles along the Trans Canada Snowmobile Trail that we had never been on before. 

Supposedly, there was a ‘warm up’ shack there that we were going to stop at. I had my doubts that we were going to find this ‘mystery shelter’ in the dark, but it turned out that the trails were really well marked and we found it with, pretty much, no problems.

That last 9 miles was really demanding on the dogs and they were more then ready for a break at the shelter cabin. We ended up taking a 6-hour break there before running the 26 miles back to the dog truck and then trucking them home. The leg back to the truck gave me one moment of panic. On the way out we had gone up a few really big hills that took much grunting and groaning by all to get the four wheelers up – one in particular was really bad (so bad, I cheated and used the throttle to get my team over it). Even sitting in the warm up shelter, I was obsessing over going down that hill (I HATE going down steep down hills – I think that goes back to the incident a few years back where I flipped my quad, end over end, and almost broke my hip). 

Now here I was sitting at the top of this hill. The dogs looked over their shoulders, wondering what their crazy musher was up to now. Mark was already at the bottom and yelled back to find out why I had stopped. When I suggested I was scared, he said I had been down bigger hills. Now, you have to understand that MARK -- ‘It’s all downhill to the finish line, honey’ -- LIES in these situations. Finally, I suggested that he come back and take the team down the hill. He said the hill was too steep and he was absolutely NOT walking up it. Oh that built up my confidence. Finally, the dogs started to fuss and I knew I had to ‘screw my courage to the sticking spot’ and get on with it. So I did. It really wasn’t that bad, but Mark did come over later and say ‘Well, NOW you’ve been down a hill that big’. 

What a schmuck!

My Mom came out for a visit this past week. She arrived on Sunday afternoon and left yesterday morning. It was a lovely visit and she did a WHOLE lot of housecleaning for me – which was a terrific Christmas present. 

Today we are heading out for a bit shorter run and then off to Mark’s brother’s place for dinner. 

I hope everyone is almost ready for Christmas. Snow or not, it is almost upon us! 


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