The woodland creatures certainly seem to have figured out that hunting season is over. The woods have been quiet and I haven’t seen any moose or deer since returning from Minnesota. Yet this morning (hunting season ended on the 30th), when I crested the top of the hill on our driveway, a big cow and bull calf moose were standing in the middle of the road. I stopped the van and the cow trotted off the road and jumped the fence with a grace that never ceases to amaze me for such a large, cumbersome looking animal. The calf got himself pretty flustered and ran back and forth across the road a few times before loping off in a huge ground cover lope away from his Momma. I hope they managed to reconnect later in the day!
Then about 15 minutes later I spotted 3 more animals on the road ahead. It was 3 large bull elk – not uncommon in the area, but not frequently seen either! With their regal heads held back to support their antlers, they glided off the road and through a field. They really are lovely animals! For those of you that might not know ‘Wapiti’ (as in NorthWapiti Kennels) is the native term for these magnificent member of the deer family (They are also fine, fine eating!).
When a young spike-antlered white tail darted across the road in front of me a few miles later, I was about ready to start looking for the ‘Wild Kingdom’ TV crew.
Anyway, for obvious reasons, some aspects of Mark and my lives do not appear in our diary entries. I will certainly keep it that way – for your sakes and ours – but I thought this story bears telling as it can possibly serve as a warning to some.
For the last few weeks, maybe even close to a month, I’ve been feeling out of sorts. Mostly I’ve been writing it off as stress, as November and December are our busiest months of the year. However, a couple weeks ago when my hands and feet started going numb, I knew a trip to the doctor was in order. Those of you that know me well, probably know that I simply do not do needles – and to me doctors = needles, so I generally avoid doctors if I can.
Well, it seems family history and other issues have finally caught up with me and my blood pressure was dangerously high. I know I’m predisposed to high blood pressure, yet for 40 years, I’m managed to keep a handle on it. I guess because of that I’ve gotten complacent about things and haven’t had my BP checked in close to 2 years. I was lucky that my body decided to send me out some warning signs – high blood pressure usually doesn’t do that until it is too late, that is why it is known as ‘the silent killer’ – and my doctor and I are now taking measures to bring things back into line. By the time Iditarod rolls around I’m confident I will be as strong and ready to race as ever – however monitoring my blood pressure – and my health in general, will now take a much higher priority in my life.
I urge you all to take a moment out of your schedules and get your blood pressure checked.
BTW – I also, with the help of some good prescription tranquilizers and a very understanding nurse got a blood test done for the first time in 18 years (that one was to get a marriage license).
Anyway, onto more exciting things….
Training is progressing. The weather is awful (it is +5 C today), but we are still getting a reasonable amount of miles on the dogs. Everyone is doing well, with a few real stars starting to shine. Specific mention goes out to Skor, Snickers, Sprite and Dasher. It makes me smile even to think about those 4! Mark is head over heels crazy about Snickers. She been running lead for him a fair bit and can do absolutely no wrong in his eyes.
We were out on a 47 mile run awhile back when we came across our friend Roger and one of his many grandkids parked in a truck alongside the road. I swear he had a bit of a twinkle in his eye when he told us his son was moving a herd of 47 cattle and would be down this road any time. We visited for a brief moment more and then headed out, hoping to reach a little pull out ½ mile down the road before the cows came. We sat there just long enough for the dogs to start getting antsy about hitting the trail before the cows came. Roger’s son, David was in front driving a big tractor with a large round bale on it, the cows followed behind with 2 hired hands on 4 wheelers bringing up the rear. The dogs all shut up and stared as soon as the cows came into view. I don’t think they could believe all these ‘Meals on Hooves’ passing so close by. The cows stopped and rolled their eyes – a few darted into the bush on the other side of the road. “Come on cows….cows,” David called and the hired hands jumped into action to get the cows moving and back on the road. In no time and without incident, the procession passed us by and we were back on the road. Who would have thought it would have gone so smoothly – not I!
That trail to the Forfar campground includes one of my favourite stretches of road to run. As you approach the campground there is a long straight stretch of road with a 20 km speed limit on it. The dogs know they are coming to the campground and a break or at the least a snack and pretty much every time we go by there we are breaking the speed limit! I love it. I want a ticket something fierce. Maybe I’ll have to report my infraction to the RCMP (Royal Canadian Military Police) and see if they put up a speed trap. Problem is we are pretty much the only ones using that road at this time of year. Go figure. I think people are missing the boat here – so the lake is frozen and it is cold – there are neither crowds nor mosquitoes there in November!
A few of this summer’s puppies are getting ready to move on to their new homes. Lightning (Moses x Kaylinn) leaves tomorrow for her new home with Kathy and Mike Carmichael of Carmacks Siberians in Utah. Awesome Spike (Surge x Olena) is moving to Maine to live with Stephen Glover and adorable Magnum (Smiley x Jumper) is moving to Czechoslovakia - details of his move are still to be worked out. We have avoided selling pups overseas for a number of years (for a variety of reasons), but I am completely confident that these folks will be a wonderful home for this special boy!
Folks have been asking for pictures of the new dog truck – but sadly we have none to share, as we don’t have the truck yet. Delivery has been pushed back to December 15. Yes, that is very tight to get the truck customized and the dog boxes build for our planned January 3rd departure for Alaska, but we are hopeful it will get done.
As I’ve entered the Copper Basin in Glennallen, Alaska starting on the 8th of January, we are pretty committed to this schedule!
Well, I think that is it for this entry. You all may want to check out the Iditarod homepage at www.iditarod.com for a list of all 97 mushers that entered Iditarod before the December 1 cut-off. Looks like it will be an interesting race this year – but sadly, we are the only Siberian team entered.
Don’t forget to get that blood pressure checked!