Everyone, The Number 1 Rule of Sledding is Never Let Go of the Sled!!!! I figured that wouldn't be a problem because our number 1 rule at home is to Never Let Go of the Leash. I even ran down a steep hill with Nokomis last year, fell and rolled down a rocky hill, but I kept hold of the leash and didn't break any bones. So this should be no problem.
On Dec. 24th, the Husch family, Gabby, Markus, Anna, Wyatt and a cousin who I don't remember her name, even though I was introduced to her came over to take some dogs out running. This is the family that comes over in the evening to help with the feeding and Anna and Gabby will be doing the shoveling for me while I'll be in Jasper with Pete enjoying a little vacation. The first round of people that went out was Gabby by herself with 4 dogs and Anna with her boyfriend riding in the sled bag and 6 dogs. Their trip was fun and Anna did say that they ran into a tree and broke a large branch off of it.
The second round of people was Markus and the cousin riding in the sled bag with 6 dogs and me with 4 dogs. I called my team the All Girl Geriatric Team. I had Camilla (great leader, race veteran, 11.5 years old), Joey (my favorite, not a leader, 10 years old), in wheel I had Kaylinn (good leader, race veteran, 11.5 years old, oldest) and Jumper (a good leader but never made it on the main string, 11 years old). Markus had the other 3 male geriatric dogs along with JR (a main string who didn't train that day) and some young dogs. His team's ages ranged from 2 - 12. Markus started out first and his team was consistent, but not as fast as he wanted them to be. I always have trouble leaving the yard and I still at times get confused between haw (left) and gee (right). To get out of the yard on this particular trail (which I didn't not know where we were going, you have to gee the tree. My team haw the tree, but did get back on trail. My team is really running fast. The fastest I've gone so far, but we kept running up to Markus' sled and Joey and Camilla were splitting Markus' sled, so I had to keep riding the brake, which then makes the sled not be even and the banks were high, so I often had to apologize to the dogs for driving (actually not driving very well) the sled into the side of the trail. Besides that small issue, everything was fine until Markus yells back to me to let me know that he's stopping because JR is tied up. I got my team stopped, ran into the bank and I did a nosedive into the snow bank. I somehow ended up losing the grip on the sled, but since Markus stopped in front of me, my team also stopped. He got his team back in order and we were all off again. It was great going except slow. Markus asked me if I wanted to pass him and I declined because I had no idea what trail we were on.
The day before Anna and Markus went out with different dogs and kept talking about some hill and if they thought that it would be good enough to go on or not. Well, apparently they went on it and so did I. Not knowing what I was in for, finally Markus' team got going so my team could go full sprint out and they were booking it nicely. All kept a tight tugline and everything. Right after the downhill, there's a tight right turn. Needless to say, I don't drive a sled well yet so I ran up the bank heading for a tree, I put on the brake, I don't think I flipped the sled, but I did end up taking another nosedive and losing the grip on the sled once again. But this time, my team continues to run fast. I yell for them to Stop, Whoa. I called for Markus, but nothing. I ran a little bit, but knew that I wasn't going to catch them. I didn't realize that we were close to kennel. Markus arrives and they all ask where Kathryn is and he says right behind me. Well, my team was, but I wasn't. He said that he heard me yell, turned around and saw the dogs and figured that I was on the sled. Wrong assumption. Apparently, my team ran into the yard great, but Karen was more concerned with how I was. I was fine. As I kept telling them, it's hard to break anything when you nosedive into a deep snowbank. So everything is fine. The dogs are well, I'm fine with no bruises or ill effects. Once Pete and I get back from Jasper I'll get back on the trail, but go on an easy one that I know.
Karen took a few pictures - http://picasaweb.google.com/kathryntrussell/Dec24thSledding