Saturday, 15 December 2012

Nine Hours of Sweetness....

When I give presentations folk LOVE the pictures of my team messing up. Same on Facebook. I like to believe that it is not because you are all twisted sadists, but rather that you think highly of us and like to see that we go through the same struggles as everyone else!!
So giving you all the benefit of the doubt and assuming that is the case, I thought I'd share with you the tale of my run yesterday.

Our temperatures have been bouncing up and down something crazy this last week, so when they bounced up to about -10C yesterday morning, taking the team on a camping trip became the plan.

We started off our trip with Jinx and Turtle in lead but within about 5 miles Jinx made it VERY clear that she did not like working with Turtle. Jinx has a low tolerance for foolishness - and Turtle can certainly be foolish. I pretty quickly decided to put Tramp up front but debated a bit over whether to put Jinx with her or Turtle.
As I knew we had some 'obstacles' to pass like llamas, donkeys, cattle, horses, and a neighbour moving and burning giant 'scrap log' piles with an excavator right beside the road, I opted for seriousness over foolishness.

With that leader combination we were flying down the trails and roads.

We passed all potential problem areas with no issues and landed at the Forfar Campground around 2pm.


Brittany and Bet met us there with a meal for the team, which they happily snarfed down before settling in for a nap.

Brittany and Bet headed back home leaving me to spend a couple hours next to a campfire while the dogs digested their meal.

The addition of granola to soak up the butter and brown sugar in baked apples is a good one!!!!

The sun had just finished setting and the tiniest sliver of a new moon was sitting on the horizon surrounded by a surreal amount of stars in a cloudless sky when we began our trip home. The most AMAZING meteor streaked across the sky - far better than the most elaborate fireworks. Gorgeous evening!

I had just looked at the clock on my ATV and was pleased to see we were making great time home, when all of a sudden my team sharply veered off the road and down a driveway on the other side of the road. WHAT THE .......????!!!!!
I yelled at Jinx and Tramp to 'Gee Over' to no avail. Strange behavior for them on all counts.
As I shut the ATV off and silence and darkness washed over us, I could see the sparks and flames of the scrap log fires ahead and hear the huge bangs, creaks and crashes of the excavator. "Ah, they are scared of the excavator", I thought to myself.
I didn't think it would be much of a problem. Snap and Boo, who were in swing this run, had made it clear they didn't like passing that 'work zone' but we had successfully gone by it 5 times in the past week, including earlier today.
I told the girls it was all right and moved them back to their spots on the right hand shoulder of the road. They held their lines out, but the second I called them up they darted down the driveway again. This time they knew they were doing something specifically against my wishes, so they darted around a bit when they saw me coming up the line, turning the front 6 dogs into a tangle. Because their tangle created slack back further in the team, the remaining dogs tangled and I now had a giant tangle on my hands. GIANT TANGLE!
Jack and Irving who were running together because they don't like running together decided this was a good time to scrap.
I straightened out the fight and then methodically and carefully started working on the tangle, watching for traffic the whole time.
To begin with I was very optimistic that I could get my leaders to lead by the 'scary' area, but each time I got some semblance of 'untangled' and tried to move the dogs forward, the girls would duck back into the team and retangle us.
As the ATV doesn't track true enough for me to go out front and lead the team, some dog was going to HAVE to lead us by. I walked up down the line looking to see who seemed unperturbed by the noise, smoke, sparks, and my increasing stress level.
Oh - hello Turtle!

I put him up front with Tramp, but while he was willing enough to go forward, he was not brave enough to drag the feisty little white dog anywhere.

Wonder seemed pretty calm about it all, so she went up front with Turtle. This time Boo and Snap in swing dragged everything back into a tangle.
As I walked up the line I grabbed Astro and put him in swing with Snap. I sorted out the tangles for the millionth time.

This time we moved smartly down the trail.

LOTS of praise to everyone. I glanced down at the clock and was shocked to see that close to 45 minutes had passed.

The rest of the run was lovely. I put Tramp and Jinx back up front as they are better at hugging the right shoulder of the road, which is doubly important at night. The dogs were jazzed after all the time standing around and made good time on the move.

We pulled into the yard a little after 8pm. Everyone got fed, and tucked in their houses before I headed up to the house to grab a shower and something quick for dinner.

Many years ago I read a quote from an ABC Wide World of Sports commentator who described the Iditarod as (sorry, can't remember the exact quote) '50 minutes of boredom followed by 10 minutes of heart stopping action repeated over and over'.

Today was (approximately) 9 hours of 'sweetness' and 45 minutes of 'dripping in sweat', 'pull your hair out' frustration.

So, yup, that commentator got it pretty close to right!!!!

1 comment:

Summit the Super Mal said...

You do such a fantastic job of putting us right there with you, I had 3 minutes of reading pleasure and 20 seconds of wanting to skip ahead to see how things ended. Thanks for the "get me out of Iowa" break.