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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Montana December 2008 - Part 3

SultanThursday, Dec. 11, 2008
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008

My graduation ceremony from my first session of training involved driving an eight dog team thirty-five miles by myself. I had been over all the trails and Doug told me which trails to take. He had told me which dogs to watch in order to set a pace of eight mph. Some would trot and others would lope and I could tell how fast we were going by which dogs were trotting and loping. It would take me about four hours to make the trip. Doug did not tell me, but he planned to leave the dog yard thirty minutes after I did and follow me. I was able to put a dog in harness and then put them on the towline with necklines and backlines.

We had only gone about a mile when, Sultan, my lead dog decided to go back to the yard. He made an unexpected right hand turn and took the team with him before I could get them stopped in the deep snow. I set the snow hook , but there was nothing for it to grab and hold. I laid the sled over on the hook to hold it and went up to the front to turn the team. As soon as I started forward, Sultan lunged with the front half of the team and dislodged the snow hook. The sled shot by me. I grabbed it with one hand and was dragged a few feet before I let go. I ran as long as I could and then walked back to the dog yard, fearing that Doug would still be there and see the team coming in without me. I would be in big trouble. The dogs were bunched up at the far end of the dog yard when I arrived. Thankfully, Doug was not there to see this. The dogs had been on this side of the yard all summer, but had been moved the day before. So now they were mixed in with the dogs that were there now. It was only by the grace of God that they had no gotten tangled up with the other dogs and no dog had been hurt. I had turned the team around, undone the Gordian Knot and stretched out the team before Doug appeared in the yard. He asked what had happened and wanted to know if I had been separated from the sled. I was embarrassed and had to admit I had been left behind. I did not get the response I expected and he told me to get going.

You can read more about the other problems I had on this training run in "My Great Alaskan Adventure"

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