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Monday, December 20, 2010

Montana November 2009 Part1

Running without purpose.

While working with the yearlings I had one female whelped by Arrow, his leader that helped him win an Iditarod. Her name is Tennille, named for the Captain and Tennille. In training, she ran all around, jumping up, not paying attention, running into things and not following commands. When I got to the house that evening and gave Doug a report on how the dogs were doing, I told him she was running without purpose. He looked at me and said, “That’s way too technical for me. She is a sled dog. Her whole purpose is to run. If you tell me she doesn’t pay attention or is screwing around I can understand that. Don’t say she is running without purpose. That doesn’t mean anything.” From then on, every time I did something I shouldn’t have done or I was wasting time doing it Doug would say, “Jim, you are running without purpose.” He wanted me to become more efficient. Don’t make three trips to get things from the bedroom when one trip would do. Don’t walk to the house to get a headlamp when I would be going there in the next ten minutes to get water.

Montana October 2009 Part 6

Saturday, November 7 In the afternoon I got to go into town to pick up a few things. It was good to get away. I felt like a ranch hand in those old western movies, Doug liked to watch. We ran the yearlings when I got back. Then Doug ran me. I needed to be able to sprint to the front of a sixteen dog team and back to the sled. It is eighty feet from the sled to the leaders of a sixteen dog team. I  would have some more things to do when I got home.

I was beginning to hurt all over from the workouts Melanie and Doug had me doing the last two days. Before I went home in September, Doug had told me he wanted me working out and getting in shape. He said, “If it is not hurting, you are not working.” Anything worth doing is worth doing well. He wanted perfection. He was beginning to sound like my father. I needed to push myself beyond my comfort zone, beyond what I thought I could do, beyond my limits, and keep going. He wanted to see some results.

Sunday, November 8, I would be heading home this afternoon, after doing my chores and running the dogs one last time. Yesterday, Doug had stopped the ATV several times to have me fix a problem or move a dog. While I was working with the dogs he would say, “Jim, the snow hook came lose” and start moving the dogs forward. I did not realize what he was doing the first time he did it, but soon caught on. He was trying to simulate a real life problem that I would encounter on the trail. What was I supposed to do? I was supposed to run as fast as I could and get back on the sled anyway I could before they left me in the middle of nowhere. When I got ready to go to the dog yard I expected that we would be doing that again. I was not disappointed. I would be going home bone weary tired.

Montana October 2009 Part 5

Thursday, November 5 After feeding and scooping, Doug arrived and we began moving dogs around in the yard. When we were finished, there were two teams in the main yard with the extras in the yearling yard nearby. The teams were set, one for John Stewart, who would be running the Iditarod in March and one for me. Doug even gave them nicknames, Mr. Gadget’s team and Scooter’s team. John was Mr. Gadget because he had all these electronic gadgets. I was scooter because I was riding my scooter everywhere around the ranch. That afternoon we ran John’s team seven miles. They were so strong it was scary. There was no stopping them as we left the yard sitting on an ATV. Doug said they could have pulled two pick up trucks.

Doug told me I needed to be asking questions, then asked me if I knew anything about the harnesses, what size were the dogs and which dogs got which harnesses. I had wondered about that and had meant to ask the day before, but didn’t. Doug was still one or two steps ahead of me. The harnesses with red loops on the back were for small dogs, the yellow loops were for medium dogs. Blue loops would have been for large dogs, but Doug didn’t have any large dogs. A harness with a red and yellow loop on the back would be for dogs that were between small and medium and a harness with a yellow and blue loop would be for dogs between medium and large. Doug tried to simplify everything, I was still trying to make it complex.

Montana October 2009 Part 4

I took the dogs away from the yard so they would not be disturbed by the other dogs. As I left the area, I would walk them through a grove of trees, leading them around in circles and back and forth between the trees to get them used to following me and keep them from running back and forth and wrapping the line around my feet. Silver managed to get me all tangled up and jerk my feet out from under me. As my knees hit the ground I bellowed a loud NO. The fall and the command startled him and he started to quiver. I had to pet and reassure him that everything would be OK. After that, he behaved well and followed along. I fell again near the end of the day when Penny tried to get into an old abandoned dog house and I dismantled it with my feet. She was still very shy and would need a lot of encouragement. The rest of the dogs performed well except for Tennille. She ran without purpose, did not pay attention and kept getting herself all wrapped up in the lead line. Sometimes she would get her leg wrapped; on a towline this could be dangerous. Dogs have had their legs ripped off when their legs get wrapped. My stars for the day were Princess, Fiver, Dandelion, Leyla and Beth. Bonzo would not do well on a sled with me. He was directionally challenged, just like me. As I was bringing Dandelion back to the yard, we were met by Fiver, who had broken the ring on his collar. A dog fight ensued and I had to break it up by keeping him away with my foot while pulling Dandelion away with the lead line. It all worked out and nobody got hurt. I have always said, “Don’t send your hand where your foot should go.” I have sewed up too many hands of people who tried to break up a dog fight by reaching in to grab one of them.

Montana October 2009 Part 3

Wednesday, November 4, I had set my alarm to go off at 6AM, but when it went off, I rolled over for another 45 minutes. I had figured that it would take me 2 hours to get ready and Doug wanted me going to the dog yard at 8AM. I would live to regret rolling over. It was 8:40 before I set out for the dog yard. By that time, Doug had already gotten the dog food out of the container and was heading back to the house on the 4-wheeler. Every minute after 8:15, I had anticipated his return and dreaded his disapproval. When he walked into the house I was fully dressed and ready to get to work. I was also 40 minutes late. He looked at me and said, “Jim, you’re slipping back into your old ways. Imagine leaving your checkpoint 40 minutes late. Mark Nordman will wonder what I was teaching you. The old women in the villages will laugh at you. You cannot be late.” It was the piercing look in his eyes more than the tone of his voice, that got to me. I COULD NOT BE LATE AGAIN!

After I watered the dogs, I took a break to eat an apple. The entire time I was standing there, Sultan was barking. About halfway through the apple, I realized that Sultan was barking at me, as if to say, “Get to work. Stop wasting time.” Sultan was a lead dog and Doug liked him because he would bark at the other dogs if they were going too slow. He was Doug’s alter ego.

That afternoon I passed my second hurdle. Melanie would not be home until late and Doug had to take a horse into town. He would be gone all day. He gave me a lead line with a snap on it and told me to start training the yearlings, calling them by name and getting them to come on command. I was alone at the ranch, with the dogs. I was the dog handler again today.

Montana October 2009 Part 2

Sunday, November 1, the trip to Missoula was long but uneventful. This trip would be a paradox. I was coming to learn how to drive a dogsled, but was bringing a push scooter to build up my legs and save my knees; Doug wanted me jogging six miles but didn’t think my knees would be up to it. I was met at the airport by Melanie, Doug was hunting. He would regale us with stories of the trip tomorrow, when he returned. We stopped at Wal-Mart to get some groceries and I grabbed a sandwich to eat on the way to the ranch. When we got there it was too late to visit the dog yard, so I unpacked the car and made myself to home. I was glad Doug was gone and would not be back until tomorrow night. It would give me a chance to ease back in to the routine without the up tempo he always set.

Monday, November 2, I spent the morning in the dog yard getting reacquainted. I learned the names of all the yearlings: Nona, Princess, Bigwig, Dandelion, Penny, Silver, Bluebell, Cobra, Fiver, Lola, Beth, T-Bone, Bonzo, Captain and Tennille. I would be working with these dogs this week, teaching them to sit, stay and come on the short leash and them a long line. This would help me get to know them and get them used to following my commands. It would also help Doug select the ones he wanted to keep. The afternoon was spent fixing up the place and doing chores.

Tuesday, November 3, I spent the whole day in the yard, working with the dogs, spending extra time with the shy ones, getting them to come to me. I also had a break through with Doug and Melanie. Prior to this, Melanie always fed the dogs and I scooped poop. But, she would be gone all day and Doug would be busy around the ranch. The feeding was entrusted to me. Melanie had showed me how to mix the dog food and gauge how much each dog should get. I felt like I had been promoted to dog handler. That was no small feat, much like Harry Potter dabbling in the dark arts. This was one of the subtleties between kennels (what to feed, how much and how often). I wanted the merit badge in animal husbandry, but settled for the satisfaction that they had trusted me to do it. I also learned how to operate some machinery around the place, after Doug’s gentle ribbing when things would not start.

Montana October 2009 Part 1

“If it’s not hurting, you are not working.”

Before I had come home, Doug had told me that I was not used to being uncomfortable. I did nothing outside of my comfort zone. He, on the other hand always pushed himself and lived outside of his comfort zone. He was used to being uncomfortable. I would have to start living that way, too. I would need to run till I got a wind cramp, walk until it went away, then run again. This past summer he did not account for the heat and rode a 50 mile endurance ride. By the end of the ride he was draped over the horse’s neck, barely holding on. He had become dehydrated and overheated. He spent the afternoon drinking Gatorade and water mixed with salt until he felt better. The next day he rode again. Others in the event were concerned for his health. Melanie told them not to worry, Doug would survive. It was the horse that would be stretched. He was right.  Except for the few times I had pushed myself during wrestling, in my senior year in High School, and when I had been a commercial fisherman, I had not pushed myself so hard physically that I was uncomfortable.

Friday, Oct. 23, I had been home for 3 weeks and would be going back to Montana in 8 days. I had not done any exercise since I’d come home, except for one 12 mile bike ride. I was in a rut! I would need to do something to shake it up and get exercising again, and fast. I had made an appointment to get my car serviced and decided to walk home after dropping it off. I clocked the distance on the way to the service station. It was 6.25 miles. I dropped off the car and began walking home. It started to rain, but I was prepared with layered clothing. Halfway home my feet were soaked and water was sloshing around inside my boots. I would have to dry my boots and feet when I got home. Wet feet inside wet boots for a long period of time was not good. Soldiers during WWI stood in water for days and weeks on end as they remained in the trenches. Many of them developed immersion injuries called trench foot. The extreme cold and wet conditions would cause the skin to break down, form ulcers and get infected. In some cases, the skin would peel off with the socks when they tried to remove them. A lot of soldiers lost their toes and some lost their feet from these injuries. I got home in 94 minutes, having walked 4 mph. Soldiers in the Civil War would routinely march 20 miles in 5 hours (4 mph) with 50-75 pounds of equipment, then dig trenches or build fortifications and fight a battle. I still had a long way to go.

Montana Sept. 2009 Part 6

We put the dogs away and got ready to go to the airport. On our way into Missoula Doug talked about what we would be doing when I returned. I would be teaching the dogs to sit, stay and come. I would be calling them by their names. We would be watching to see who the smarter dogs were and deciding which ones he would keep; and we would continue cart training with the dogs pulling the ATV.

He then turned his attention to my training. He noted that I was now handicapped by my shoulder injury, but I was not unique. Mark Johnson was a sprint musher with one arm; and William Kleedehn raced in the Yukon Quest with one leg. Doug told me that about 20 percent of the active dogsled drivers were my age or older. In fact, Joe Reddington Sr. ran his last Iditarod when he was 73 and, the polar explorer, Norman Vaughn, who has a mountain in Antarctica named for him, ran his last Iditarod when he was 87. I was not unique. In fact, at the rate I was going in my fitness program I might be running my first Iditarod at the same age Norman was when He ran his last race. Doug was concerned about my fitness and my handicap, but at some point the would become more concerned about his dogs than about my well being. That was understandable. If I was unique, it was because I had no experience with working animals and no athleticism. All other dogsled drivers had grown up around animals, been involved in sports or activities that required physical fitness or both. I was banged up enough and, although I admired both men for their grit, I did not want to emulate Mark Johnson or William Kleedehn or become more handicapped. Norman Vaughn and Joe Reddington Sr., well that was another matter. Two old men following their dreams and succeeding, that was something I could sink my teeth into.

Montana Sept. 2009 Part 5

Friday, we ran the first team again. This time, getting some of them into harness was more difficult. Doug kept yelling at me to bend my right elbow and keep it into my side. This would keep me from pulling my bad shoulder. He said that I needed to go home and do a whole lot of bicep curls to strengthen them and do triceps exercises to counter the increased strength I would get in my biceps. This time I did not have to go very far, but the dogs were barking and the leader got into it. It was Sultan, my old nemesis from last year. He missed the turn and had to be turned. I offered to get off and go to the front of the line and lead him around, but Doug said that would not teach him to lead any better. Instead, Doug told me to get off and walk about six feet away from the 4-wheeler in the direction he wanted to go, to give Sultan the idea to go that way. He later explained that I could do that now because the 4-wheeler was heavy enough to keep the team from leaving me; but when I was on a sled, I should never be more than an arms length away in case I had to jump for the sled if the dogs took off. One of the dogs in the fight had gotten so tangled that we had to stop to undo the mess. I started to pet the dogs but Doug stopped me. This stop was to correct a problem, not reward misbehavior. There would be no petting at this stop. A little farther on, another dog remembered that we had stopped at that spot the last time and started to slow down. We would not be stopping there again. If we had stopped, that dog would have stopped there every time we came back that way. Doug informed me that dogs are a lot like kids. You reward them when they are good. You discipline them when they are bad. You gain their trust. You spend a lot of time with them and praise and encourage them often. This was good advice and would serve me well when I got home.

Sultan - my old nemesis lead dog

When we got back to the dog yard I put the dogs away in the order I thought we might use the next time they went out. The dog I would use in swing would be put in the doghouse nearest the lead and the dogs I thought did not do well would be put in the houses farthest away, to be put at the wheel position in front of the sled. Then I had Doug critique me. He said we would never get out of the dog yard with them in that order. I had put T-bone in the position of swing and had forgotten that he had been there before and did not do well. He dug in and drove well but was easily distracted and needed to be at the wheel. He also did not like the other dog that would have been next to him in swing and we would have had a dog fight before we left the yard, the next time. I was learning, but as Doug said, I had a whole lot to learn and not a lot of time to learn it. While I was gone, Doug would continue to run the dogs to train them and increase their endurance. By the time I came back at the end of the month, he would have condensed the 15 dogs into two teams. He would run each team every other day. They would be running 5-10 miles during each training run when I returned.

Montana Sept. 2009 Part 4

Gator one of the best Leaders - retired from racing, used in training

After cleaning the dog yard, the next day, I had the opportunity to work with another group of five unbroken puppies. This trip did not go as well as the first. I made a ton of green rooky mistakes. First I picked the wrong dog to put in lead, Gator. He kept intimidating the other leader who kept trying to get away from him. To make matters worse, I had snapped my lead line to the wrong leader and pulled her harness off over her head. Then I compounded my mistake by lunging for her and tackling her when she broke free. Doug shouted at me to “never do that again.” A dog’s natural instinct is the defend itself and I could have had my face bitten or worse. Doug told me of a veteran Iditarod musher who lost half his nose from a similar situation. I also had snapped the neck line to the wrong ring on the collar and the dog could have pulled out of the collar also, and run free. Most of the collars have two rings; one is for tying them out in the yard and the other one tightens when the dog pulls against the neck line. It is only used with the puppies until they get used to pulling and then is not needed anymore. The rest of the run went better and ended well in the dog yard. All is well that ends well.

Thursday, Oct. 1, we harnessed the third group of five puppies to the 4-wheeler and I took the lead. This group had some issues. Several dog fights broke out and Doug increased the speed of the ATV in order to get the dogs to focus on running instead of fighting. Six months ago, I would have been fighting, too, for my life. But I had been working out over the summer and been jogging. I was able to stay ahead and keep the line taut. In spite of it all, we had to stop and Doug had to break up one fight that just would not quit. He informed me that he would be the bad cop and be responsible to discipline the dogs when they misbehaved and I would be the good cop that praised them when they behaved. He reasoned that he was not taking them to Nome, so if the were afraid of him and ducked away, that was OK; but they had to know, trust and like me if I was going to take them on the Iditarod. You could not have a dog duck away from you or drag the team on the trail. That could be disastrous for you and the dogs. 

One particular dog kept trying to pull back against the towline and when that did not work she tried to lay down. Luckily, it had rained and the ground was very muddy, and we were not going faster than a walk, so all that happened to her was that she got very muddy. Doug said that she was stubborn, but sometimes the stubborn ones made the best dogs. She might be the one to go through a blizzard or across difficult terrain when the other dogs would have quit. When we got back I told Melanie about the dog that thought she was too good to have to run. She asked which dog it was and laughed when I told her. She said the dog was named Princess and she had always been a Princess from the time she was born.


Montana Sept. 2009 Part 3

Melanie had worked hard all summer and passed her exams to become a certified personal trainer. This was something she had been wanting to do for seven years. In addition, she still had to take care of the horses and dogs and compete in Endurance riding events. Everything had fallen into place like it had been planned by a higher being. She worked at a place in Helena, had a few personal clients on the side and was leasing space with the option of going into partnership with another trainer who was also a drug and alcohol counselor, named Steve. She and Steve had found a place where they could begin their own clinics and both of them were interested in helping troubled youth. The clock in their bathroom said it best, “God’s timing is perfect.” I knew exactly what she meant. I felt the same way about my training. This was a God thing.


Tuesday was a busy day. I got up in the middle of the night and read and wrote in my journal. After breakfast, it was off to the dog yard for some serious scooping poop. As I was finishing, Doug appeared with the ATV, towline and harnesses. We were going to harness five of the puppies and run them for their very first time. Doug said that this and the actual race were the hardest parts of dog handling.  The harnesses went on easily, but Doug said next time would be harder because they would know what was coming. I was supposed to walk ahead of the two leaders, who were seasoned veterans, used to being in the lead, and keep the line out to keep the puppies from getting all balled up. Doug had some basic rules. Never put two females beside each other. Always leave one open spot in case you have to isolate a dog that is misbehaving. Cinch the harnesses tight enough, with the neck line and back line, that they could not get tangled. Make it pleasurable for the puppies. Stop and pet them often. Let them work out their problems like leg over unless it is too dangerous. Watch them to see who digs in and wants to go; who is not distracted and might make a good leader. Watch their body language, ears perked up, tails, feet. Be able to identify them and their differences in and out of harness. We would not run them for the first few trips and not go more than a mile or two. We would not make them pull unless they wanted to and we would keep the towline taut. If a dog kept picking fights with the dog next to it, we would isolate that dog or put it next to a bigger dog that could take care of itself. Once they straightened out, I could get on the ATV and let puppies continue pulling behind the leaders.

Montana Sept. 2009 Part 2

When we got back to the house, Doug came up, shook my hand and said he was going to put me in with the horses  on the new automatic walker so I could get my exercise. Behind him I could see a large circle pen with a mechanism, called the EuroXciser, that had six spaces separated by metal gates that Doug said were electrified (he may have been trying to rattle me). The gates were suspended from metal crossbars that attached to a large metal box in the center of the ring. It had a large electric motor that made everything turn in a circle, causing the horses to walk around the outside of the circle pen. He was exercising four of his horses so he had two spots open for me.

After unpacking and putting groceries away, I headed for the dog yard to reacquaint myself. The first dog I saw was Sultan, the leader that had been afraid of me. The one who left me in the snow and ran back to the dog yard. The one I had tried so hard to make like me. He was in the same spot I left him, 7 months ago, at the end of the dog yard nearest the trail. I worked my way through the yard petting the dogs I knew. I was relieved that many of my dogs were still here. The two that were the first to adopt me, Washington and Patriot were still here; so were Reece, Hershey, Herbie, Hook, Hemi, Toro, and Gator. Melanie had 15 puppies from last year that she moved up from the puppy pen next to the house in another part of the yard. I would find out later that these would make up most of my team this year and the ones I ran last year would probably be going to Nome with John.


Washington and Patriot are brothers born on the 4th of July. They were the first two dogs to befriend me and are still some of my closest friends on the team. I look forward to sharing the trip with them, all the way to Nome. It's the least I can do for their friendship.

Montana Sept. 2009 Part 1

Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans. James 4:13-15

I arrived at the Atlanta Airport in plenty of time. I was delayed at security because I was carrying soft hand weights made of metal BB’s that showed up on the x-ray scan; and had to have my backpack unpacked and sent back thru the scan without the weights, before I was cleared to enter the boarding area. I probably set off other risk profiles, being male, traveling alone, and using an E-ticket. I repacked the backpack to make sure nothing was left behind. In the hustle and bustle of clearing security it is easy to forget something. I once left a beeper in Nashville and didn’t realize it until I returned and went to work without it.

I went down the escalator to the trains and checked the board for departure gates. I was suddenly reminded of Doug’s remarks in January, when he told me that I was directionally challenged, and the Iditarod was no place for false pride (it could seriously hurt you and your dogs). I was directionally challenged and began to think about what I could do to avoid getting lost when I ran the Iditarod or minimize the effects if I did get lost. I had read stories of a musher who got lost. One took the wrong trail, several others followed his fresh trail and got tangled as the first musher turned around and came back upon those who had followed. Another musher went two hours out of his way; by the time he realized his mistake he was four hours behind and his dogs were tired so he had to rest them and lost four more hours because of his mistake. Doug was constantly telling me to think of the dogs first and be ready and willing to give myself for them, because they would give themselves for me. I would talk to Doug about strategies to keep from getting lost and what to do if I did get lost. One strategy came to mind from my training earlier in the year. At the first sign of doubt, STOP and park the dogs, set the hooks, undo the towlines to the wheel dogs and turn the sled over on the snow hooks if necessary, then walk out ahead of the dogs to look for signs of the trail.

When I arrived in Missoula I did not see his truck. I turned on my cell phone and got the message that he was at a Vet check and Melanie would be picking me up. As I turned around to look for her, she came out of the airport and we hugged hello then got into her “new” car. Doug called to tell Melanie that things were not going well at the Vet’s.  Veterinarians are not Doug’s favorite people. He likens many of them to thromboses hemorrhoids; both are pains in the butt. The Vet check was for a horse Doug was going to sell to a couple from England and the Vet was being particularly picky. He told Doug that the horse was lame in the right rear quarter.  Doug was not buying it. When he asked the Vet about it, the Vet said the horse was subtlety lame. Melanie and I got groceries and headed home. We talked about what we had done all summer, how things were going at her place and mine, and what we would be doing this week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Montana January 2009 Part 6

January 3, 2009 I stopped being a tourist intent on running the Iditarod and started becoming a musher, interested in driving, training and taking care of dogs.

I went home to have surgery and found that I had completely severed three of the four rotator cuff muscles. One of them was shredded so badly the surgeon could only find 50% of it to repair. I had also blown out the anterior capsule so that I had no stability in the joint anteriorly.

I returned to Montana in February to assist John in his Race to the Sky qualifying race for the 2010 Iditarod.

For the rest of the year I was involved in rehabilitation and conditioning to prevent further injuries. I returned to Montana in the fall to continue my training.

You can see the photos from my surgical repair as well as learn more about rotator cuff and knee injuries as well as why younger athletes are getting these injuries in, you guessed it, My Great Alaskan Adventure.
It is the journal I have been keeping since I began training. It contains much more than just my training notes. I hope to publish it in book form, either online or in print.
Preoperative photo of my shoulder after the injury.

Montana January 2009 Part 5

Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009

We took the day off and I rested my right shoulder by looping my thumb over my belt and doing everything with my left hand. We were going up into the mountains on Monday to run the dogs 75 miles back to the ranch, along the race route from Seeley Lake. I thought that my shoulder would cinch up after some rest and that I just had a simple dislocation. I was concerned enough about the injury and difficulties during the run the day before that I had called home and asked everybody to pray that I would not get hurt anymore and would not fall off the sled.

We got ready to go and ate what little snack food we had before hitching up the teams. Until this point, I had not used my right arm. Now I had to use it. As I leaned over to put booties on the dogs, my shoulder spontaneously dislocated and it was then that I realized how serious my injury was. I called Doug over and told him that I had a shoulder dislocation and needed his help. I had him feel my shoulders and told him that when he was done, my right shoulder, which was sunken, would feel like my left. Then I told him how to reduce a shoulder dislocation. There was a look of surprise and satisfaction on Doug’s face when he felt the pop as the shoulder went back into place. Once that was  accomplished, we went back to work. A few minutes later, my shoulder came out of the socket and he had to put it back, again. Now there was real concern in his eyes as he said, “This is not going to work.” I looked at him and said, “This has got to work.” Tom and John had stopped what they were doing to watch all this.

After reducing my shoulder dislocation, again, he told me not to use it for anything and he moved the rope loop he had attached to the handle from the right side to the left. This loop was like a dead man switch. If I fell off, with my hand through the loop, it would pull the sled over and help to stop the team. Obviously, he did not want my injured shoulder in this loop since it could tear it out. A big, burly mountain man, named Rodeo, had come up to see Doug on a snow machine. He looked like Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies. Doug got him to stand behind me on the runners until we cleared the turns getting out of the parking lot. 

We traveled about 25 miles before stopping. When we did, Doug laid a can of Coke and a giant Snickers bar on my sled bag. He was always getting on me about being overweight and out of shape. He had even made me put a candy bar back the night before, when we stopped for gas and supplies. Now he was giving me the same candy bar he had made me put back. I would get nothing else to eat until we got out of the mountains, and I would only be able to eat snow for my thirst. If I got dehydrated it would harder to keep from getting hypothermic.