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Friday, January 21, 2011

Montana January 2010 Part 2

Fear usually involves the unknown.

Fear is good in small doses and for a short period of time. But it is uncomfortable and it can paralyze us into inactivity when things need to be done.

I would be facing all my fears in a few more hours.
They have a saying in the south, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Doug had been busy while I was gone. Not only had he kept up with all the chores around the ranch and run the dogs 35 miles a day, he still had time to put a sled together for me. It is truly a thing of beauty. It is a basket sled; the kind trappers and back country people use. It is made of wood lashed together. To be sure, he made some modifications screwing essential pieces in place and fitting it with what he called "Jim Bardoner runners." They are wider, thicker and practically indestructible. There was only one hitch, it only came with a 12 dog towline. I guess I would have to take the good with the bad. Prior to this, I had been training with a toboggan. It is a cumbersome, clumsy freight hauling kind of sled with no ability to steer and totally indestructible. 

Today would be my day of reckoning. I would be traveling behind John Stewart, the boy from Scotland, who trained with me last year, qualified and would be running the Iditarod this year. If I hadn't gotten hurt I would have been running it with him. We would each take 12 dogs and run up over Huckleberry Pass before turning around and coming home. A trip of 35 miles on the same trail that messed me up a year ago, to the very day. The butterflies in my stomach were churning as we harnessed and hitched up the dogs. I would leave ahead of John and run to the top of the first hill then pull over, stop and wait for John to catch up and pass me. That way my dogs would not go screaming out of the dog yard trying to catch John's team. I would be running the puppy team with some veterans. John would be running the same dogs he would run in the stage race in Wyoming and take to Alaska. Doug would stand on the runners behind me until we safely left the dog yard, then step off and send me on my way. 

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