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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Seeley Lake 200 Sled Dog Race - Part 2

John and I would be next to last to leave. By the time we left the starting gate it was late in the afternoon. With darkness less than 2 hours away, I decided to put Doug’s headlamp on my head so that I would not need to dig for it later. Big mistake. After we  cleared town, the trail turned to the right as we began to climb toward Martin Hill. There was a long, steep hill on the other side of the climb. The trail narrowed and made several tight turns. Near the top of the downhill my left runner got off the trail and pitched the sled over. I fell and struck my head, righted the sled and took off again. But I over corrected and fell to the right, striking my head again. I righted the sled again and made it down the hill without further incident. As the trail leveled out, I was aware that I had lost my hat. I hurried to catch up with John, who was waiting a mile of two away. As he saw me approaching, he started off again. By now, I was more than a mile away from where I had fallen. Only now did I realize that I had also lost Doug’s headlamp. It was part of the mandatory gear. Without two headlamps, I would be disqualified. I reached in my pocket and pulled out my headlamp and put it on my head. It was getting dark. It would have to do until I could get another one. We drove on for several hours, resting the dogs after 25 miles. When we got to our first rest stop, at the White Tail ranch, I got another headlamp out of my sled bag. We rested the dogs four hours. John was finished with all his tasks way before I was and was taking a nap. It took me almost two hours to get everything done. Oh well, I wasn’t going to sleep anyway.

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