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Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Seeley Lake 200 Sled Dog Race - Part 4

John had been waiting down the trail for me and had been told of my escapades by two other drivers who watched with some amusement. One of them had stayed until I turned my team around the first time. But when he saw me heading back to the ranch, riding on top of my sled bag, he left, realizing that I needed more help than he could offer. John came back to help and arrived just as I had finished getting the team lined out. I was ready to go, but he needed to turn his team around. I had already pulled my snow hook off of the post, before I realized that he had wanted me to leave it there and come help turn his team around. He had to turn them by himself, while I stood helplessly on my brake to keep my team from running past his.

The rest of the run to our next check point was fairly uneventful. We rested and snacked the dogs at the 25 mile, halfway point and I moved into the lead ahead of john’s team to give his dogs a break. I arrived at the Seeley Lake checkpoint, just before daybreak, two minutes ahead of him. 

It was raining when we got there and continued to rain all day. We tried as best we could to stay dry, but even the dry socks that I had sent ahead in my drop bag were wet 30 minutes after I put them on. We stayed for eight hours at this checkpoint and I was told to sleep. I still wasn’t very tired but would need to sleep before we got to our next checkpoint. I managed to get a nap for an hour or two, sitting up in the shelter. Several of the dogs had developed splits in their feet, between their pads. For the return run, all the dogs would wear booties. Interesting, since they hadn’t worn booties all season and several of them were yearlings who had never worn booties. Could I get booties on all my dogs in a timely fashion, without causing them to yelp, which might cause the Vet to come check on the dogs, to make sure they weren’t injured. I only had trouble with Hobart, a veteran and had to wrestle with him to get his booties on.

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