Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lots of lessons in a single run...

Sunday, 28 November:
2 miles – home to trailhead and return.

Torus (single lead)
Orion (single team)
Sheenjek (single wheel)
Nels was attempted in wheel but dropped due to a chewed through tug line.

Let’s just call this one the run from hell.  The plan was to run 4 dogs to test the trail.  That’s because my four-wheeler is dead and can’t be trusted for running dogs.

First I harnessed Sheenjek and put him on the line to do as he wished while I worked my way up.   Mistake #1.

Next was Nels, with his harness hooked to the gangline, but his collar to the drop chain.

Third was Orion, who tried eating his gear straightaway.  I distracted him from that and moved to Torus, then back to Orion, then to Sheenjek who was chewing a neck line, then to Orion, then back to Torus, then back to Orion (who had spun out of his harness).

Finally got everyone lined out, only to find Nel’s tug line chewed through.  With Orion going nuts I didn’t want to mess around a lot.  I stripped off Nels’ harness, got Orion straightened out again and headed to the sled as quickly as I could to get ‘em moving.   That was mistake #2.

Damned if Orion didn’t spin in his harness just as we were leaving.  Nothing to do but keep ‘em moving for a bit, albeit under control.  No question about it, it is nothing but tough sleeding out there with every rock, stump and tussock exposed.  The main trail was even worse with ruts from four-wheeler tires wrenching the sled this way and that.

I was finally able to hook down at the turn around point, and got Orion’s harness fixed.  Fortunately it stayed fixed for the return trip home. 

Ultimate lesson – there isn’t enough snow on this trail to run even a small team on a sled.

Oh, when I put my gear away I found that Sheenjek wasn’t satisfied chewing through two neck lines and a tug line.  He had nearly chewed through the gangline, releasing his team mates, as well. 

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