Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Bound By "Wild" Desires...

Howdy Folks, 10/5/08
13 years ago this very same day I stepped off of a plane from Chicago and onto Alaskan soil with just a few hundred dollars to my name. (It's easy to remember because O.J. was acquitted on that date) It was tough knowing that the number of days that I would ever see my family members again would be but a few. Growing up, my birthday might have been celebrated in september but for me Oct. 3, 1995 was the day my soul finally awoke- we were off to the land where legends are born. Those 1st few days in the Greatland were no picnic; living in a sleeping bag underneath some bushes in a park on the outskirts of Anchorage with a couple of dogs isn't exactly one's average lifestyle choice. Yet to me it never mattered- we had places to go, people to meet and puppies to play with.
Last year while visiting my buddy Mike Bayer back in Chi-town we decided to check out Sean Penn's movie, "Into The Wild". I could not help but think how similar a journey Alexander Supertramp's was to my very own. Fortunately for yours truly, numerous 'angels' have always been around to help guide me whenever we veered from the right trail. Whether it be the Erharts, my buddy Rich Doran, the Rotter family and others- alaskans have an amazing intertwining community. Looking out for others is a way of life- one never knows when it may be their turn to face difficult situations. Many come to the north in search of utopian dreams of 'freedom' yet life often reminds us all how fragile we are if we choose to stand alone.
13 years down the trail and we're now preparing to compete in our 14th and 15th 1,000 mile race events. Our greatest accomplishment isn't the number of races competed in but the number of Dawgs from our very 1st Quest back in 2000 who are now enjoying the fruits of their labor. A well earned retirement soaking up the sun alongside Annie Lake's beach. Some may think I'm possessed, fiercely determined to win the 'big one' but in actuality dogmushing races are just an excuse to have fun each and every day up here in the mtns. with the pooches. In this day and age our livelihood of playing in the woods; travelling with our frisky furballs on forlorn trails, is a gift from above. All mushers should feel humbled to enjoy such a prosperous way of life. The beauty of our world isn`t the amount of $ collected but the times on the trail that each one of us will cherish forever. For example let me tell you about this morning's jaunt.
Sure, it might have been windy with billowing clouds in the sky but for us it was just another `Beautiful Day.`Heading up the Wheaton river road with an eighteen Dawg team we listened to some Johnny Cash and Neil Young on the dvd. I couldn't help but smile- it was just another walk in the park with the pooches. This time of year we stop often, not only to rearrange the team, but to check out future potential leaders as well. Wild Bill, Tyler, Delilah, Nathan, Sidney and Mr. Wonka were our various leaders today. All did well though Ms. Delilah was a bit rough with the boys which is her typical disposition. It rained heavily last night thus there were numerous puddles for the pooches to quickly rehydrate. Unlike the past few runs we had no wildlife encounters. The other night we had a coyote checking us out for awhile. I`d much rather see one of those than a bear or the enormous dall ram we had fly by us last season. Those horns can look mighty large when they`re zinging by just a few feet away from your face. Luckily for us that time the dogs didn`t notice- and Tamra didn`t scream!
Having safely returned to the yard from a few hours on the trail we let the pooches enjoy some addtional fun time. The whole team, once their harnesses are removed, is let loose to run into the water for a brief recess. Like anywhere else in this world the key to harmony, peace and prosperity is that everyone gets along with one another. Any Dawgs who only care about themselves will not have a chance to play in this travelling band. The key to victory is the word 'we'.
This weeks featured dogs are two boys- Wild Bill and Mr. Mahoosic. Wild Bill is three years of age and looks just like Demon`s twin brother from `Snowdogs`. Mr. Bill is fun to watch being in charge up in lead. Last year during the Iditarod`s pre-race screenings Jan Bullock noticed that he has a larger then average heart on the monitor used to test all of the dogs. I could have told her that already- he has a `heart of gold`. Wild Bill keeps the other pooches heading in the right direction. (This time of year we have a few `grazers`- dogs who have to sniff out every little scent alongside the trail`s edge) If Wild Bill is a `pretty boy` than Mahoosic would be best described as sort of cute. `Hoosie Boy`is going on seven years old and has already competed in 7 thousand milers. He`s got a thick build with a thin grey fur coat. Like many kids he`s often hyper, constantly whining to keep the team moving. I place our younger bullies like Tyler next to Mahoosic just so they realize they`re not the toughest guys on the block. He might not be as pretty but this dog sure is pretty powerful. As the saying goes `Where is Fancy Bread- In the heart, or in the head!`Looking forward to meeting many of you during our fall school presentations which begin October 21 in Chicago. There are still a few available days if your group is interested. I`ll be doing a few Boy Scout troops this time as well. As an Eagle Scout from Troop 31 in Evanston, Il. it shall be an honor to share with others the unique beauty of our treasured northern lifestyle. Enjoy the view, Hugh or for more school info: laughingeyeskennel@


At 2:02 PM , Blogger rambn said...

just started following your blog. Do you have a day job, or are you lucky enough to do this full-time?


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