Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Ghost Riders in The Sky..."

'Is it just me or do the Stars look brighter?'

Happy Holidays to All,

Enjoyed yet another wondrous night time trip with the pooches this past evening. The vibrancy of the lights shimmering down from the heavens above was inspiring. Santa's elves must be wrapping presents with brighter wrapping paper this season. Around the kennel we are nearly as busy as the folks at the North Ploe as we are diligently preparing food drops for the upcoming races. Thousands of pounds of meat, fats, kibble and other assorted items must be cut, packaged and labeled. Fortunately for us this year we have other folks around to help spread the various chores around. Being the 'everlasting cheechacko' I realize that individual dreams are a myth- in every story there are always others who play a part in the overall success that one person may achieve.

This past weekend we participated in a 'fun' race up at Icy Waters. John Lucas, who runs the fish hatchery was the organizer. Teams would travel just over 10 miles straight up to Fish lake and then back down to the finish line. The trail encompassed just over 20 miles of beautiful terrain. Juho was running a younger team as well. In these early season events we are just hoping that the pooches pass other teams safely and enjoy the camaraderie of all the other canines on the trail. Of the 22 dogs we entered most were competing for the 1st time. They all performed well- Juanita, Amigo, Griffin, Tyler and Tolliver have limitless futures awaiting. For now though some of them are too young to participate in the longer races and will have to wait til next year.

The area around Fish lake, some 4 thousand feet up is beautiful. As mushers approached the top a volunteer handed them a nice present- a cerveza to enjoy on the way down! Plummetting down the final few miles one gazed upon the surrounding Whitehorse environs. I could not help but smile, saying to myself, "This is awesome." That was the beauty of this event- the sole focus was'nt on what place one finished but on the enjoyment of the day- for all involved, especially the Dawgs. Participating in the event was a particularly fascinating character named Harvey. While most of the teams had 10 pooches on their squad, Harvey's only consisted of 6. This man seemed to possess more energy than any one else- especially at the finish. His spirit is truly admirable for Harvey happens to travel all over the north with just a few pooches; at the youthful age of 65 years.

A few hours ago I was flying around up above our homestead near Alligator lake. At night the brilliance of the stars can be entrancing. A sudden surge from the pooches reminds you that their are other varmits playing around in the woods as well. Often on trails I'm familiar with a headlamp will be shut off in order to have a better focus on the surrounding environment. This isn't a good idea on unfamiliar terrain however as numerous racers have learned throughout the years. Back in '02 during the Quest I had a discussion about this at Biederman's cabin with two of my favorite mushers- Mr. Rick Mackey and Timmy Osmar. Though I might have finished higher in other events, 2oo2 will always be tops on the list in my memory. Both of these fellas are true dogmen and the opportunity to spend a week on the trail with them was heaven. Rick mentioned that he enjoyed running without his lights but warned me about the hazards of the Yukon river in the dark. A few hours later I was heading down the wrong river with my headlamp off- oops!

Listen, Learn, Live!! HHN


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home