Thursday, December 04, 2008

What Have I Become?

"And I have'nt seen the sunshine since I don't know when..." - Johnny
Looking back at life what a strange saga this journey has unleashed. To think it all started off sleeping underneath some trees with my two dogs, Mav and R.E.L., on the outskirts of an Anchorage park. The years of never really knowing if the dream would ever survive. Tanana, Manley, Nenana and Coldfoot- so many vivid memories, tales of adventure-tails of happiness!
Reflections have been prominent on the mind of late. Thanksgiving would have been my father's 80th b-day. My dad was 'old-school', not exactly the easiest guy to impress. After my ma died when I was a kid he cared for our family of 6 alone- well, we kids helped too.
It has never been easy to live up to the expectations of a man with his integrity. Hopefully one of these days I'll figure out a way to honor his name properly- the last words he ever said to me will always be within my head,"Keep me advised."
Not only was Phil my dad but Boy Scout Troop Leader as well. In scouts each winter in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, we would have the "Klondike Derby" on the edge of Lake Michigan. Our troop actually built beautiful dog sleds that were kept in our family's garage. Bizarre coincidence, eh? My whole life has had a few of those along the way.
From being a 'lowly' handler to racing to have as much fun as possible- my rebirth in Alaska is a true miracle. Without dogmushing where would I be? Lost. This whole running around in the woods scene can be a bit nippy sometimes. The aches and pains might be a daily occurrence yet for some reason it's hard not to just keep smiling. The energy of the Dawgs really does reverberate thru one's soul if they have a solid bond with their furry compadres. It's funny listening to people who fear the weather or the hazards of the trail. If they only knew what an amazing playground we mushers of the north are so blessed to enjoy.
Juho and I returned from Canol rd. or as I like to call it "Doggie Hwy.". We figure there's at least 100-150 dogs running around its twisty roads every day this time of season. Typically we camp out next to the lake after our initial run, explore a bit more of the road on our next leg and then return back our final leg of the journey. With the numerous younger pooches we`re training this year it`s been great training. The run alongside Quiet lake is breathtaking. Yesterday the sun was setting over the mtns. as the waves lapped the shorès edge. As we neared the finish I was running with the headlamp off since the snow was falling and it was difficult to see the team. I have the trail memorized thus alleviating any stress of hitting unforeseen objects. Suddenly my leaders Nathan and Wonka began barking. Quickly I turned on my headlamp as another light flashed on just in front of the team. How is it going- Hey Sebastian. Few mushers will ever be as strange as our 2 souls.
Will post our feature dogs on next blog so that we can include pix. Tamras in Torontovisiting her Parents. I can barely type as it is. We all know she is the brains behind this outfit- guess I am just the one chomping at the bit just to get back out on that trail again. Pleasant journey to you! Hugh


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