At the end of February, Sandy(good friend and assistant PUWWA instructor), her husband Mark and I found ourselves preparing for a dog sledding trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Days were spent preparing for the trip with much emphasis put on cooking lots of wonderful food that could be warmed up while on the trail. Sandy and Mark attended to this task while I ran last minute errands.
The information we gathered prior to our trip indicated that the conditions were marginal for hooking down a dog sled team. We were also told that there was very little snow which meant we could go further in a shorter period of time.
We arrived at the Fall Lake Campground parking lot early on a Monday. As we loaded up our sleds we watched as numerous people pulling pulks came in off the lake. This was a good chance to check in again about conditions. We also took some time to look over the maps, shoot some compass bearings and plan our route to U.S. Point.
I had hoped to run Klaus in lead for the first time in the BWCA. Turns out he was way too excited to stay focused and we went zig-zagging down the lake. After attempting to hook down several times to go up and correct his direction of travel, I decided that if I could have a successful hook down, I would swap him out and put the trusty Zulu up in front instead. The hook down conditions were just too iffy and I wanted to choose my battles for this trek. I was getting too stressed which would then make Klaus stressed, which is what I wanted to avoid. Klaus would get his glory on another day.
Navigation to our chosen camping spot went without a hitch. Zulu just continues to amaze me. At almost 11 years old, he still loves his job and does it better than most! After spending two nights at camp, we decided to move on and camp closer to the truck. There was a shift in the weather coming later in the week that we wanted to be sure and avoid. As we were packing up the gear, it began to snow. Big wet flakes came down upon us, soaking us to the bone. I made the call to continue on home when I began to feel fatigued and chilled due to a cold that I had apparently not been able to shake prior to the trip. Being sick in a tent for the night was something I didn't find appealing at the moment. So we headed on back to the truck.
The dogs always go faster when they know they're going back to the truck. I know they enjoy being out on the ice but I don't think anything feels better to them than their nice warm boxes after a few days on the trail. Their owner certainly looks forward to a nice warm bed too!