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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Highlights 2006-2007 Season; PUWWA2007 March

Me(left) and Sandy(right) at the end of another successful dog mushing season.

Erik shares his wilderness survival skills.

Kate teaches the finer points of building a winter fire.

Resolving a tangle at the turn-a-round.

Katie heading out with her three dog team.

Due to the truck break down, we arrived the day before our guests were to arrive for our PUWWA2007 March Adventure. A concern when arriving at the cabin is not knowing how much new snow has come down since our previous visit. Our dogs are freight dogs and enjoy the challenge of breaking trail but we don't like to have them break trail into the cabin when new snow depths are over two feet. We had heard rumors in town that there had been about 20 inches of new snow since our previous visit and we were glad to see that was the case. The dogs pulled us and our very heavily loaded sleds, into the cabin with ease.

We had an evening of relaxation before the arrival of instructor, Kate Stenso-Miller of the Three Rivers Park District, and our Chef Extraordinaire, J.D. Fratzke of Muffeletta on the Park, in St. Paul, MN.

We had women flying in from New Jersey and we were hoping the weather would cooperate for them. It turns out they arrived in Duluth a day early and were enjoying massages while we were encountering our delay. It was also fun to learn that they had cited a moose along the road on their drive up. A participant driving in from Golden Valley, MN was able to catch a glance at a wolf along the road. How fun for them! With the rising temps, the wildlife may have been anticipating spring and were moving about more than usual. Sandy and I too, had wildlife citings on our drive. We were lucky enough to see two wolves. One was near Schroeder, MN and was seen crossing the road. This one looked as though it was having a pretty rough life. The other one we spotted was a large, very healthy looking wolf, crossing the road just north of Grand Marais, MN.

This PUWWA2007 adventure included dog mushing instruction, a navigation workshop and a wilderness survival workshop. Erik Simula drove up on this dog sled one morning to teach his wilderness survival course. Kate took the next day to teach everyone how to navigate in the woods with a map and compass. The women learned the details of dog mushing in three half day sessions.

On the first day of mushing instruction, a fun challenge occurred while taking an informational run with the participants in our sleds. After a few "musher error" moments, two teams got caught up in some brush at the turn around and while resolving the tangles, the women spent this time tipped over on their sides, in the sleds. "This isn't the way they show it on t.v!" was a happily made comment from one of the tipped over participants. Just proof that when you attend one of our adventures, you get to see it how it really is!

Unlike the previous PUWWA2007, the temperatures were more amenable for the humans. The dogs, however ,were too hot, clad in their full winter coats, with temps reaching up to 50 degrees by the end of the adventure. They got the afternoons to relax and bask in the sun.

All participants did a great job of taking in all of this new information. They were quick learners and put their new found dog mushing skills to use as they ran their own three dog teams around the cabin loop.

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