Monday, December 10, 2007
Points Unknown kennel arrived at Gunflint Lodge on Saturday. Thankfully, we have a caravan of wonderful helpers driving behind the dog truck. Chris, the Points Unknown dog handler, drove the Subaru filled with items that couldn't freeze along with his two dogs who will be working at the lodge this winter and Marilyn drove up in her truck filled with dog food and her dog. Conan is just along for a little vacation and will travel back with Marilyn when she leaves on Tuesday.
It took us most of the evening to unload the dogs, their gear, as well as the musher's gear. A four month stay requires a lot of "stuff", especially when the entire business is moving. That evening we had dinner at the lodge's Bistro. They serve a gourmet menu to include walleye and wild rice quesadillas and duck spring rolls. After dinner I think its safe to speak for the other when I say, we just collapsed for the evening.
The dogs took to the stake outs right away. This was a concern as the dogs live in kennels at home and have been on picket lines during adventures, however nothing similar to their accommodations this winter. It helped that as we hooked each on to their chain, we handed them a large knuckle bone.
The puppies, Tuloon, Journey and Zulu have pens side by side. The adults will get rotated in and out of these pens to given them a break from chain living. The puppies don't seem the least bit upset by their new surroundings and spend the morning playing in a 50x20 pen provided by the lodge for the dogs to run and play in groups during our stay.
Our first run was this morning. We had a seven dog team and a passenger. This particular trail out of the dog yard is hilly(understatement) and it was tough going up the hills and due to the lack of a good snow base, too dangerous to take clients yet, down those hills. The brake was catching on all of the rocks right below the surface of the snow and the drag pad wasn't slowing them down enough. One bad tangle, where the point dogs ended up back by the wheel dogs because one of the dogs tripped was enough to make me take the tug lines off of four of the strongest dogs as we continued down the "hill". Thankfully there were no dogs injured. We will just wait for another 12 inches of snow to accumulate on those trails before we take clients out and before I go back on the trail with more than four of our powerful freight dogs.