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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Final Lake Run of the Season

Me and Icoa after our run

The dogs' reaction to the blast caught on camera

The 2007-2008 season Points Unknown "A" team

At the start

Journey at 10 mos old

Dipping snow

Our AM run in the white-out

Our PM run in the sun with Journey in lead with Klaus for the first time on the lake

Breaking trail on the lake after a new snowfall

Arkansas guest in the afternoon

Arkansas guests in the morning

Phoenix just never stops pulling, even at rest

Our last Gunflint Lake runs of the season happened last Thursday with guests from Arkansas who had never before been on a dog sled. Funny, considering these guests from Arkansas where my parents and nephew! They have been visiting the sled dogs for years, however never in the winter. This time, they got to see them actually do what they were bred to do versus just watching them run around the back yard playing and then snuggling up to them for attention. They did do a lot of the snuggling, however working was the main focus.

Weather for the day was rather strange with temps in the upper 20s, clouds, heavy wind, horizontal snow fall and white-out conditions in the morning and temps in the lower 30s, nice big puffy clouds, blue skies and lighter wind during the afternoon run. My poor nephew, not acclimated to the Minnesota winter, spent the entire morning run in the sled bag covered all the way up while my Dad spent quite a bit of time braving it on the runners with me. Thankfully, Andy did get a chance the next day to take a quick wooded trail run when the conditions were less hostile.

My mom had the perfect conditions for her afternoon run and spent most of the time on the runners, helping to drive the team.

In a much earlier post I mentioned that, during a snowgo trip to scout for trails we happened upon an old railroad grade that was still smoldering from the Ham Lake fire that happened last summer and devastated 75,000 acres of wilderness. The Forest Service decided to blast some holes in this railroad grade to try and mitigate the possibility of a new fire sparking out of the burning ashes. They did this blasting on the last lake run of our season. As we approached Camper’s Island, which is within a ¼ mile of the railroad grade on the mainland, we were met by a Forest Ranger on a snowmobile who warned us of the blast. He waited until we mushed around the island and began to head back before he radioed the ok the begin blast. It was kind of him to consider how the blast would affect the dogs. I told him that it shouldn’t be a problem and that having the dogs exposed to new things just makes them more adaptable. And it wasn’t a problem at all. The dogs just looked in the direction of the blast, sped up for a moment but didn’t seem to be frightened and in seconds were right back to their normal pace. The dogs have come a long way this winter as a team and their reaction to the blast just solidified my feelings of content and awe over how they have performed this season, physically and mentally.

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