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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time to Catch Up!

Laying down on the job

Dog mushing is hard work! Wait, where are the dogs?

Sandy Hagan with his team

The wifi is temporarily functional which makes it easier for me to catch up a bit this afternoon. Last weekend was a busy one. Guest musher, Sandy Hagan, came up for the weekend to help with client adventures. Sandy has Canadian Inuit Dogs, Malamutes, Large Freight Alaskans and mixes of each. He was concerned, at first, that Liz, with her Iditarod dogs, wouldn't be able to keep up out on the trail and he'd have to spend a lot of time waiting for her......

Sandy also spent a lot of time laying down on the job as you'll see by the photo above. He made up for it, however, by pulling his own sled while the dogs rested. He and his dogs did a wonderful job with guests and we're thankful he could join us this season.

Liz and Karen went out on an all day adventure last Tuesday with a couple of wonderful ladies that traveled all the way from downtown Minneapolis just to go dog mushing. Each adventure is customized to the individual participants and since it was so cold, we decided to begin the day on Gunflint Lake in case the weather took a turn for the worst. A steep and windy hill that leads down to the boat landing from the dog yard is too treacherous for a team to go unassisted so I took the snowmobile and we tied the snub line of each team to the front bumper and I slowly helped the teams down the hill, one at a time. Just before the road crossing, one participant got out to check for vehicles on this minimally traveled road. Both teams crossed the road safely and headed across the lake.

Unfortunately, it was quickly apparent that an extended trip on the lake would not be in the best interest of our guests when the wind picked up and white-out conditions prevailed. Turning the teams around, our mushers took the teams back to the dog yard to stop for lunch and prepare for the afternoon portion of the adventure that would consist of a dog mushing slide show presentation and a trail run in the woods, which would allow shelter from the wind.

Our participants fully enjoyed their customized adventure and insisted on helping feed the dogs after the run. It was then that we discovered that there was a birthday girl among us. Barbara had just turned 80 years old the day before! She said she didn't want to tell us until after the adventure because she was afraid we wouldn't let her go! Sneaky.....

After the busy holiday weekend I spend the day in Grand Marais. A pallet of dog food had been delivered and needed to be picked up. In addition, I was called to act as an expert witness and give a deposition for a case currently in litigation for which I did the appraisal two years previous. Imagine purchasing a home and finding out years later that there is a burial mound of Native American affiliation on your property to which you were not informed. Because I am based in northern Minnesota during the winter, the deposition was given in Grand Marais and both attorneys made the trek from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for the event. I tried to entice them to go on a dog mushing adventure during their stay but was unsuccessful.

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