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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Even with a Plan....

We pass this horse facility on the way to our trail head. Little did we know that the horses were providing us with a kind of foreshadowing as they surrounded the sign.

Zala LOVES to lead in the snow! We don't see her doing her happy dance in the dirt.

Zodiak, cooling off his belly.

All smiles! Hailey, Ari and Journey.

Just look at those good dogs; so attentive.

Even with a plan and routine in place, things don't always go as you planned. It was just another fall/winter training day which would begin at our usual trail head. We pass a horse facility just before the trail head and all of the horses were hanging around the sign. I thought it was so interesting as they had never all been in a huddle before when we drove by. I stopped the truck to take a photo.

The first team went out on the trail and back in and it was all very uneventful; just a good and successful run. The dogs are unharnessed on the gangling and hop right up into the truck and into their crates. We set up the cart and then the next team of dogs comes out of their crates and on to the outriggers of the trucks for harnessing. All harnessed and we're ready to go. Now we just have to shut the truck door and lock it......oh but wait. We forgot to check in with each other to make certain that one of us had the pad lock key for the truck. Well, I did, but it was now locked in the back of the truck in my jacket along with the rest of the keys and my cell phone. Shoot. Oh well, after years of the same routine and no trouble, I guess it was bound to happen. Thankfully, there was plenty of daylight so there was no need to rush.

Our nearest neighbor is the Raven Ridge horse facility so I took a walk to pay them a visit while Hailey remained with the dogs. You don't get an awful lot of exercise running the dogs on the cart so the walk was welcome and it was such a nice day. As I walked, I thought to myself, hmmm, things happen for a reason. I wonder what is in store for us during this adventure other than learning that we need to have another key for the pad lock that is kept in the cart box.

Arriving at Raven Ridge, I was hoping they would have a bolt cutter first and then a cell phone if the bolt cutter failed. No bolt cutter. But the assistant facility manager was just leaving with her two beautiful Jack Russells, Henry and Eddy and happened to be heading in the direction of Points Unknown so I asked if they would mind some company. I would go home and get my other set of keys! I hopped in the truck and shared my seat with Henry and Eddy. Actually, Henry and Eddy shared my lap. Kate, the person who came to my rescue, and I began to talk and didn't stop the entire way back to Points Unknown. Turns out she is not a winter person and really would like to learn more about different outdoor winter activities so that she might be able to learn to enjoy this beautiful and magical season. Did she run into the right person. And things do happen for a reason. We've been staying in touch and I've got a plan to introduce her to the Points Unknown sled dogs who will be certain to help change her mind about winter.

Thanks so much to Kate for the rescue! When we returned to the dog truck she came out to meet the sled dogs as I tried to unlock the pad lock but with the wrong key! Geez. Well, at least I had a set of truck keys so was able to open the truck and squeeze through the small pass-through door to recover my coat with pockets full of all of my very necessary items.

We where then able to hook up the dogs and head out on our second run before dark. Wouldn't you know, the adventure didn't end with the key incident. The darn brakes began locking up on the cart on our way back and about 3 miles from the truck creating far too much resistance for the dogs. So we did a combination of pushing and running and the brake would free itself and we were off! But the moment we needed to brake, it locked again. So the routine was repeated over and over again until finally we made it back just before dark. There is always a positive way to frame something. At least the brakes were working and we didn't find ourselves careening down the trail, dragging our bodies behind the cart to try and slow them down!

All in all, it was a very fulfilling and entertaining day.

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