Harnesses are hung on the sign with care.... Phoenix waits for the big moment; breaking the first trail on the lake!
Rebecca's first lake run as well. She double checks all safety items on the sled prior to hooking up the dogs.
First lake run of the season! 8 inches of fresh snow with ice depths on the lake of between 5 and 8 inches. On December 4th. What?! That can't be right. But it is! We are almost a month and a half ahead of schedule from last year. Love it.
We always want to get out on the lake before anyone has had a chance to scar the beautiful surface of the pristine snow. It's a tough decision as to who will set the trail. Initially I had wanted it to be Oken, however changed my mind after considering the conditions. This year, it was decided that Phoenix and Tuloon would have the honor. (Klaus was noticeably unhappy about the choice as during hook up, he kept taking his frustrations out on Oken as he barked in his ear) Now to figure out the safest number of dogs for the conditions. Last evening, I recall thinking about running only four dog teams as the snow would be very fluffy, making slowing down and stopping the team almost impossible. Big changes were made after Rebecca and I first began setting up the sled. We could barely push it to the hook down location. Now the question was; eight or ten dogs?
Here's the line-up: Phoenix-Tuloon in lead, Oken-Klaus in point, White Feather-Topa in team and Journey-Ari in wheel. Out of the chute Phoenix looked back and took commands as asked, however some commands fell on deaf ears for Miss Tuloon as she began to make her own plans on the trail. Tuloon was insistent that we head into German Shepherd bay to pay a visit to the bay's namesake beast as he ran directly towards us, barking and posturing. We convinced her that bypassing this area was the wisest thing to do as I made a mental note that she will be demoted to point position on the next run so she can think about a few things. This began to happen quite a bit last season and placing her back in the team for several runs really seemed to get her attention.
We discovered, and quite abruptly, that a brand new dock had been installed on the peninsula. As we rounded the corner it caught us all off guard and the lead dogs jumped up on and over it and the sled almost followed. A small area of open water and lots of slush greeted us on the far side of the lake. The dogs were up for the challenges. And we had the most exhilarating moment as a bald eagle dove from an oak tree and directly over the team it flew. Glancing down the lake we could see another bald eagle perched in a tree not far away, gazing down upon us as we silently passed.
We plan to give each of our dogs a taste of open country leading on this lake this winter. We feel so fortunate to have this beautiful lake right in our front yard and need to make the most of it.