After morning chores and coffee, it was time to load up. Oh no, I hadn’t gotten gas the day before, and my truck was on fumes. Another 15 minutes lost running to town. Foreshadowing of things to come?
Maggie standing on the top of the back seat
We loaded the trailer without incident, put Maggie in the cab, joining Krunchy, who was to be Angie’s running partner. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the trailhead. The stretch I wanted to run is nice and secluded, going down along the river. It had washed out during the Floods of ’08, but some of it was still usable. mushingloon.blogspot.com/2010/11/new-trail
When we pulled up, there was a grader and they had cleared it and groomed it, making it nearly too perfect!
Quickly laying out the lines, I decided to give everyone another try, and put Ellen and Nick back in lead. However, after their good showing last time, I moved Maggie and Browning into swing, followed by Alice and then the brothers, Logan and Nucky. Unloading the dogs from their boxes, I discovered Logan had peeled back part of the grate covering his window, and had then tried to un-bolt the hinges!
When they all were hooked up, the pandemonium increased as per usual. I quickly pulled the snub lines, and we took off!
I rode the brakes for the first mile or so, as everyone settled into their groove nicely. I remembered NOT to talk much, although when Alice repeatedly looked back, I finally acknowledged her, and then she was fine. Women!
Krunchy waiting for us
Can't keep up
We cruised along the fresh gravel trail for quite a while. My plan had been to run a mile-and-a-half out, then turn around and run back to the truck. When we got to that point, I could see Angie and Krunchy just a little ways ahead. Wanting to practice “On by”, we kept traveling towards them. Maggie pulled towards Mom and Krunchy, but the rest of the team did a good job keeping their heads down and moving right “On by” the distraction. Good dogs! Krunchy turned and ran around us, wanting to follow. I stopped so he could hear Angie calling him, and he turned to go back, so we took off. Angie said there was a good place to turn around “about a quarter-mile” ahead, so I decided we could handle the additional distance. About a MILE farther, we came to the clearing. I stopped to give them treats, but with Browning pulling aside to eat some grass, and the leaders trying to pull us onward, I decided to turn them around first. Turning my five-dog team last year had been “exciting”, so I wasn’t sure how it would go with the larger team. Taking the leaders by their neckline, and bringing them around, the rest of the team waited until it was their turn! We ended up cleanly facing the other way, with no tangles.
Back to work, riding the brake as they were once again filled with energy. They soon settled into a nice slow trot, and we made our way without incident. When I saw Angie ahead at the truck, I stopped for a rest break. After nearly 5 miles, on the first run of the year, Ellen was barking and ready to go after a 15 second break!
End of the run
I called them up, “Let’s go! Hike up! Bring it on home!” and we bolted fast – for 50 feet. Then we settled back into the trot, and made it back to the truck.
Water and treats all around. Everyone was calm and happy and got lots of pets. After we cooled down, I unhooked them and loaded them back in the trailer. I fixed Logan’s screen, tightened bolts and triple-bolted his door! While we drove home Maggie napped, so I knew it had been a good run. Back on the farm, everyone got more treats and thanks.
I needed a good run, THEY needed a good run, and we all got what we needed. Fun for all, no injuries, and another run in the books.
It was a good day.
In my element
Thanks to Angie for some of the photos!