from an article about a hunter living on Svalbard:
"He lives and breathes for the long treks on the ice, for the fox tracks in the snow, for the polar bears and the seals, for the grouse prancing around the cabin, for Rusk watchfully scanning the fjord, for the calm of polar winter night and the return of the sun, for the quiet and freedom, all of which makes this man of the wilderness feel so rich."
i have much to be thankful for and i try to remember this everyday. to me, thanksgiving has nothing to do with pilgrims and colonialism, but is a time to think of family and count your blessings. i am thankful for my family, friends, dogs, cats, good health, opportunity, and time spent out of doors. looking forward to december!
first sled trip
bye Autumn, hello WINTER !
Woke up Monday morning to a FOOT of fresh snow. We dragged the sleds out of storage and headed up to Gargia (a 15 min drive), the start of the trail up onto the plateau. The main teams have been training here with ATVs for the past few weeks.
There was plenty of snow until we got up onto the plateau, where we met the winds.
The trail varied between 4ft drifts, this (above), and gravel. The wind blew the sleds sideways in some places. After only 10k, the trail turned completely to windblown gravel. The sleds began to fall apart. First my drag broke, then one of the runners fell off. Trine Marie and Øyvind's plastics stripped off. Roger also lost a runner and his plastics. Trine's sled managed to stay together.
We turned around and left the main road for the snow covered winter trail.
Trine Marie and Øyvind turning off the main trail.
Watching the show.
It was a wild ride home. I tipped several times, got dragged across gravel, got dragged across a bridge, got my feet caught in the stupid drag, did both at the same time. I lost my team once, and also my camera. Luckily I wasn't first or last; Trine stopped the team and Øyvind picked up the camera.
Not as idyllic as one would hope the first trip of the season to be! Everyone came away sore, but it was good training for the dogs, who had a great time plowing through the wind and snow. It was exciting to be on sleds but we are back to ATV training for the time being.
what can I do?
I just read a great blog post by Yukon Quest and Iditarod musher Jodi Bailey....
There are many people who love mushing that for some reason or another can't run dogs themselves but still want to be involved in the sport. Bailey offers "5 ways everyone and anyone can help support mushing."
Really thoughtful ! Especially the bit about supporting local businesses that support mushing. People in Fairbanks have to drive right by PetCo to get to local feed store Cold Spot and in the Valley, Wal-Mart and other mega-corporations are crowding out the small feed stores, like Underdog Feeds, that have supported the local mushing community for years.
ready for snow
Free day for the dogs but training for the mushers. We had a soccer game today at the elementary school's new astroturf field. Players included Stengelsen (canyon huskies/northern lights huskies) plus some of the girl's teammates and their parents. I am sore. fun to run and kick, it's been a long time.
Tomorrow the main team will go up the mountain to train while the young ones and I train at home. Cilla gets to come along for the first time after weeks of resting a sore wrist. She will probably get to free run a bit.
Today's team: Barkey, Sol, Blues, Bike, Ajax, Mygga, Cama, Faktor, Princess, Svidd.
Barkey and Sol
coming out alongside the Alta river
powdered sugar mountains
one last loop around Little Hawaii before heading home.
i took the pups and cilla out for a walk along the river halloween night. i felt safe enough with 10 dogs on patrol around me.... :) we walked to the end of the upriver trail. i made a fire, heated river water for tea and ate a kvikklunsj (kitkat) for dessert.
Inland and Finland
Yesterday Eline and I went to Juhl's silver gallery in Kautokeino to go xmas shopping and to Finland to buy beer and groceries. fun trip with snow in the high country, race recaps and girl talk in the car. picked up a few christmas gifts and a set of souvenir silver earrings for myself :) It isn't often I do something other than train dogs and walk puppies...unfortunately I forgot the sd card for my camera, a shame, because the silver galley was a work of art in itself.. Half of the building is designed to look like a snowdrift. Inside, there is a room that shares a glass wall with a chicken coop. Old style sheep in the back yard and loads of beautiful things in the shop. The basement is inspired by Afghanistan, filled with Persian carpets, mosaics and fair trade goods from central Asia. Not what I expected to find in Kautokeino!
today i ran dogs all day in the rain, then after dinner it turned to SNOW ! yay! finally. hope it sticks but it has been above freezing all day.