Training - Button Box
Time seems to often pass by so incredibly quickly that I am often only
aware of the fact that it is passing and not how much and how quickly it
is. Maybe that is a good thing.. I do know that many of the bruises and
scrapes that seem to be evitable on my journeys to Jamie's are dulling and
healing - a sure sign that I've been here awhile.
It is almost a month since my arrival in Minnesota and my last diary entry.
On Thursday I will pack up and head home, via Winnipeg and the Canadian
National Siberian Husky Specialty though!
So, so much as happened in the month here (which is probably why I haven't
found time to update my diary entries!) that I am sure I will miss some of
the stories. I promise to share in later diary entries any of the really
good tales I miss this time!
As many of you know from my previous forays to Togo, the visit is
punctuated by several big events - most notably Button Box, the Suomi Hills
Run and the Big Dog Bash.
As per usual, the first of these is Jamie's invitational camping trip most
fondly known as Button Box (due to it's location at the Button Box
campground on Button Box Lake). I think we forgot to do the formal count
this year, but traditionally the event sees over 50 mushers and 300 dogs
invading the Campground and this year was no exception.
The unique format of Button Box makes it suitable for all levels of teams.
Teams can either join Jamie for a 20 mile run, an overnight camp and
another 24 miles to the Campground; run with another group the 11 mile
direct route to the campground or just drive their trucks over and do
shorter runs right from the Lake.
Something like 12 teams, myself included, did the overnight trip. The
weather was wonderful and an enjoyable evening around the campfire with a
lot of old friends and some new ones followed a fun 20-mile run!
I was most disappointed that Ward Wallin hadn't joined us on this trip (his
lovely and infinitely more charming wife, Colleen was representing 'Team
Wallin' this year. That definitely eased my disappointment.). Last year
over a similar campfire Ward and I challenged each other to memorize Robert
Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee". I spend the last year reciting
"There are strange things done 'neath the Midnight Sun." to the kennel and
was ready to challenge Ward to a 'recite off'. But alas, he didn't show.
Rumor has it he had done his homework anyway. Next year Ward!! I'm even now
working on 'The Shooting of Dan McGrew'.
My team was reasonable quiet overnight for what was, for many of them,
their first camping trip - so I was surprised and a little annoyed come
morning to find 2 harnesses, a neckline, and a gangline section thoroughly
chomped. Luckily, I was prepared and had spares of everything along with
me. Hilda was definitely in my bad books for the morning though.
The dogs had another strong run down to Button Box and we were able to do a
lot of passing and weaving in and out of other teams! This is a great
confidence builder for the team and one of the big reasons I like bringing
them out to Minnesota.
After gorging ourselves on deep fried turkeys everyone hooked up dogs and
headed out for an evening run. Jamie and I started out with the group, but
quickly broke off and headed the 11 miles back to her place to do chores
and get a few hours sleep before heading back early in the morning. This
works out well for us, as we can swap out dogs, so all the main crew gets
to come along for at least part of the adventure.
The next morning as we were heading back out I ran into a bunch of Button
Boxers heading out for a morning run. After many queries of "Do you know
the 8-mile loop?" I swung my team down the trail to head out with them. By
the time we were back at the campground, we had done a nice tidy little 20
Saturday afternoon's culinary delight was a incredible seasoned roasted
lamb from musher, Art Gloor. Rather incredible - and I'm not even much of a
A Saturday night run and a Sunday run back to Jamie's rounded up the
Next...the Suomi Hills run!