North Wapiti Siberian
Iditarod 2008 - Tales from the Trail
February 5, 2008
Never A Dull Moment!
Never a dull moment!!!
So Mark and I headed out to do a nice long run today. We shot
out of the yard, up over the big hill, onto the power line,
across Windy Lake, over to Lost Lady Lake, the Toilet Seat trail
over to the Little Swamp Loop, and headed back across Windy Lake
on our way to Romano Lake, Deception Swamp, Ruth Lake, and
There was 'Y' in the trail and once I took the right hand
branch, I stopped to make sure Mark saw where I was headed.
I knew he was a bit back, so I took the opportunity to go up and
play with my leaders, Watt and Q. I was working my way back
through the team when Mark pulled in behind me. I was just about
to step on my runners again when I saw a team closing fast
I watched it for a second and then realized there was no musher
with the team. I started yelling and gesturing at Mark to get
him to look behind him, but he was fiddling with his hood and
didn't hear me right off. Finally, at the last second he got my
drift and turned around. The team veered onto the side of the
'Y' we weren't on, but Mark made a heroic leap and managed to
grab onto the sled as it whipped by. He got everyone stopped and
got the hook set well enough that he could go up front and
untangle a tangled dog and undo everyone's tuglines. He was on
his own with this, as I was stuck on the other trail babysitting
our 2 teams.
We waited a few minutes hoping a musher would come running down
the trail behind them, but that didn't happen. We were in a
swamp, so there was no trees to tie the wayward team to. We were
either going to have to sit tight until the musher showed up, or
recruit some help.
We were fairly certain the team belonged to one of Vern Halter's
handlers, as there was a bag in the sled bag with his name on
it, so I pulled out the cell phone I always carry for just such
a situation and dialed 411. The conversation went like this -
"State and City you need a number for"
"Name of the party you are trying to reach"
"Dream A Dream Dog Farm"
Now, you must realize, as I'm talking the musher-less team and
our two teams - over 30 dogs altogether - are barking, screaming
and howling to the point that it is hard for me to hear the
operator - and likewise for him, I'm sure.
"Sounds like you already have a bunch of dogs there"
"Actually, more then I know what to do with." I paused, "You
might not believe this, but I'm standing in the middle of a
swamp in the middle of Alaska on the back of a dog sled. We just
found a driver-less team and I'm trying to track down the
Dead silence. Then he said, "Well, you did say Alaska - so I
guess that is believable".
Unfortunately, Halter's number kept coming up busy. So I phoned
Jamie at work, told her what the problem was and where we were,
knowing she would track down help for us.
In the meantime, another dog team showed up, not much they could
do though. We all just waited together with over 40 barking dogs
Soon two of Vern's handlers, the one that had lost the team and
another, showed up on a snowmachine - VERY grateful to see the
dog team with all the dogs safe and sound. Moments later,
another neighbor, this one the one Jamie had tracked down showed
Everyone got straightened out and everyone headed off down the
But I bet that 411 operator is still shaking his head.
Karen's Diary - Iditarod 2008 Edition
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