North Wapiti Siberian
Iditarod 2008 - Tales from the Trail
December 14, 2007
The First Time Driving A Sled
As several of you may know, I have never driven
a sled and was only on the scooter once in November with Gus and
I have to say that it was really cool and fun. I now understand
why people like to do this.
At first I was apprehensive since I've never done this before.
Karen explained the trail to me and I was quite confused, but
luckily I was following her. First of all, I had a problem
getting out of the yard. Karen already had her team going and I
tried to pull the rope to unhook the sled and it got knotted
up. I'm trying and trying to undo it with no success. I think
I ended up pulling the rope over the pole to get going. Somehow
I was still holding on with one hand and off went Nic and Surge
in lead with Kluane in wheel. It was pretty slow going because
Olena (on Karen's team) wasn't moving and the boys were
interested in Trigger. Finally after about 1/2 a mile, Karen
took Nic and gave me Shooter. Now Surge was in lead by
himself. Things went fine after that and we went slow enough
for me that during the run I made the realization that I
understand why people do this and spend so much time outdoors in
quiet wilderness with their dogs.
We made it back to the yard and we fed everyone fish. Karen
wanted me to take a different team out by myself so I can become
comfortable with the trails while Mark and her are in Alaska and
I can take out some of the dogs. Now, I wasn't so sure of
things. Even though I've been on the trails a few times, I
haven't been able to make out landmarks. Once again Karen
explained the trail to me and I wasn't so sure. I ended up
taking Gus and Camilla in lead with Draco in wheel on the Yellow
Brick Rd. Trail. Karen told me that Camilla and Gus know this
trail so I went on it in case I couldn't figure it out. But
with the stakes in place I was able to figure out the trail.
There was one place where they wanted to go straight and I had
to keep telling them "Gee" to get us back into the yard.
Eventually, they listened to me and we got in the yard. Since I
didn't take them up to Geriatric Park, Karen suggested I take
the Green Mile trail and then take them straight up to their
pen. I took the Green Mile trail when I was on the scooter so I
was more comfortable with that one. There was a time when I
wasn't sure if we were even on the trail because Gus and Camilla
were breaking trail, but we did end up coming to a marker so I
was pleased with them. This team kept the gangline tight and we
moved faster than the first time, but it was still relaxing and
I'm looking forward to seeing my husband in a couple weeks and
to put him on a sled with some of the old trusted guys. I also
plan on going back out on the sled soon.
Kathryn TrussellWinter 2007/08 Dog Handler @ North Wapiti
Karen's Diary - Iditarod 2008 Edition
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