Friday, February 26, 2010
Today, I ventured out with Gwennie in harness for the first time since she had her litter of eight puppies on January 2, 2010. Snow began falling two days ago, and hasn't stopped since. It was rough slogging as we broke trail up and down hills in a foot of snow, but Gwennie was amazing as always. If I even stopped for a tiny split second, she'd whine and pound into her harness. She is 100% on the line and such a joy to run. I sure have missed having her in the team.
During the slow run breaking trail, I had more time than usual to enjoy the scenery. A train chugged down its track, parallel to the trail and the sled creaked and the collars jingled.
I reflected on the dogs' work ethic. As tough as that trail was, they were undaunted, unfazed. I am always impressed with the work ethic of sled dogs. They do not complain or stop, they just keep slogging, stay focused, work harder. Yeti, especially, is as honest a dog as they come. No matter what, he puts his head down and pulls with everything he's got.
I thought about this sport and my relationship with my dogs. It's about self-reliance and solitude. Native people who traveled and hunted via dog teams could live in harsh climates for unlimited amounts of time, the dogs becoming best friends, confidantes, even shelter. I'm re-reading Gary Paulsen's Dogsong right now, and he paints such a vivid picture of how mushers and their dogs are connected - to each other and the earth.
No pictures on tonight's blog. Tomorrow will find me back on the runners with my little team, dreaming of a timeless period long ago. Mush on.