Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Break out the blaze orange

Cathy hit a yearling deer on her way home from work last week. As I walked back to the cabin from feeding my dogs, I stopped to look at the young buck. Mike had already gutted it and hung it in a tree outside his wood shop. Only hours before, it was likely haphazardly grazing with its herd. I touched its soft fur, its eyes already clouded over with death. The button buds of antlers had just begun to sprout.

The deer are on the move. Opening day of rifle hunting is tomorrow, and most mushers steer clear of the woods and take a few days off out of respect for hunters. The dogs and I have run three days in a row this week so we could sit out the next few.

The team is looking great! There are 10 dogs in training: six boys and four girls. The entire pack is fairly young, with four yearlings, two 2-year-olds, two 4-year olds and two 5-year olds. Four members of the team were on the Midnight Run team from last season. Having that many young dogs (and un-neutered boys) in training has given some much-needed umph to the team. I am hopeful that we place at least mid-pack this season.

It's been fun working with the yearlings and watching them blossom. Primarily, the boys from the Reggae Litter (July 2011, Tak x Yeti) are looking phenomenal, with the same smooth, straight gait as their father. Two of them - Tosh and Wailer - have had a chance to lead and are proving to follow in their dad's paw prints. And up-and-coming star, Dirk, has led all three runs this week! So, with three main leaders and three leaders-in-training...I'm feeling pretty good about our ability to navigate. Can't have too many leaders!

Yearling, Dirk (right), next to Big Brown during a training run this past weekend
We were greeted with two inches of lovely white stuff two days ago, which caused the dogs to be extra happy and speedy. 



Can't wait until we can actually switch to sleds! Hopefully soon!

But for now, the dogs and I are going to enjoy some time off! 

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