Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tails Along The Trail

8-hour layover at Maclaren Lodge
The Story of the Shrew!
Just outside of Maclaren Lodge while the dogs and I were running down the packed trail, I saw a tiny shrew standing alongside the left-hand side of the trail on top of a snow berm. I said to myself that this could become a catastrophic event if the dogs caught sight of him. Just after I had said that out-loud, the shrew jumped off the berm onto the trail. My eyes widened with anticipation of what he (and the dogs) would do next. What I feared most happened right before my eyes as that little bugger ran toward the team full-throttle. As if he could have planned it any better, he headed full-on down the center of the team. I kept envisioning a tasty snack for one of my furry athletes, but they acted as though nothing was going past them other than the flying snow. I watched in awe as the shrew continued forward, running beneath my sled and beyond. I was so amazed at this daring feat that I began to imagine his little buddies off to the side of the berm cheering him on . . .
Running dogs over the 108-mile stretch between Wolverine Lodge and Maclaren Lodge.
Quickly moving along the trail, Micah (another musher) and I were entertained by fighter planes overhead. They were practicing their quick maneuvers. The baby blue sky served as their canvas as they shot past one another leaving a trail of exhaust behind. The dogs did not seem to notice the show above as we ran across the pristine snow. Toward the end of the show, there were two loud booms that shook the air around us. My first thought was that someone was shooting at us from across the way. I came to realize, soon afterwards, that the planes had broken the sound barrier. It was such an awesome event that will always be a memory of my final qualifying race for Iditarod.
Running hills during the 60-mile loop.
The scenery was beautiful along the 60-mile hilly loop. There were small spindly trees rising from beneath the blanket of snow. The snow sparkled under the afternoon sun and the swishing of the sled's runners and panting of the dogs filled the air. The run was extremely invigorating for the dogs and me!

Running the 60-mile loop
I left the starting line in position #9. After two hours on the trail, I fell back into last place. Other mushers were passing me in a full run. I was instructed to keep my dogs trotting, and this is what I did. I feel that, in the long-run, this allowed my dogs more energy for later in the race. It was, however, really hard to watch people pass me by.

Just a short clip of me out on the trail babbling . . .


scoundrel said...

Hi, Angie,

Congrats on finishing 4th. Sounds as tho you had a great time! Can't wait to hear all about it!


AKbushbaby said...

Nice clip. I made one of myself but talk about limping dogs and how I pooped on the trail...not really blog-worthy, eh? haha!