Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I always wanted to try "Water-Sledding"

That darn sun beating down on the ditch on my side of the highway! How dare it. Makes for an interesting trip I 'spose.

You can see how Rupert and Kate did a fabulous job of keeping us OFF of the water/ice and on the grass/dirt/pokey sticks. Heck, they even tried to go on the highway.... twice!!

I was soaked up to my knees after two runs in this crud with the dogs.

Looking at the bright side of things - at least it's getting dogs used to... well, running through WATER!!! Yes, good to have that experience since we run through water almost... never during the winter.


Rupert on the left is saying "I didn't want to get 'ma dainty white feet dirty..."

He almost looks proud of himself eh? Kate could have cared less and tried running right down the middle of the ditch. But Rupert was more stubborn about staying out of the ice/water/muck. With his flailing and feigning *panic* he was able to drag Kate all over.

But at least we made it without too much trouble. Actually, it was pretty funny (to me, anyways) for the most part. I don't think Rupert agrees though...

Lucy was right in there along with George TRYING to run in the water. They love getting wet!! They're my little swimmers.




The next group was wayyyy better. Turns out Loki loves water! Ripper was not as wild about it, but I think once he saw Loki running right through it, breaking through the ice, he didn't mind so much. "If Loki can do it, so can I..."

Here is their post-run conversation:

"Hey, good run eh Loki?" Ripper says sarcastically.

"Yeah! Good fun - I especially loved the part where she forced us to... swim!!!"

"I always knew you weren't right in the head..." Ripper replies as he trots away shaking his head at the easily excitable youngster.

Ok, ok, it wasn't all bad. The roads are still lovely and snowy.


Ok, I lie. They plowed these side roads yesterday.... aghhhh!! Now I have to gasp... DRIVE to the river!! The horrors. Ah well, at least it'll be good for a few weeks still. But the season is winding down - I guess I should get the bike ready...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Days like these...

I took the "Gang of Four" - Kuna, Gracie, George and Lucy out for a skijor which sort of turned into four dogs running circles on the river, up the riverbank, in the trees, around me, etc, etc. It turns out we did not a lot of skijoring at all. I, on the other hand, had to really work to catch up with dogs who were generally a 1/2 mile ahead of me. That's ok... it was a beautiful day to ski.

Here's fuzzball Lucy on her 47th snowbath.

Let's start at the beginning.

Ready, set...


GO!

I let them loose to go down this little, but kinda steep hill to the river.

I released the hounds for a reason. It's entirely possible to run over a little, black furry monsters on the way down. They are unpredictable beasts who just might have decided to stop right in the middle of us careening downhill to oh, pee on the ground, sniff the ground, dart into the trees, who knows.

So I hooked them back up shortly after I careened down the hill alone and we were off! Again.


But not for long. It was pretty warm out (+6C again), even hotter when the sun was beating down on us. Add their black furry coats, and I had some hot dogs. So even though they probably ran 10x as far LOOSE, at least they could stop and snowbathe, cool off, etc when they needed to.

This was me being sneaky, hiding in the willows. The dogs disappeared in the trees up on the riverbank, so I decided to *play* with them and hide. Sure, they *expect* you to be in the same spot when they leave you, but I like to teach them to never assume things. (aka: I like screwing with them this way)

Didn't take long for bighead to find me. In fact, he looks pretty scary and looks like he's ready to eat me. Now I know what it feels like to be prey.

Gracie found me as well. I'd love to say she was totally excited to find me, but... no. I don't think she even knew I was gone. And then I just happened to be in her path on her way up the hill.


Skiing through the willows. Needed a bit more challenge than the river trail!



From the skis perspective.

And then the games begin!!


It was now officially playtime.


This game they like to call "Kill George"






Ok, it's more like a game of "Kuna killing George" - but she loooooves the game and often initiates it. Really. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Closeups of the gang: Kuna



George:

Still alive.

The ALWAYS excited, happy-go-lucky Lucy:


George enjoying rolling in the snow:


A lot.


And, on the way home. We were all a bit tired and the hill posed a wee bit of difficulty (ie: none of us really wanted to get up it).

It was a swell afternoon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ah.... spring!


Harris' expression sums up my feelings about the new, WARM weather! Woohoo!

But there sure doesn't seem to be any middle ground in the weather here. The second we were out of the -30C, spring seems to have descended upon us at warp speed. Temps soared to +6C (42.8F) yesterday and today is looking to at least match that. It's been beautiful, with bright sunny days - the kind that reminds you summer is just around the corner. I was even eyeing up the condition of the roads today for cycling...

But for now - it's practically early spring and this is, in my opinion, the best time of the year for winter enthusiasts up here. Days are loooooong, as the sunlight is rapidly accumulating. It's not too warm for the dogs, perfect for the human, and our snow situation is aok. I forsee a few weeks of skijoring on the river. The cold snap ensured the rivers are nice n' frozen for a long while yet. I ran into some fishermen the other day who commented that the ice thickness out on Fish Lake is FIVE FEET!!! Ray and I suspect we can sled/ski out there till June!

With the cold snap over, I rounded up two teams and headed out on the sled:

Lovebirds Ripper and Ivy leading.

The side roads even look good now.


The next team with Jack/Harris in lead. They did really well and everyone was happy to be out after the hiatus due to the cold.

Note the big furry white butt up ahead of the team. That's Kuna, breaking trail! Ok, not really, he just likes to pretend he's faster than us every once in a while.

He's easily distracted though:


This was an interesting combo - Gracie(l) and Loki(r). I'm usually pretty careful in who I put this monst.... er, sweet girl, next to. But for some reason, splitting the teams up the way I did left me putting her with the one dog I thought she was least likely to get annoyed with.

However, I soon realized that Loki can be considered quite annoying to a dog with little patience. His screeching and flailing can rapidly send a calm dog into a rage. A few seconds prior to this photo, Gracie was panting and looked happy and content. Cut to 2 seconds later - here she is very quickly losing patience with him. Note the backing up posture, the ears low and back, avoiding eye contact with him - yes, as sweet as she is, she was going to lose it with Loki any moment now. So I pretty much booked it back to the sled before she snapped. Lucky for Loki - he lived to run another day!

This was a loose run the other day at Steph's place. I brought three dogs to add to her three and we went out for walk. My guys absolutely loved the free running and all six chased each other at warp speed through the trees. We kept expecting to hear a smack into a tree, but luckily the only noise was little Indigo (below). She is the noisiest dog while running! Only her screeching and whining could be heard as she excitedly pursued Jack and Harris through the woods. She is used to being the fastest one, haha! Not on this day! She had some good company to challenge her for an hour or so.

And, no. Jack hasn't lost the use of his lower legs here. I think this was at the end of a snow bath. Indigo was ready to pounce on him the minute he stood up. But perhaps he was being sneaky and pretending he was wounded to throw her off so he could bound away catching her off guard!?!? Damn I have smart dogs.

Here's Steph's landlord's valiant effort to catch 3 humans and 6 hyper huskies in one photo. Nice try!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Yesterday's race was awesome!

...in my dreams, that is.

I love how ridiculous dreams can be so I had to share this gem. I was involved in some kind of race, god-knows-where. It seemed like a distance race as we all had super packed sleds and were negotiating a tricky trail for what seemed like days.

I recall being passed by someone and then I gained on another musher. Why it was Quest musher, Wayne Hall. "Fancy meeting you here Wayne" I said like we were old friends. He had on this HUGE fur hat that dwarfed him it was so large. It literally went down to his butt as well. It was ridiculously gigantic, I recall thinking , "is that really necessary?"

Anyways, we were gaining on Wayne pretty good and I was about to pass him, when I realized something was amiss. Um, I didn't have my dog team. So I look back and there they are trotting along sans driver a hundred feet or so behind me.

What the heck was I doing without them, and more importantly - why was I AHEAD of them?? Must be all that work lately on the bike trainer....

So I wait for my team to catch up to me (a statement you'll never hear a musher say), and when they finally do, I casually hop on the sled. Then three little kids start running along with us, hanging off the sled and chatting away to me. Although I'm mildly annoyed, I find them quite entertaining at the same time.

The kids mysteriously disappear, and we go over this really windy trail with sidehills and huge stumps. I suddenly have superhuman strength as I pick up the whole sled over these 2ft high tree stumps. Things are going great. The team and I were working together as one, we were having fun, I couldn't wait to see what was around the next corner. I was having the time of my life! I was convinced this was real and thought "why don't I do this more often?" We're awesome! Until...


"R-I-I-I-I-I-P!!!"


I bolted upright and was snapped out of la-la-dreamland by the sound of Mr-appropriately-named-RIPPER annihilating an empty box of rice downstairs. I peered over the end of the bed to see him shredding it and then guarding the pieces from his buddies who were eyeing up all the cardboard-y goodness.

And that was that. Damn! I hate ending a good dream early. I tried to roll over and force myself to sleep with hopes of re-joining the dream/race, but like that ever happens...

Later in the day, I was really snapped back into reality when my dogs were acting like... well, MY dogs. Not the super-awesome-racing-team in my dream, but my loveable goofballs, who have pretty important things of their own to do in life...

Like carrying empty bowls around to entertain the human. And when said human laughs so hard she almost pees, strutting your stuff and making circles around the human while wiggling your butt like an easily exciteable puppy. Not like the 8-year old dog you really are (ie: Kuna).

Kuna was so darned proud of himself, I could barely keep the camera straight I was laughing so hard.

You see, this was quite the find. There were a few frozen kibble remnants in that bowl and he was strutting around like he'd discovered the Great Yukon Gold Rush of 1898! He took great joy in taunting the others (me included) on his rare and valuable find.

Look at him prancing around.


20 minutes later...



Eh, I think I'll keep these goofballs.

In other news - it's STILL freaking cold. Check out the tropical temperatures here this morning. The low for the winter. Yep, that's -44C!!!!

FYI - heading to the outhouse (in the background there), with only a bathrobe on and your lower legs exposed at -44C is NOT recommended. I was so freakin' cold, I thought my legs were going to fall off. They actually lost feeling in those few moments. We were all shocked by the cold, and the dogs and I started tripping over each other in a mad dash back to the cabin. It was every woman/dog for themselves. And I have to say, I was NOT the first one back in the cabin!

Note to self: must remind dogs who the *boss* is...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A terribly exhausting day...

It's been pretty chilly around here lately! Not only is it cold, there is a significant wind chill which makes me want to run back inside after being outside for 5 minutes. I might be getting sick though, so it could be that and not my wimpy-ness.

Needless to say, we've all been kind of hibernating and lazy the last few days...


I'm just trying to keep up the wood cutting with the rate of wood burning. And, well, Gracie's just a slug.



"Ooh, brrr... my nose is cold!"


"What say you put down that camera and rub my belly?"


Harris looks like he's barely staying awake. I tell ya, keeping up with these ENERGETIC huskies isn't easy.

Ah, sisterly love! George gets a wee bit too close for Gracie's liking.

"MY blankies... er... blankets!" (proving that yes, she IS still a tough dog)

Meanwhile on the other side of the cabin, two feet away...

George manages to tick off yet another dog. Kuna had the squeaky toy and George is all about getting as close to it as possible without actually touching it. 'Cause then he'd rip her head off.


Ok, so she's not all that serious about getting it. She just wants to annoy him.

Whupps! Haven't licked my butt for oh, about 30 seconds!


Geez, aren't you glad you tuned in today!?!? :-)