Sunday, March 4, 2012

Wow-Hellish 56 mile run!!

Yesterday qualifies as the toughest run of the season-I don't think anyone who was there will argue that. Here was the plan: Morgan and Craig were going to run the race team while Peter and I took the Bombi a different direction to break open some trail that we knew had a lot of drifted snow on it. The mushers ran up to Hansen's Park, an area about 20 miles up that they had broken open 2 days prior, and they were to meet us at the tops of the lower loop after we were done breaking it open. Well, best laid plans always seem to go stray around here, mainly because of that beotch, Mother Nature! Due to our nearly constant spring winds, the Hansen's Park trail had drifted in again and the team had to forge through chest deep snow for most of their early run. 
Peter and I fared no better on our trail breaking expedition! Early on the going was reasonably easy; deep snow and some avalanche areas that were moderately "puckering" but overall we made good time through the first half of the 18 mile loop. That all changed when we approached the saddle at the top of the ridge we were climbing. 4-5' new snow plus drifted areas along the "trail" made going very difficult, even with the Bombi. We lost the trail a few times but regained it pretty quickly, most of our wasted time was backing up and getting enough speed to blast through or over very large drifts!
Top of saddle from inside Bombi
There were a couple areas that Peter even had to get out and shovel-they were too much even for the snowcat to get through.  On top of that, the wind was relentless! 
video

We broke through about 1/2 mile of trail, decided to go back and re-do it because we weren't happy with the results of the first time through, and the wind had already blown it all away within about 30 minutes! All-in-all we spent about 2 hours on that one mile section of trail at the top of that saddle. Once we got to the other side, going got easier and we were able to blow out the rest pretty quickly.
The mushers had to wait about 45 minutes for us at the top of the loop, we had no faith that the mile at the top hadn't totally blown in again so we wanted to be on hand in case, and we were right! By the time we got back up there the trail was invisible again. Sheesh, talk about disheartening!! All that work for almost nothing. 
The temp had risen and softened the snow enough that for about a mile over the saddle the dogs were breaking through up to their chests again, very slow going. Young Enya led all the way through the tough stuff and was happy to be relieved by Copper once we were over the top. She welcomed a break back to point for the remainder of the run.
Then once we go through all the snow and back to the logging road it was to find that the loggers had scraped all the snow off so with the warm temps it was all mud for about 3 miles. More tough going, but we unhooked the second sled, picked up Craig and let Morgan go on herself to lighten the load and make it easier on both the dogs and the sled runners. 
Through it all the dogs kept going; proving that they are in it regardless of conditions, proving that they trust their musher(s) to get them through whatever comes along, proving that they are malamutes!
Tough run. There will be more tough runs in the future. But we hope not soon:-)
TB



2 comments:

  1. As a fellow malamute musher, I love reading your new blog. However, the new fancy font, even though I agree it looks cool, is quite difficult to read, especially in ALL CAPS. I highly suggest you revert to the original version. You might also want to see how it looks when viewed on an iPhone or Blackberry, and use a font that works well there. It is more important to get people reading this regularly than having it look fancy.

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  2. Ya know, anonymous, I agree:-) I love it for the touches on the side but find it hard to read in the posts. I have tried to change it many times but can't seem to figure it out. Back to the drawing board.

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