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The trails are too bare and icy for good mushing, and daytime temperatures are above freezing almost every day. But nighttime temperatures are below freezing, and there is still a snow base of a foot or so in many areas. A series of moderate storms has been passing through, with ice, snow, rain, and everything in-between. This morning, Saturday March 24 2017, we were greeted by a couple of inches of fresh snow on the ground. It’s heavy and wet, and not good for mushing. It looks great, though, and winter is refusing to let go even though spring has sprung.
This was our second year at the 2017 Haliburton Highlands Dogsled Derby, which are basically sprint races. The weather cooperated for us (meaning it was cold enough for Wayne to be able to run) and on Sat. March 4th it was around 16 degrees Fahrenheit; Sun. March 5th was a little warmer at 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
The champion line up was:
- Wayne & Stella (Lead)
- Moe & Siren (Point)
- Ted & Medusa (Team)
- Jack & Kraken (Wheel)
This was Ted and Jack’s first time riding in the dog truck and racing. They ran okay, but couldn’t really keep up with the other members of the team. On Day 1 we ran the 4.86 mile course in 28:17.90. On Day 2 we ran the same course in 28:12.67– which is surprising, because if felt like we were going much slower on day 2.
On Day 2, around 5 minutes after the start, we (Jack and I) hit a tree. Jack’s body (I think it was his body and not his head) slammed into a tree during a turn and my knee followed. We didn’t hit the tree that hard, because I was going slow trying to negotiate the tree and rock. After hitting the tree, Jack wouldn’t run. He tried to slip out of his collar by pulling backward. I stopped the team and rested for around a minute and tried again, but he still wouldn’t go. Finally, we saw another team in the distance running the opposite direction. Jack looked at the other team and forgot he was scared and started to run again.
That night Jack didn’t eat dinner and he ran into a post, so we thought that perhaps he did hit his head and had a concussion.
Even though we came in last, I won $80 bucks and a hatchet! It’s refreshing to win something besides red lanterns.
Here is an evening photo from our back yard, looking west towards the house.
On Feb. 10th fifteen Stinkers (including 2 humans) went our for an exploratory mush and ran 20 miles. Greg was the musher and Ilana rode in the basket. Our champion team was:
- Wayne (it was 16F so cold enough for Wayne) & Stella (Lead)
- Dru & Phanty (Point)
- Moe & Zeus (Team)
- Ted & Medusa (Team)
- Kraken & Recluse (Team)
- Jack & Siren (Team)
- Moose (solo in the caboose)
We’re very excited about the potential for having miles of trails to mush! The problem is there aren’t any loops to turn around. We jumped from running 9.4 miles to 20 miles– and that’s a big jump. We were able to find a 13 miler, but that entailed a short bushwhack through waist high snow, and this just isn’t doable without having two people to guide the dogs. We’re looking for loops where we can run solo (e.g., not having someone sit in the basket).
Mushing season is almost over, and I’m already dreaming about putting on the miles next season! But for that we’ll need more dogs because a bunch of the stinkers will be retiring next year.