“Shoulda Went to Wasilla” or “Must Eat Brains”
“Shoulda Went to Wasilla” or “Must Eat Brains”

“Shoulda Went to Wasilla” or “Must Eat Brains”

I was supposed to drive to Wasilla today (around 5-7 hours one way) to pick up three new dogs. The forecast keeps threatening snow and the Wasilla area was supposed to get 6-8 inches. 511.alaska.gov indicated the roads were in “difficult driving condition” from Talketna to Wasilla. I decided to stay home and mush.

I also decided to take the one hundred and twenty pounds of dog food out my sled that I use to weigh it down, and start practicing with the real items that I’ll be using for  upcoming races.  An action packer filled with my Wiggy’s -40 sleeping bag and parka and a cooker was what I was able to fit into the sled; total weight, less that thirty pounds. I didn’t bring dog food, dog jackets (I don’t have any yet), or an ax and snow shoes (required item in races).  Even with those items, and some extra, I can’t imagine the weight of my sled adding up to one hundred and twenty pounds.

Hookup was a nightmare! Daniel figured out how to unclip the gate and was running around the yard saying “I want to go! Take me! Take me!” Ahab ate the harness he was wearing– the one that I just sewed. Capella chewed Shrek’s neckline and someone chewed Phanty’s neckline. Ahab chewed his tug line.  I replaced the chewed lines and put another harness on Ahab. In order to hook up Nikki I had to let Roo out of her pen and she said “Rah Rah Rah I’m going to put Nikki’s head in my mouth and run up and down the street for a while.” After catching, harnessing, and hooking up Nikki and caught Roo and put her in her pen. I was ready to go, and said so “Ready, let’s go.”

I guess it was the lack of weight in my sled, or perhaps how I packed it, but as soon as I released my snub line the sled and I tipped over.  I felt one of the hooks ( I carry two) hit my head. I felt blood run into my mouth. It didn’t hurt but I couldn’t see out of my eye. “Whoaaaaaa,” I said as the team dragged me and the tipped sled down the street, “whoaaaaaa.” They didn’t whoa. I tried putting the hook into snow, but since were were on the road there wasn’t any snow to hook into. I watched the  hook bounce around and pushed it away from my head. I didn’t want to get impaled by it.

“Whoaaaaa, I said as we rounded the ninety degree turn onto the trail (the turn that I’ve been regularly dumping on). Finally they stopped. The ice hook placed itself into the snow. Now the trick was to right the sled and reach down for the hook. I was using one of Greg’s hooks and the line is a little long. The dogs were crazy wanting to go. “Whoaaaaa!” I said, “F*ing whoaaaa. Chill out.” I inched the sled over to the hook and then righted the sled, took a quick picture to send to Greg so he knew that all was not okay, and pulled the hook out of the snow. We took the shortest route home, 7 miles. I thought about mushing thirty five– the amount I originally intended, but since I had blood dripping from my head thought perhaps I should go home to take a look.

On the way home, I looked for the flashlight that fell off my head after falling/dragging, but didn’t find it. I called Greg from my cell and told him I was injured. He said he’d leave work and would be home in around and hour. We arrived home without incident. I put all the dogs away, went inside, and washed the blood off my face. I was thankful that the 1.5″ long gash is thin enough that it didn’t need stitches, although it’s still bleeding six hours after getting cut.

Greg took a look at the photo I tried to send him and asked me if I wanted some brains to eat? “Huh?” I replied. “You look like a zombie!”

Ice hook gash to the eyebrow.



One comment

  1. LynnO

    Oh Ilana! You should call me. I will come over and be your handler. I’ve really not much desire to actually run dogs anymore. But I SO identify with your hook-up…and then your hook encounter. I could deliver you three trained and able dogs TODAY (with harnesses, and a couple of spares so that when they chew them you can keep going without sewing them up right away.)
    If you’re going to eat brains, make it someone who is smart and NOT a musher.

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