It was a heck of a rough start and I don’t mean on the trail with the team. It was a real challenge this year just to get out of town. Between vehicle issues and blizzard conditions bringing traffic to a halt on the Haul Road, the commencement of the expedition was delayed a bit. Many thanks to Merrill Powers and his son who brought up the sleds and supplies a day behind Joe and the team and ended up spending the night stuck in a snow drift along with about 50 other trucks. That dang Haul Road…you never know what you’re going to get. And when someone is doing something so nice for you and they end up having trouble, it makes me and Joe and the dogs all feel like this…
Aside from finally catching the awful cold the Little Explorer and I were battling right before he left, Joe is doing very well. The weather has been phenomenal, with highs ranging from 10 to 20 degrees and lows of -5 to 10 above at night. Snow conditions are slick given the warm temperatures but it’s great for skiing.
The first day of dog sled travel for Joe and the team is always insane because the dogs are so amped to be out there working. They act like a mob of children who have ingested too much sugar for their own good. Most of the dogs hold pretty still to get in harness, especially the veteran expedition mals who mostly just tremble and whine with excitement. But sometimes you get a rookie who’s feeding off all the commotion and can’t seem to contain their hysteria. This was the case with Howdy a few years ago on his first expedition. I remember the first time I watched Joe put a harness on him. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was wrangling a tornado. Thank goodness it didn’t take Howdy long to learn how to hold still and be cooperative like the others. It didn’t sound like any of this year’s rookies had that problem.
It takes some time at the beginning of each expedition season (and sometimes at the beginning of each day) to figure out who will run next to each other. Joe started out with Farmer, Dino, and Bear in lead. Apparently Farmer and Dino weren’t too wild about the idea of running next to each other. Knowing those two pretty-boys they were probably arguing about who has the handsomest red coat. *eye roll* They grumbled and growled and snarled, but once Joe gave the command to go they redirected their focus on pulling and put the battle of the egos on hold. So, it looks like they might be able to tolerate each other after all.
On the home front, the Little Explorer and I are settling into our new routine. We’ve been busy, busy, busy…but all is well. And now that I’ve completed the switch from the old domain to this new one, I hope to have more time to update you all on the expedition. Please don’t forget to sign up for an RSS feed or email subscription on hendersonmalamutes.com. We’d love to continue sharing our updates with you here!