The Sheer Surging of Life
“He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy
of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death,
that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.”
-Jack London, The Call of the Wild
Husky Chariots: Dog truck and sleds
Alaskan Husky. All of these dogs are actually husky mixes, crossed with running breeds for health and stamina.
Greeting the dogs. There were over 60 dogs here – five teams of ten, plus extras – and we petted each and every one of them at least twice. Most were super sweet, a few were shy and none were unfriendly.
The dogs were mostly quiet until we started hooking them up to the lines, then they went berserk. Complete pandemonium.
Our lead dogs Mars and Moon, litter-mates
And we’re off! Flying past Fan Mountain.
No shortage of scenery here in Big Sky. That’s Lone Peak, our ski mountain.
After about five miles we stopped the teams for a hot chocolate break. These metal cleats helped hold the sleds in place. If it were up to the dogs, they’d never stop.
Let’s Go! Let’s Go! Let’s Go!
More! More! More! The energy, drive and enthusiasm of these dogs was incredible.
The Sled Hitch. Lots of redundancy in those knots so there’s no way the team can come loose from the sled.
Most of the dogs were very sweet and personable. It was clear they’re very well treated and cared for.
“Jaws”, held here by the lead musher, is the matriarch of this team. She’s 11 and still loves to pull.
Driving the sled! We each got a turn to drive. It wasn’t difficult, but you sure have to hold on tight! If you fall off, the dogs don’t stop. To slow down you stepped on the center rubber mat with one foot. To stop (eventually, not immediately) you stood with both feet on the curved metal bar, which drove two spikes down into the snow.
This dog ran the Yukon Quest, a 1,000 mile race. Most of these dogs are older and retired from racing. These 10-mile jaunts are just enough to get their yayas out.
Turning for home past the Spanish Peaks
Dan driving the sled with Tristan riding along
Heading for Home towards Lone Peak
Tired, for now.
Thanks to Spirit of the North Dog Sledding in Big Sky! I’ll be back for more!