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Old 01-28-2013, 04:30 PM   #1
Sexual_Muse
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Sledding Mishaps (closed)

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Kayta de Borbón
Twenty-four years old
5'6" 32C-24-32
Dog Team:
Wheel Left: Nanook, six year old male Canadian Eskimo Dog
Wheel Right: Ipiktok, four year old male Canadian Eskimo Dog
Point/Swing Left: Kinapak, four year old male Canadian Eskimo Dog (red mask dog only)
Point/Swing Right: Arrluk, five year old male Canadian Eskimo Dog
Lead: Yakone, six years old male Canadian Eskimo Dog
I grew up thinking I was some kind of immortal. Nothing to fear and no reason to fear it. A lot of that had to do with my Father and the stories he would tell me before bed. Mostly myths and legends of the world, others with strong moral lessons but all of them told with me as the main character. He always told me that I could do anything, that as long as my heart was true and my mind strong there was nothing in the world that could beat me. I maybe took that to literal...

I was the kid in the school yard ready to do anything. Sometimes that marked me as a trouble maker but I liked to think of it as making me a conqueror of all. A little dramatic perhaps but when it came to out showing or proving someone I made it my life goal to win. If I was dared to climb a tree I would climb to the very top and scream my name out loud, telling all that I had climbed that tree. I was even dared on a field trip to walk over to the wild buffalo and pet it. I remember my teacher's face when she saw me petting the buffalo. It turned out the 'wild' buffalo wasn't as wild as we liked to think, it had been raised in the area and was the park ranger's friend, but we didn't know that. And neither did my teacher.

And yet all the stupid dumb things that I did I only seriously hurt myself once. In eighth grade I broke my arm trying to do this BMX move that some college kid was doing. In my mind there was only one problem, I didn't know how to do that but as I watched I didn't think it looked too hard. I was wrong, it was a lot harder then I thought and the ground was even harder. After my arm healed I spent three months just learning that move so I could show everyone that I could do it. And I did.

All this will lead to what will happen next in my life.

At 24 I had spent the last four years in Canada. It started as a backpacking trip lasting a few weeks a month as most and turned into something else completely. I went in hope of learning about the First Nations. Weeks turned into months and before long I had forgotten about my life in Montana. From there I traveled with a group up to Manitoba to the beaches of Hudson Bay. I took that opportunity to learn about the Inuit people. I was instantly welcomed and spent most of my four years in Churchill where my passion of it's culture and ways of life grew.

It was another dare, a challenge that I wouldn't be able to finish the Iditarod Trail, that had me learning about sledding. I learned as fast as I could and in that first year I joined and only made it to the Fingerlake check point before I scratched. The second time I worked on building my team but still only made it to Kaltag. This year was different, I could feel it. My team was strong and worked well together. Five of the sixteen had been with me as new born pups and made the heart of the team. I was going to make it this year, it was a chat that I whispered to my dogs and chanted in my head.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:59 PM   #2
hcsd1719
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We were starting our annual training procedures for the upcoming sled season. Several of the crew have been doing this for several years, but I was new to the area and eager to learn. I’ve only been in Alaska for six months but it’s been a dream come true so far. I’ve endured what the locals consider hazing, but having a Military background coupled with coming from a University in Massachusetts, this was nothing. I played along and it did build trust within the team.
I was born & raised in Massachusetts, but there was something missing that I just wasn’t getting there. I love the wilderness and everything it has to offer, but most of it is quite docile & not all that difficult to handle with the proper training. I was longing for something far more intense so when I found an opportunity to come to Alaska, I jumped at it!
Us “Newbs” aren’t given that many important tasks to complete but Hey, if I need to “Earn my Bones” as they say, I’m in! Over the next several weeks we’re bring teamed up with one of the veteran Dog sledding commanders to give us a good lay of the land to make sure we know what we’re doing and where we’re going.
“Peaseey! Get over here & listen up! There’s NOTHING worse than someone who can’t help themselves out of a tough situation, being put in a spot to help someone else in need! If you screw up, lives are on the line! You remember that, Newb!”
“Yes Sir!” The Vets always seem to call me by my last name, but when the Newbs are alone, I’m called by my first name, Will. We are stationed in Seward and up to this point the weather has been cooperating and it looks like the Iditarod will be starting here this year as well. In years past, the weather will actually demand a new location for the start but so far, things are looking good! If I’m honest, I’m hoping it doesn’t change. I’m rather nervous about not knowing where I’m going if the location changes.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:50 AM   #3
Sexual_Muse
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With about a month before the Iditarod starts, it was right about the time to head over to Anchorage. Leaving with so much time before the race started gave the dogs time to adjust to the climate change, gave the mushers time to get used to the trail and helped amp you up for the coming race.

For me it was a double sided blade. I loved heading down to Alaska because it made the whole thing real but at the same time the trip from Churchill to Anchorage with 16 dogs was at best chaotic. It was always loud, you could win a bet betting on at least two fights, there was going to be at least one dog that would puke and since they all were bed hogs there was no way you were going to get a good nights sleep.

So it wasn't until the second day in Alaska that I got round to unpacking my rig. Yakone my favorite dog and main lead pranced at my side knowing that I was doing and getting excited just seeing it. The whole team liked to run, it was what made a good team but the goofy smile and curled tail wag of a dog ready to go was what showed you that they really loved what they did. "Today will just be an over night." I should have gone straight back into training but I wasn't feeling it today. It was a beautiful cold, crisp day and I wanted to just go on a fun trip with my main five instead of teaming all 16 of the boys and training. It was lady and selfish but I was only human.

"Yakone, go get your harness." The red roan dog barked once and ran off. His excited bark echoed in the clearing around the cabin and got the other dogs excited. There was three of us this year from Churchill which meant 48 dogs.

"Kayta look what you started!" Caleb complained as he exited the house. "What are you doing?"

"Packing for a trip." I answered as Yakone ran up to my side with his harness in mouth.

"Training?"

"Nope. Just fun." I slipped the harness on my lead dog and adjusted it just right.

"How long?"

For some reason the all the questions bothered me and I snapped for no reason. "As long as I feel like it. And don't you tell me that I have to train." I warned when he opened his mouth.

"Fine." He said flatly turning and walking back into the house.

"Lets go get the others." I walked to the back of the house where the dogs were tied. "Nanook!" A white dog with a light colored saddle laying on the roof of his dog house bolted up. I walked over to him and unclipped him from his tie. At 90lbs he was my largest and by far the strongest dog on my team. The closest to him in size and strength was Ipiktok at 88 lbs. "Tok! Het Tok-tok!" An all white dog with a gray mast jumped up and let out a deep throaty howl. "There you are buddy." These two were my wheel men and was the strength to my team. When I had my whole team Donner and Blitzen were my other muscles but I was going to leave them behind and only much a five dog team today.

"Kinapak!" Also known as Kina, was my puppy. At four he was the same age as Tok but where Tok acted like his fellow wheel and older Nanook, Kina acted like a goof ball. Then again Nanook was all that mature, his best friend back home was a polar bear. To no surprise to me Kina was on his back rolling and kicking up snow. "Feel like going on a run?" The word run caught his ear and he jumped up and shook off the snow and started a series of high pitched barks. "Okay, okay. Calm down." I dodged what could have been a head bash as I unclipped my point/swing man. "Go get Arrluk!" I smiled watching Kina dart between tied dogs to find his older brother. "Arrluk was Kina's full brother from the litter the year before. Where Kina was all smiles and games, Arrluk was serious. He was also the one most likely to have a showdown with anything that wasn't park of his pack. Defending me and his brothers from everything as small as a lone duck to as large as a bear. He rivaled Tok in smarts but carried it with quite grace.

Kina plowed into Arrluk and for it received a snappish nip in the face. Kina grumbled and pulled on Arrluk's tie until I came around and untied him as well. The moment Arrluk was free he took off after his brother and the two wrestled, exciting the dogs that were being left behind even more.

"Boys! Come." All the playing stopped as the five dogs followed me from the back to the front where the pack rig was. "Line up." It was a simple command but the training of it was one of the hardest. Each dog had it's place and the command was for them to line up in their spots and wait to be harness and clipped in. I went around quickly securing the dogs to the sled, before rechecking that I had everything pack on the sled that I wanted to bring. Confident that I had everything that I would need for an over night trip I mushed the dogs on.

"Hike." Together the dogs pulled and started running as I helped by kicking until we hit a steady speed. I loved me sled, it was a lightweight all wood sit down that I had made. What made up my seat was a lift top cooler that was padded and not only carried the meats for the dogs but made a great seat on long trips.

"Stay on." I shouted up to Yakone as we passed a split in the trail. If there was ever a more beautiful day for a overnight I struggled to think of one. Little did I know that the day would quickly change and I hadn't bothered to check the weather report for the day. I was mushing right into a storm and didn't even know it.
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