The Copper Basin 300
continued from previous post.....
When The Hump was in the rearview mirror, so to speak, I felt anxious to get to the next checkpoint. It was approximately 10 - 15 miles to Meiers Lake and I knew I had to talk to myself in order to cool my jets as there is just no fast way to get there. I was feeling incredibly inpatient and antsy.
Soon, we were traveling along the Alaskan Pipeline. I marveled at the sight of it. I imagined all the men, so many years ago, who toiled day and night, clearing the wild land and to fabricate such a massive project. At first it was nice to be on the broad white band of trail. But, it wasn't long when the flat trail turned into big steep rolling hills. Over and over again we would rise to the top of a hill only to see another and another. It was demoralizing. The dogs picked up on my mood and my leaders, Learjet and Banjo decided to stop mid hill, look around at me, throw back their heads and howl.
This was not good, but I could not help but chuckle. I felt the same way. I wanted to howl as well, as I was feeling the same way. Just like the dogs, I had had enough of this wicked roller coaster for one day. But, this attitude was getting us nowhere fast. It took more time than usual to reach the checkpoint as my dear leaders stopped and howled on every single hill we had to climb from that point forward. When the team does this it is not good. As a musher you have to be able to read the dogs and figure out, are they just pulling one over on me or are they really finding difficulty going on. When this happens, the musher has to get off the runners and push the sled and run along still keeping a hand on the handlebar to the top of the hill. When you are dressed in many layers of arctic gear, running is not a good thing. Sweat is a major factor. When you no longer have to push the sled, the sweat cools and pulling the heat from your body. As I cooled down a chill set in. I had to move to stay warm but this activity was expending precious energy I needed just to endure the distance.
Getting to the checkpoint just seemed to take forever and it was dark again by the time I finally arrived. Dave and Patrick greeted me and helped park the team.
Gwenn Bogart and Patrick Mackey training in
Willow, Alaska just prior to The Copper Basin 300.
Once the team was feed and bedded down for a good rest, I went inside the lodge to dry out and get something to eat. Since I had not been able to rest at the Chistochina checkpoint and had an only a couple of hours of rest on the 70 mile run, I was tired. Food and rest were in order. After eating a wonderful burger, I spread out my sleeping bag to get some well deserved rest. As with many checkpoints, Meiers Lake Lodge was noisy. The bar folks were happy and getting happier by the minute and there was no getting away from them. I lay on the floor in my sleeping bag and was grateful just to be resting even if the noise kept we awake. At least I was horizontal for a little while.
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There is more to the story....stay tuned for more posts....