Where did the summer go?Hello from Whitehorse.
In my last post in May I had just opened my return bags from Iditarod and hung everything to dry in the workshop. Well, that stuff is still hanging there and it just got company. A lot of glacier gear, soaking wet from endless rains, is now crowding the shop too. Needless to mention, I have not been home much this summer. Not that I am very sure where home is? Home is where the heart is…., I have been a traveler at heart for a long time. Traveling by dog team is has been for the past 14 years. Its been a wonderful journey with some incredible obstacles but an equal amount of opportunities and joys, shared with many old and new friends. I have traveled to some of the most remote, yet beautiful places on earth pulled by my trusty team of dogs. Its also been their company which made those trips even more special. Our bond has been tried and tested many times, being it climbing up Eagle Summit, braking trail on the Yukon River for hours on end or running in a ground blizzard over Norton Sound. There have been close calls, but in the end we always came out in one piece, with a bond unbroken and stronger than before. I hope that this bond will be strong enough for my dogs to forgive me, to take this winter off and to travel down different trails.
But I could not longer deny the call for change, which came from within. Time to spend with friends has always been scarce, because I was either busy running dogs in the summer to make money for racing in the winter, or I was training in the fall and winter to go racing. Never mind than the time spent racing. But not all of my friends and specially not my family is into running dogs, and I could tell that I was drifting further and further apart from them. So this winter, I am hoping to make up for that and go traveling again, visiting friends I have not seen in a long time, spending time with my family in Germany and going sailing. Sailing, another passion of mine, which I have neglected also. I am trading a pair of runners and bunny boots for a pair of shorts and sandals, to get some sun on my skinny chicken legs. All summer people comment on my healthy tan. The “ glacier rat “ tan of face and hands. But same as the glacier sun only reached part of my body, so did the mushing only reach part of my soul.
It’s a very different feeling this fall. Its Sept 12th. When I got up it was around freezing, plenty cold enough to hook up a team of dogs and be rewarded with a beautiful sunrise over the Ibex Mountains. Fall colors are at their peak, the sun has blessed us with near summer temperatures in the daytime. But instead going running this mornig Diesel, Gizzy and I headed back for the couch. I yet have to get used to the sleeping in part, of not running dogs. The inner clock still wakes me up at 5.30. But even Diesel and Gizzy left here today and I am now dogless. All dogs have gone to a couple of different mushers FOR THE WINTER, not forever. Some will be racing, some doing tours and others just hanging out as retirees. I am going to miss them, no doubt about that. I guess my children have just left the house. But I have also missed spending time with some of my friends. I am not saying I am done running dogs forever. Time will tell, in which direction things turn. Latest in May I will be back on the runners on the Herbert Glacier. www.coastalhelicopters.com It’s a very fulfilling job, having so many people tell us, that this has just been their best day of their cruise.
But in the meantime, happy trails to all. Its going to be interesting to follow the races from the distance, seeing my dogs run in somebody else’s team.