And We're Off

After what felt like an eternity, New Jersey finally sank into temperatures below 50 degrees. We usually get a few runs in by September, so October is a pretty late start for us. It's torture seeing photos posted by our friends from up north - where fall is in full swing. Some are even on sleds already! (I'm not ready for winter just yet - I'll take 40 degree mornings and hoodie weather for now.)

We had our first run yesterday and second this morning. Both were short runs (1.3 and 1.6 miles) around the usual neighborhood "trail", through the rain. One of the things keeping me in my current spot is the ease of mushing right from my driveway. I live on a dead end street, on the edge of a wooded area. The woods themselves aren't totally ideal for running the team - there's a bunch of winding streams that can get pretty deep, which limits how far we can go. But the back roads of my neighborhood lead to three parks - one I use for walking the dogs, the others for walks and mushing. 

Our usual neighborhood "trail" consists of running down the street parallel to mine, into a short woods loop. Then, we backtrack past my street, through the back of some parking lots (a funeral home, police station, library, rescue squad). We cut through a small monument park (right beneath a giant army helicopter), over a cute little bridge, and behind the town senior center. From there we round into a second park and cut through fields.

Previously, we were able to do another woods loop in this area, but it's been fenced off. I'm still trying to figure out a way back there, since it's a beautiful spot. After that, we retrace our steps back home. If I want to add a little more distance, we'll pass my street and do the woods loop again. I'm hoping that with less rain and a new rig, I might have the confidence to venture deeper - through some streams - for longer runs. We'll see!

We attempted to run into the woods today, but after a week of rain, it was far too flooded. The rest of the run was business as usual, although we did encounter a loose dog in the fields. Maybe my dogs are maturing, or maybe they're just out of shape, but I was able to keep them from charging after the dog without much trouble. Denali did a great job of steering the team away. I hollered at the loose Boxer to "GO HOME" and she listened, too, so maybe it was just my lucky day.

Jessica Kizmann

Dog musher, New Jersey.