The Ups and Downs of Mushing

THE UPS:

Things have been pretty glorious since my last entry. We’ve been getting snowed on, which is a great surprise for early December. Considering how dry the past two winters were, getting on the sled before January was a welcomed change. Here’s hoping this winter is like the one right before I purchased my sled – when we had blizzards literally every weekend!

We’ve been getting little bits of snow here and there, but the heaviest dump was last Saturday. I managed to take the sled out that night, before the plows cleared off the streets.

The following day, I went to good ol’ Six Mile Run for some more time on the runners. The dogs loved it, despite having to pull both me and Rob through the soggy snow. We did less than two miles since it was tough work, but it was still fun taking the sled somewhere beyond my neighborhood.

THE DOWNS:

Sadly, it’s supposed to warm up this weekend, and all my beautiful snow will likely melt before my vacation officially begins. Sunday is supposed to reach 68 degrees with thunder storms. Really?

I had originally hoped to trek up north to find some sledding trails, but I’m hesitant to make the trip by myself. Unfamiliar trails with questionable cell phone service worry me a bit. Finding a cabin has also proved to be a challenge. Plan B was to find trails closer to home. I had the Poconos in mind. But with the upcoming warm weather, I doubt I’ll find anything sled-able without going at least five hours north.

I need to start making preparations to do these trips on my own. I want to get my hands on a satellite GPS – I think that would help with some of my anxiety. If I’m ever going to start running my little team over greater distances, I won’t be able to do it with a passenger. That’s just too much for three dogs to handle.

I don’t expect anyone to accompany me for a seven hour journey north, where they’ll be spending their time alone in a rustic cabin with only the bear essentials, while I’m out running dogs for hours.

I also don’t expect my friends to wake up at 5:30 AM on a Saturday, hop in my truck for an hour and a half ride, only to spend eight hours in the freezing cold while I compete in races.

Normal twenty-something-year-olds don’t do this stuff. While they’re out at bars and listening to friends’ bands perform, I’m calling it a night at 10 PM.

Mushing is a lonely thing, I’ve come to realize. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Jessica Kizmann

Dog musher, New Jersey.