Our mushing season generally ends in May, when temperatures stay consistently warm. We don't start back up again until September (or October, like after last year's hellishly extended summer). The downtime only lasts for roughly three months, but it feels like an eternity. Especially towards the end of August, when mushers in colder parts of the world start their training and it's still 90 degrees in New Jersey. Serious mushing FOMO.
This year, I am lucky enough to crash a stronghold in Pawling, NY. This puts the dogs and I two hours north of South Plainfield, where it's been consistently colder. So much colder, we were able to start our season off the day before Labor Day.
I'm still figuring out where we can run around Pawling, but a hot tip put us out near the nature preserve at roughly 6 AM. My weather apps couldn't come to a consensus, but all approximated it was somewhere around 50 degrees. Out in the darkness of the woods, it felt even colder. (Side note: thermometer ordered)
This trail is actually a (mostly) gravel road with very low traffic, in between the preserve and a few residences. I can get about seven miles total (out and back), but we started off with a brief 2.6 miles. I didn't want the dogs to over do it on their first run and the return trip was somewhat uphill.
The dogs did great for their first time out in months. Dexter is still managing to keep up with the speedy huskies, though just barely. I had to ride the brakes a bit to keep them from going too fast. That said, I want to keep their pace steady so they don't burn out too fast.
I'm so impressed by how Willy's turning out. She runs like a tiny rocket. Five-year-old Knox and Denali are as solid as ever. Denali easily turned the team around at the halfway point, despite having never run this trail before. I'm always grateful for her "come-haw" command.
I'm looking forward to running more this season. Though the next week or so looks a bit too warm, I'm hoping we can sneak in a few more early mornings before October. I have big plans for a mush-ready adventure van and exploring new trails, with a season goal of over 200 miles by spring. Let's roll.