Sled dog training

In the Pines

We had our first real run in the pines this past weekend. Slow but steady 3.8 miles at Mt. Misery (charming name, eh?) in Brendan T. Byrne State Forest.

I was hoping for colder temperatures, but it hovered around 47 degrees which meant lots of breaks. The dogs did well despite the temperature. I think they were just happy to be running those sandy trails again.

We’re heading back there this weekend to camp and mush. Can’t wait!

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Beat the Heat

Summer returned with vengeance last week, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s meant no runs for my little team. 
 It’s finally starting to cool off, but we still have to take it slow. This morning was still around 60 degrees, so we only did a quick half mile around the neighborhood.  
 Dexter has been running better than last season, though it’s too soon to make any real judgements. Denali has been easily distracted by squirrels, but she’s getting better with every run. Knox is doing well, although he tries to pull over and yap at a Labrador we pass by in a fenced yard. The team needs work all around, but they’re doing gret for so early in the season. 
 We have some cooler temperatures coming in on Sunday, so I’m planning to take the team out to Six Mile Run. Fingers crossed it stays nice and cold!

Summer returned with vengeance last week, and temperatures in the 80s and 90s meant no runs for my little team.

It’s finally starting to cool off, but we still have to take it slow. This morning was still around 60 degrees, so we only did a quick half mile around the neighborhood. 

Dexter has been running better than last season, though it’s too soon to make any real judgements. Denali has been easily distracted by squirrels, but she’s getting better with every run. Knox is doing well, although he tries to pull over and yap at a Labrador we pass by in a fenced yard. The team needs work all around, but they’re doing gret for so early in the season.

We have some cooler temperatures coming in on Sunday, so I’m planning to take the team out to Six Mile Run. Fingers crossed it stays nice and cold!

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Planning on Planning

I’m a planner. I’ve got note books with me everywhere I go to keep track of plans. My Evernote account is filled with reminders for things I need to get done. If I write it down, it’s the first step towards fruition.

Of course, circumstances change and the things you plan for don’t always work out. That’s why you make back-up plans, and back-up back-up plans.

I planned to go on a cross-country, dryland-mushing road trip this fall. I wanted to hit a few national parks, camp out with the dogs, and experience amazing new places. I even had enough vacation time to make the trip do-able (though it would basically drain my PTO for awhile).

As much as I wanted to make this trip happen this year, there were too many things weighing against it. Aside from some personal matters and job related concerns, the main issue was my equipment.

I’ve got two dryland dog rigs/gigs/carts (whatever you want to call them):

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The smaller one on the left is about 40 pounds and I can lift it, by myself, onto my bike rack. It’s what I primarily use when I travel around NJ trails, but it’s not really the most comfortable or sturdy contraption. The steering bar is far from intuitive and the wheels aren’t big enough to go over branches.

The larger rig is close to 90 pounds. It’s clunky and doesn’t fold down, so there’s no easy way to hang it from my bike rack. I ended up buying a cheap, China-made trailer to transport it. Which works, but I don’t trust it for a 4,000+ mile journey.

So, now what? I obviously need a safe, easily transported cart to make this journey possible. I found myself circling around the Arctis Carts website, as I tend to do at least once per season. I’ve wanted one of these dog carts since I first started mushing, before I even had enough dogs to pull it. The price tag and shipping cost always pushed me away, but I decided it was finally time to take the plunge:

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(Photos via Arctis Carts)

Since things never work out as you plan, I couldn’t actually place my order for this season. The manufacturer is back-logged until next year. In this case, it works out for the best – they’ll be traveling to the Northeast next summer, so I can avoid the shipping cost and pick the cart up directly from maker. So then, just maybe, I can start making plans again.

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