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Finishing the Season

The dogs and I hit Brendan T. Byrne this past weekend to finish out the mushing season. I had a three day weekend thanks to the holiday, but Friday was a wash with 70 degree temperatures and rain. We made the most of Saturday and Sunday, though!

Saturday morning we arrived early and got a quick five miles in before it got too warm. Then I spent the afternoon reading Wild and cooking on my new camp stove while the dogs lounged around.

We were up before the sun the next morning and started our run directly from the campsite, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. It was a struggle to pull myself out of a toasty sleeping bag into below freezing temperatures, but it was worth it. All I had to do was throw clothes on myself, harness the dogs, and roll out.

We finished the season with our longest run of the year at almost 10 miles. There were a few points where it was slow-going, but overall, I’m very happy and proud of the pups. Especially Dexter, who has shown he can still keep up with the youngins’… at least after their initial burst of speed. I’m working on controlling their pacing, which will work out better for all three of them.

Cheers to the 2014/2015 mushing season coming to an end, and here’s to the beginning of 2015 hiking season!

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Home Again

Looks like the Icelandic weather followed me home! I expected the trails in the Pine Barrens to be clear this morning, but there was still a decent amount of snow. Probably should’ve brought the sled instead, but we made it through!

Looks like the Icelandic weather followed me home! I expected the trails in the Pine Barrens to be clear this morning, but there was still a decent amount of snow. Probably should’ve brought the sled instead, but we made it through!

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Favorite Places

Six Mile Run, Somerset, New Jersey

Six Mile Run, Somerset, New Jersey

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On board a Dog Sled

Photo by Teresita.

Photo by Teresita.

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Neighborhood Mushing

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Just a Frosting

We finally got a little snow to mush on! Not enough for sleds, but enough to make the dogs very happy.

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Up before the Sun

Hot breath on a cold morning.

Hot breath on a cold morning.

 

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Beginnings

As the old year closes and the new begins, we often talk about goals and resolutions. I have my own set of personal achievements to strive towards this year, but I think now would be a good time to write about my mushing goals.

Every season, I set a goal at around 150 total miles. We generally start running in October, and continue up until late March, weather permitting. This gives us six solid months to accrue distance. If we’re lucky, we get a head start in late September, and run into April. Either way, 150 miles is a pretty attainable goal.

As of January 1st, 2015, we have around 83 miles in the books. Dexter is behind with only about 70 miles, since I didn’t run him in our first race and he’s had a minor paw pad injury this past week. I’m not too sure about his future in mushing, since the pups have definitely hit their peak and run much faster than he does now. I don’t want to force him to run, but I’d hate to leave him behind. We’ll see how he does after a week of rest. Hopefully we’ll see some snow this season, which he does run better in.

I’ve got a few other mushing related goals I’d like to accomplish, for this year and the future:

  • Purchase an Arctis Cart (slated for Summer of this year)
  • Dryland mushing roadtrip 
  • Stay in a cabin with mushing trails in the vicinity
  • Overnight mushing trip (mush to a spot, pitch a tent, then mush back the following day)

If anyone has any suggestions for those last there, please let me know! They’re not really activities I’ll be able to do around New Jersey, so any advice is appreciated.

Have a happy 2015!

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you – beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. 

― Edward Abbey

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Water World

After all the rain we’ve had, the trails down in the Pine Barrens were more like small lakes. We tried a new 5.7 mile loop, which involved maneuvering through some huge puddles that just about submerged the the rig. The dogs didn’t seem to mind. Especially Dexter – he actually ran better than ever. I guess maybe he’s a Labrador mix after all. 
 Towards the end of our run, we caught up with Jessica’s team and Bryan’s team (fellow Jersey Sands mushers). It was nice having some teams to chase for the final stretch, and to get the dogs used to other dogs nearby. Passing is a different story, but I’m grateful to have other mushers involved in this crazy sport to train with me!

After all the rain we’ve had, the trails down in the Pine Barrens were more like small lakes. We tried a new 5.7 mile loop, which involved maneuvering through some huge puddles that just about submerged the the rig. The dogs didn’t seem to mind. Especially Dexter – he actually ran better than ever. I guess maybe he’s a Labrador mix after all.

Towards the end of our run, we caught up with Jessica’s team and Bryan’s team (fellow Jersey Sands mushers). It was nice having some teams to chase for the final stretch, and to get the dogs used to other dogs nearby. Passing is a different story, but I’m grateful to have other mushers involved in this crazy sport to train with me!

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