dryland mushing

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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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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Back where I Belong

After almost a week in Texas, I was super excited to return home to frigid Jersey and hit the trails. This weekend looked promising, but fell through.  

 Saturday’s run was botched when I stayed out late Friday night. I did manage to take each dog for solo bikejoring runs. They definitely need to brush up on their commands. I’m hoping that if I train them individually, some of that will carry over into team runs. 

 Sunday we were packed and ready to go. Woke up at dawn, but Knox just seemed off. He’s generally a weird dog, but he had been acting funny all weekend. I narrowed it down to his mouth being sore, but I couldn’t find any cuts, nothing lodged, no broken teeth.  

 I decided to stay home and let him rest. He ate breakfast and started to act playful, so we did a brief run around our local trails. He pulled hard as heck and seemed feel just fine.  

 I’ll be keeping a close eye on him and if he’s not back to his normal-weird self by tomorrow, a vet visit will be in order. Fingers crossed for my little dude!

After almost a week in Texas, I was super excited to return home to frigid Jersey and hit the trails. This weekend looked promising, but fell through.

Saturday’s run was botched when I stayed out late Friday night. I did manage to take each dog for solo bikejoring runs. They definitely need to brush up on their commands. I’m hoping that if I train them individually, some of that will carry over into team runs.

Sunday we were packed and ready to go. Woke up at dawn, but Knox just seemed off. He’s generally a weird dog, but he had been acting funny all weekend. I narrowed it down to his mouth being sore, but I couldn’t find any cuts, nothing lodged, no broken teeth.

I decided to stay home and let him rest. He ate breakfast and started to act playful, so we did a brief run around our local trails. He pulled hard as heck and seemed feel just fine.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on him and if he’s not back to his normal-weird self by tomorrow, a vet visit will be in order. Fingers crossed for my little dude!

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Fall

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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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Park Runs

Awesome run this morning after several days of humid grossness. It would have been better if it was a little colder, but that’s my only complaint!

The dogs did great. To start, they usually yap their heads off as we’re leaving the house, which I’m sure isn’t pleasant for my neighbors. Today, they were silent and focused. Dexter has been acting rowdy at hook-up, lunging at Knox and tangling himself up in his excitement. Today, he stayed still and didn’t cause any problems.

The run went perfectly fine, no chasing squirrels, no barking at dogs – granted, they didn’t really see any squirrels or dogs. But I’ll still count it as a win.

What really impressed me was the dogs’ “on-by” when passing people and vehicles. There were multiple instances where we had to pass by moving and parked cars, and they did it flawlessly.

We also passed by a herd of children waiting at a bus stop – all squealing, “DOGGIES!”, no less. Dexter showed some interest, because he’s a social butterfly, but Denali and Knox powered through and he took the hint. 

Despite their issues with other animals, it’s awesome to have them listen to me under most other circumstances. Good dogs!

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Sunrise

We woke up well before the sun to train at Six Mile Run. I wanted to be on the trail at sunrise, in hopes of beating all the mountain bikers and people free running their dogs.

When I rolled up, there were no other cars in the parking lot. I started unloading the dog cart when a truck towing a horse trailer pulled in. “Ok, we’ll have to avoid someone on horseback, no big deal.”

And then about a dozen more trucks with horse trailers drove in. As it turns out, they were holding a competitive trail ride throughout Six Mile Run that morning. Just my luck.

I was just about ready to drop the dogs when I decided running this trail wasn’t going to happen. Frustrated, I repacked the dog cart and drove to another trail head. There were signs and markers warning about the horse race there, too, but I decided to give it a shot.

The dogs ran beautifully and it was a perfect, crisp morning. I was still disappointed we couldn’t run the longer trail, and I could tell the dogs still had plenty of gas in their tanks by the end of the trip. I was tempted to do the trail twice, but I figured the horses would be approaching and didn’t want to take any chances.

It’s only the start of our season, though, and we’ll get plenty more chances to run.

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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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Fall is Here

Day two of fall training. It was a bit warmer and more humid, so we took it slow. The squirrels are very active right now, and Denali needs to learn to keep her prey-drive in check!

Day two of fall training. It was a bit warmer and more humid, so we took it slow. The squirrels are very active right now, and Denali needs to learn to keep her prey-drive in check!

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