mush!

I’ve spent the winter blogging about a tropical adventure…

Image result for moana

Listening to Te Vaka, with their Pacific beats (they did much of the music for Moana)…

Image result for te vaka

and following this real life wa’a… Hokulea http://www.hokulea.com/

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Doing photography on the beach (in December, on the Chesapeake Bay, not… precisely… tropical)…

It’s March in PA… buds are appearing (a bit early, wait for it….)

MOANA

 

We know Elsa will be back.

Some folks are glad…

dscn0331

 

Meanwhile in Alaska…

Image result for iditarod images

Image result for iditarod images

http://iditarod.com/

http://iditarod.com/edu/category/teacher-on-the-trail/

Starts Sunday.

“The Last Great Race on Earth.”

Rooted in the only way to get anywhere (thus to hunt, trade, or otherwise get what you need to survive the arctic winter) in the winter, mushing sled dog teams became a sport after the advance of the bush plane and the snowmachine.

Actually, it nearly died.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race first ran to Nome in 1973. In the mid 1950’s, Jo and Vi Redington were writing letters to bring rememberance to the old Iditarod Trail and it’s important historical significance to Alaska’s history.

In those early days, Alaskans came out of the wilderness with heavy freight sleds and the stout dogs who pulled them.

Now light, speedy dogs are bred especially for their athletic ability to run fast and far…

…and their incredible desire to do it.

For anyone who thinks it’s awful to work those dogs…

lemme ‘splain something…

DOGS LOVE TO RUN!

Most people are familiar with their own waddly couch potatoes.

But dogs are just a subspecies of Wolf  (this is a great book here: https://www.amazon.com/How-Dog-Became-Wolves-Friends/dp/1468302698 )

The Dog’s natural instinct is to run and hunt in a pack.

Which is precisely what a sled team is: a pack of wolf descendants running after prey.

The “prey” in this case, is a fine bit of frozen salmon, or hot cooked dog soup (meat and fish and stuff), or kibble designed for athletes running a thousand miles. It’s a warm pile of straw (these are arctic dogs, they can curl up in a snowdrift and be warm), a foot massage, a general massage…

…need some booties? A blankie? Windshirt? Goggles?

As in any sport (think morons in football) there will be morons. But they are few because…

Mush with P.R.I.D.E. https://www.hettahuskies.com/en/our-farm-dogs/sled-dog-ethics/mush-with-pride/Mwpguidelines.pdf

P.R.I.D.E. stands for Providing Responsible Information on a Dog’s Environment. The relationship between sled dogs and humans is one of the oldest bonds of its kind. Modern sled dog owners are proud of their dogs as canine athletes that are bred and trained to do what they love – run as part of a team. Mush with P.R.I.D.E. supports the responsible care and humane treatment of all dogs and is dedicated to enhancing the care and treatment of sled dogs in their traditional and modern uses.

Modern mushers from recreational bike-jorers like me to local racers with a small team to those running the Iditarod or Yukon Quest love their dogs and often speak of wandering the wilderness with their best friends. Dogs come first. Mushers may go without sleep on the Iditarod Trail but not the dogs. They stop when they need to, eat and drink when needed, go at the pace that keeps them healthy and ride in the sled bag when tired or injured (any athlete can pull a muscle, get sore or sprain something). For the dogs, it’s a long exciting expedition, a run where the scenery and the smells are always changing. for the musher, it’s an adventure… an arduous one.

For the rest of us with dogs, any dogs…

(the 3 1/4 dog team with Max the 16 pound Schipperke)

German Shorthairs (GSDs) in my harness on Lynne’s bike)(note the bikenoodle).

Hooking a dog or two to a set of wheels (bike, scooter, dog rig) is a fine way to get out on a trail and have fun… for you and the dogs.

Mine never want to stop. And when we turn, they turn back around… they want to keep going.

For more info on how to teach your dog to mush, safely, check my page here:

http://www.swordwhale.com/dogs-on-wheels.html

 

The header dawg is Rev… who loves to roll in horse poop and mud. He’s sure it’s camouflage…

 

 

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