Jackson Hole – Stage 1 (Jerry talking)
Everything went well until the end. Everybody was stopping their teams at the park. To avoid hitting another team that stopped suddenly in from me, I swerved to the left and caught another teams planted snow hook, suddenly stopping our team in it’s tracks and I launched over the handlebar. But, I had my snow hook in hand and planted it as I landed. SAFE! Very sore ribs and hip.
And then after we put the team up I was coiling up the gang-line when another team came along and ran over my gang-line with their brake sending me off my FEET again!
Then we went off to the mushers reception and guess who we found???? The Shade Family 🙂 Fun was had by all as we enjoyed fireworks, hamburgers and torchlight parade.
We fed the dogs and headed out over the pass to Driggs Idaho. Getting in around 9:30pm. Dropped and watered the dogs, then headed to bed around 11pm. Long day and lots of fun.
Driggs – Stage 2
Alarm went off at 5:30am and the craziness begins. Readied ourselves for the conditions outside and head out to let the dogs out, stretch their legs, feed the dogs their breakfast soup. STILL SNOWING
On our way by 6:30am arriving at the staging area at 7am First musher dog truck there. Great parking spot, right by the starting line. STILL SNOWING! The trail groomer had groomed the trail the night before. Since then there was well over a foot of fresh snow. STILL SNOWING & BLOWING!
Mushers meeting at 8am. Discussion of rules and a small break in the weather.
9am Race starts. Our start time was 9:18am SNOWING LIGHTLY!
The race trail crew had snow machine tracks for us to follow the race trail. The crew does set out markers which are a 4 foot wooden lath with orange paint on top. These are placed along the route showing us which way to go at trail junctions. Lots of recreational snow machines use these trail systems also. With this much snow it makes it difficult for the dogs to stay in the right trail. When you got off of the main trail you knew it, the dogs would go for a swim in the deep snow.
The first 10 miles was a steady climb and our teams hill experience really paid off. We ran 11 dogs, 4 of them yearlings. Culliver, Ranger, Mattie, Amelia, Little D, Elwood, Danger, George, BJ, Quincey and Kristoff. Descending 6 miles off the other side, going through several tight switchbacks to a turnaround and back, up, and over to the finish line. It was a tough trail but everyone (8 dog team as well) had to run it.
We arrived at the finish line in 5th place and happy with the run. All dogs looking good. No injuries with the yearlings barking for more.
When the dogs first come in it is important to let them cool down. So, we leave them on the line to rest, catch their breath for 10 mins. and then we water them, then they get a froze electrolyte snack consisting of powdered electrolyte, ground meat and water, followed by 2 salmon steaks each and more water.
Then we move onto foot care. Each gets each paw carefully examined for splits. Every paw will get a special homemade foot salve to relief any issues. Off comes the harnesses. At this time each dogs gets a quick muscle rub down. The point of this rub down is to catch any tight or sore muscles and treat as needed. In the boxes they go! We are on the road and back to Driggs by 2:30pm for a Meet n Greet with the public and to view their lovely ice sculptures.
4pm Once done with the downtown fun we let the dogs out to stretch their legs and have some supper. We grabbed a quick coffee and it’s off to Alpine with the dogs resting in their hay filled boxes.
We arrived in Alpine very slowly due to slick roads but all is good and we are safe and sound. Once we get everything into our room. We drop the dogs and water them. Monitoring each dog for any issues. All dogs seemed will rested and full. Back in the boxes they go! 10pm Last dog drop of the evening. They get to do their thing and then back in their boxes and to bed we all go.
Alpine – Stage 3
5:30am alarm goes off! AND IT’S SNOWING! By 6:30am all dogs have had their breakfast and back to their warm beds. We finish packing the room up and putting everything back into the truck and realize there is a COFFEE SHOP open next door. Once we complete our caffeine fix, we are on to the race site just a few miles away.
Arriving at 7:15 ish. Driving meeting is at 8am. All is good!
Race start 9am. BRK goes out at 9:24am. Today’s lineup: Tweel, Precious, Betsy, Amelia, Little D, Sonya, Kristoff, Culliver, Elwood and Ranger.
The trail was a long 60 miles following the beautiful Grays River. It was a wide good trail with LOTS of snow machine traffic. The trail has a lot of southern exposure which means direct sunshine which causes the trail to get soft and makes hard work for the dogs.
At mile .5 Jerry misjudged a sharp corner and with the team at full throttle the sled tipped on it’s side and down he went. Holding on and yelling “Whoa, whoa!” They did not stop! Jerry plowed a swath, cutting the corner and back on the trail. Somehow he got to his knees, flipped the sled upright and drug himself back up on the runners. Once standing he cleared his face, pockets, sunglasses etc of the excess packed snow. (Footnote: This was a last minute add on….only because Jerry says, “Oh yay I forgot to tell you about my wipeout.” How does one forget about a wipeout?)
Jerry says at mile 2 1/2 Elwood and Ranger got into a little disagreement so he separated them by changing their positions in the team. Mile 27, Culliver was getting a little tired and not pulling hard like he usually does, so Jerry slowed the team down for the next few miles. Stopping often to let the dogs roll in the snow and cool down.
After a few miles it worked! The dogs picked up the pace finishing strong in 7th place for the day and 7th overall so far. There is still lots of trail left.
Elwood is looking forward to an extra day off. His is a little sore and has a bit on his right wrist. We iced and wrapped it. He also got a should vest with hot packs due to sore pectoral muscles. Culliver and Elwood both received a full exam from race vet Lannie Hamilton (Hamilton Vet of Lander) Culliver is fine, just tired. Footnote: We are blessed to live in the same town as Lannie. She has been an Iditarod Vet for many years and has wonderful experience with sled dogs.
Same routine is done after each run. Cool down, water, snacks, feet, muscles then nap time for the dogs while we move on down the road to the next town, Lander. Feeling very happy to be in our own beds tonight.
Lander downtown event happens at 4:30pm – 6pm on the 200 block of Main Street, tomorrow Monday Feb. 1st. Lander Bake Shop will be hosting the 2015 race video. See ya there!
Remember: We are NOT professional writers, Sandy is a better talker then a typer and we will be almost rummy every time we are attempting to do this blog, so thank you for excepting us as we are! Hugs FACEBOOK is the place for pictures. Come join us there…. Jerry Bath