Friday, October 17, 2008


On days when Sonja is in daycare, we started heading down to a nearby road with the dogs and Emilie to go skijoring. We go along the Chena Ester Ditch Rd, which follows the ditch that used to bring water from the Chena River to Ester village to use for mining gold. The ditch is still visible and a trail follows it on either end of the road. For us, it is about 4 miles round trip from our house to a bit past the end of the road. It takes us not quite an hour. A short cry of the top dog teams that do 20 miles in an hour (e.g. during the Open North American Championships). But hey, we have two dogs only, and the skis are not the best, and right now I hardly help the dogs except with some double poling. Hope to change that as we get more snow to cover the rocks.

The first time we went, it took me a while to get ready (harness on one dog, harness on the other dog, harness on me, winter clothes on me, ski boots on me, find skis and poles, winter outfit on Emilie, find and install pulling poles on the Chariot stroller in which Emilie is riding... it took a bit), but now we have it down to about ten minutes, depending on how much the little one squirms when I am trying to dress her.

Movie: roughly 1 minute: skijoring with two dogs and a kid in a stroller

I hope we get more snow to cover the rocks on the road, but otherwise, it is great to be able to get out in October and ski or skijor.

Cooper and Saphira are a great team together. I don't use the short neck line to connect their two collars, so when we see a loose dog, we almost get tangled up... but since there is only two of them, it's no big deal.

The chariot cougar in which Emilie rides has served us well, though it might have been good to get a double one. When we first used it with Sonja, I sewed the cover from a fabric, and use that in wintertime instead of the cover with clear plastic that it comes with (a friend cracked that clear plastic in 20F weather several years ago, and that's the temperature we have right now). I still have the chariot on wheels instead of skis since so far there is not that much snow, and there are enough rocks on the road (or, today, a new pile of moose nuggets). In fact, in one place, the pile of rocks just keeps growing, and growing, each time we pass by. Somebody is buying the house that sits just on the side of the road, so they have to redo the septic, and they got multiple truckloads of dirt to cover and insulate the new septic with. That's all fine, except for dumping the rocks on the road.

Overall, I am very glad that we took the time during September to brush out our trail to make it wide enough for the chariot, cut several trees that were in the way, and built an access trail by the house where we had only stairs before. And gotten Cooper on Sandy's recommendation. Thanks, Sandy, for watching Saphira, and for recommending Cooper. And thanks, mother nature, for a nice snowfall in October. Can you please send some more snow our way?

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