Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Friday - the northernmost point

Despite the good rest last night everyone is showing signs of tiredness, and where my team of dogs are concerned this is a relief. Having Rune and Refat again has been reassuring and yet challenging as they are so strong and have such stamina. Uno, my single dog just keeps and going and the wheel dogs, Zero and Brenda appear to be looking for promotion, always pulling as if they want to overtake the rest of the team. Today they slowed slightly, which meant I wasn't standing on the soft brake all day.

Zero and Brenda
Brenda is so endearing that I am afraid she has rather stolen my heart from Rune and Refat, this and the fact that the boys will not kick their bad habits. They have one particularly disgusting trait, which seems to be paying them back today as they eat that which has already been eaten and are both now suffering with bad guts. Brenda is perfectly behaved at all times however and runs so tidily, tucking her feet up beneath her and her ears back against her head. She is built like a tiny wolf, big strong shoulders and a wonderful thick coat. She and Zero have a great relationship and constantly look out for each other, helping each other out of the thick snow. She's affectionate without being clingy, independent yet supportive, sensitive to those around her, strong, fit and gorgeous to look at, what's not to love.
Rune and Refat
Gaynor ran into trouble as we set off this morning as she and Steve became entangled and she battled to free the dogs. Babe was badly caught up and was in pain, whimpering and nipping at Gaynor as she finally managed to free them. Laura's team also struggled today, they found the long climbs, as we headed north, difficult and Rob had to battle to hold back as his team gained speed behind her. The climbing was constant all day, and even though we stopped for quite break at a fishing camp it is clear that we will need our rest day.

Fishing camp

The fishing camp was intriguing, snowmobiles came and went as we arrived, some of them stopping to take photos of us and it appeared to be well used. Gaynor told us they'd stopped there before to try to buy milk but had no luck, this time Miloš had a better idea and he disappeared, returning with 2 carrier bags full, apparently the only thing they sell is beer - that'll be interesting on our breakfast cereal...
Andy's team really began to struggle in the afternoon and as he was behind me I was very aware of his frustration as he tried to encourage them onward with whistles and calls. Those of us in front of him stopped occasionally to allow the second part of the line to catch up. Andy found that he was doing lots of scooting and running to support the dogs and as a result he needed to drink a lot of water, and as a result he needed to pee. Being behind us by some distance, and feeling confident, he decided to keep going and risk sideways relief off the runners, this coincided with a post and some indecision by his dogs, should they go to the left or the right? Whichever way they ended up going didn't really matter, Andy had to turn suddenly, with disappointing results.

Gaynor sporting the arctic fox trimmed coat

In the final stage of today's run the team separated into 2 with Miloš leading us onwards and upwards until eventually Laura, Rob and I lost sight of him and the group behind, making it seem as if we were on our own adventure. Then suddenly there he was, waiting for us at a lonely fingerpost, pointing off the trail. Here we pulled off the track and into deep snow, holding back till we could see the others coming over the brow of the hill. This was to be our last journey for a couple of days and we are now at our rest place - Kamaz, Per Nils's cabin, where we will stay for a day.

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