Some snow fell today, just bits of flakes being batted around by the wind on a cold and cloudy day. No white on the ground, but winter’s calling card inspired me to get the dogs out with the Sacco cart in preparation for the sled. The cart is a bit dicey with more than a couple dogs. I’m often foolish but seldom outright stupid, so I elected to drive 40 minutes to the rail trail in Mason, NH. It is fairly smooth and straight and has a slight incline most of the way out, just shy of five miles total.
I brought my trusty tire to drag behind for some extra control. Chord, the craziest of the team, is in season so I was justified in leaving her behind. I had Ike and Poe as newbies. Ike ran a couple times on short runs with the sled last year. He did not cover himself with glory. Poe has never been hitched other than pulling the tire in the backyard a couple times. I hitched Jag and Levi in wheel position first, then Song and Marcus in lead. As soon as the leaders were hitched Jag started screaming and Levi joined barking. This had Marcus eager to hurl himself into the harness and start the run every time the wind rustled a leaf. I still had to hitch the newbies Poe and Ike in the middle. This involved me wrestling with Ike who turned himself into a 40 pound circus poodle leaping and twirling and flipping. Then Poe pulled out of his collar, and when that was tightened he wrapped himself around Ike somehow getting between Ike and Ike’s snappy new harness. If it were not for me bellowing LIE DOWN trying to keep the older dogs in place during the antics it would have looked like an act in Cirque Du Soliel. I heard a voice and looked up to see a mountain biker concerned for the welfare of me and the dogs. How embarrassing, but he was very practical and helpful. He tried to hold Ike but that was like trying to hold the Tasmanian devil at this point. So he ran back and stood on the cart, which had the back wheels locked with the brake. Then the dogs dragged the cart with the wheels locked, the man on the cart for weight, and the tire tied behind, all while I yelled LIE DOWN. Not one of our finest moments. Finally I had all the dogs pointed in the same direction. I leaped on the cart and off we went.
Things improved dramatically once we were off. Though about a mile into the run Ike spotted someone on a blue Sacco cart rattling along down the trail chasing us. He spent another half mile or so getting pulled by his neckline with his hackles up and barking trying to look back at the alien cart. Either getting dragged sideways became tedious after a while, or he realized it was me on the cart. He settled.