top of page
  • Writer's pictureElke Konetski

To Pull

Watching these dogs want it. Want to pull. Want the trail. Want their team. Want to run. More, faster, again, always something. I went out on a "stretch" out run with Matt yesterday. What he called, "just maintenance". I can only shake my head and chuckle at that. These dogs, no matter how many years i've watched them, ran with them, will never stop astounding me. We took off with small teams. Matt in lead and me with my team behind. Far enough behind that my dogs energy doesn't distract his team but near enough that I can still catch the turns he decides to make. Even with the confidence in the proof to myself of not crashing once with a twelve dog team during copper basin 300;chase team with an eight dog team behind my husband still has me practicing that white knuckle grip on the handlebars. It may expand my horizons and somehow still bring me to new trails just a stones throw from our back yard... but hot damn my heart sure races! Until I too am laughing, one handed and sprinting next to the sled around a tree born to destroy sleds, behind a team drooling for a faster corner, ill put some of my anxiety on our eleven inch height difference. (; After a few of these trail spots that had me sweaty in my gear. Some sunset rays through the spruce that I audibly gasped to myself over. And watching the dog butts that I love, doing what they do best, we started putting in new trail. We broke off from a river trail that we practically call our backyard, to start traveling up the river and away from any trail that had previously been put in all winter. Deep snow. The dogs are swimming through the snow like dolphins, working with their partners and teammates to keep a consistency. Matt, in lead is putting in the trail with his team. Calling commands for left and right to his lead dogs that they blindly follow. Blindly in the sense that there is no visible trail or markers for them to follow, just wide lengths of snow surround them. The only way to get this particular way of leading together, musher and dog, is time and training. When Matt says "Haw", well his Dyea, his lead, his right arm, knows just how much left by the tone of his voice. A very wide variant to this word but Matt and Dyea are one so they make it look easy. As Matt and team eat away the miles, swimming through snow, they leave behind a nice little trail for my team. So we're cruisin'. And heck, im a full kibble bag lighter then matt is and don't have a trail dragger (extension to his sled that makes breaking trail have even more drag in the snow). Im giggling on my sled, riding the runners like an electric bull in slow-mo as I do my best in keeping the sled steady for the dogs. Keeping an easy, consistent pull for the dogs so they can hold their rhythm is one of the important jobs of being on the runners. Something that has been fun to work on over the years and I will always continue to. (Side step here and a story for another time, but every musher really does have their own way of riding the runners. The dogs know who's on the runners and they'll let you know it.) The few times I stopped, the dogs would go nuts. In trail conditions like this, its easy to think its tough work for the dogs and that they would enjoy a little breather, a roll in the snow. No. I stop and they shout with their husky howls. Shout to go. Shout to keep going, to pull. Tails wagging ferociously like they could propel themselves forward with it, literal smiles on their faces. Jumping into their harness, pushing against the center line to get my sled to inch. Trying to pop my hook out of the snow and get the sled moving. These dogs are trail monsters. Wild for the feel of pulling. Their passion contagious. How lucky are we to be there with them?

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page