18 November 2011 12.00 PM – 17 F Clear blue skies
It wouldn’t be a musher’s blog if the weather didn’t feature quite prominently.
Obsessed as we are by what nature is providing for us, it has been quite a week of interesting weather contrasts. Hard on the heels of the 3 feet of snow we got earlier this month, snow for which we are always grateful, even if it was all fluffy, powdery, bottomless and baseless, we got some lovely coldness. All was well with the world, except we can always find something to want more of or better of, and so if I had a wishlist, it would have been for the snow to be a little less of the fluffy powder and a little more of the wet, heavy kind. Not all wet, heavy kind of course, just a nice mix to make walking on it/in it a bit easier and a bit less like man’s first steps on the moon.
As previously mentioned, the trails looked pretty good and ran nicely as long as you didn’t wish to plant a snowhook and get off for any reason. However, with the number of teams running on them and the bit of grooming that has been done by the wonderful guys that have groomers, I did actually get a team to stop and stand – albeit very briefly.
Things were looking good, all the dogs were doing well and the temperatures started dropping nicely, we got down to around – 25 F a few nights and it felt like winter was properly here.Then one evening I went out to feed the dogs at 7.00 PM, as normal, and checked the thermometer on my way. It read -21 F. Nice. I came back in an hour or so later and it read – 1 F, how odd. In the next 20 minutes, it went up to +7 F. I was so confused (easily done, I know) that I went outside to see if one of the house dogs had stolen the sender unit, as has happened before, and had hidden it in one of their boxes. No, the unit was still on the wall and the air definitely felt warmer and then the winds started. Quite gently at first but building until for the next 36 hours or so, we had blizzard like conditions. During feedtimes, the dogs had to chase their bowls as the wind would catch them and blow them away. Of course the power went out too, just to give us that complete wilderness experience.
Now that has passed, we’ve been out trying to dig out our gateways and groom some trail, as there’s been so much wind drift, some sections have been almost completely obliterated. Downed trees haven’t helped either, although it seems that the previous storm, earlier this month, got most of the trees down that felt the need to return to earth.
After the winds too, we’ve seen the temperatures drop back down again. A pretty chilly night last night saw us at -23 F, although that seems almost tropical compared to the -55 F that our friends up in Two Rivers saw. It really isn’t that bad, as long as you dress appropriately and don’t lick any metal posts.
Lizzy, our friend/handler has been of great help and I’m determined to give her the full Alaska and kennel experience. Accordingly, and purely so that she gets maximum enjoyment from her trip, I’ve delegated as many of the things I don’t like doing, as I feel I can get away with.
Cuchi’s puppies are continuing to grow well, at just over a week old, they have all more than doubled their weights and are now starting to move around their box with quite a degree of vigour and a lot of puppy squeaking.