Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Arctic Traveler: Malamute Wheel Dogs

Wheel dogs all have a particular character in common. If they were people in our society, they would be the ones with hearts of gold. They would be the laborers, loggers, miners and frontiersmen. They would be the trailblazers, making life easier for the rest of us. My fondest memories of my wheel dogs are not when they were busting through snowdrifts, blizzards or clawing over torturous mountain passes, but when we were camping. 

We had been traveling for two months, and it was late January. The temperature was unusually mild, about +10F. Traveling by the dim glow of a quarter moon we climbed to the highest point on a mountain pass. I decided to make camp since it was windswept of snow. The bare tundra would be comfortable for the dogs, a break from the usual snow and ice they sleep on every night. After stopping the team, I pulled the picket line out of the sled, strung it across the brown tundra, anchored the ends down with ice hooks and attached the dogs to the line. After feeding them, I set up my tent and settled in for the night. The dogs immediately fell asleep on the soft tundra with full and bulging tummies. I wasn’t far behind them as I dozed off in my tent with the aroma of arctic moss in the air.

Read the original article from Mushing Magazine