When the weather does not lend itself to riding a scooter, whatever is one to do? How to get from Point A to Point B when it is freezing cold and the world is covered with snow? Answer: Dogsled. Uh oh, is Liz about to confess to hitching her two Chihuahuas to Rosebud and forcing them to drag her through town? No. Kiwi and Chloe, sadly, are not that strong. Maybe if I had thirty Chihuahuas… Hmm… Idea forming… BUT, anyway — let me suggest that I do now have first-hand empirical evidence that dogsleds do not handle like Lamborghinis on hairpin turns…
While dogsledding was not at the top of my bucket list (Winning Powerball is — still working on it), I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to go dogsledding when it fell into my lap. As you can see, the mere anticipation of going dogsledding, prompted me to have this here shit-eating grin:
The first step in any successful dogsledding adventure is having the musher load you into the sled. Since dogsledding typically occurs in alpine climates, where approximately 1.21 gigawatts of blazing sunlight reflect off the snow and into your face, you have to wear giant sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF of about 10 million.
Being a dogsled-neophyte, it had not dawned on me that I needed to bring the giant specaroos. Luckily, a random guy named Adam let me borrow his. So, once I had been loaded into the sled like the cargo that I was, away we went.
Those of you who know me know that I would not last long as well-behaved cargo. So, after about two minutes, the musher (I believe his name was Brian) asked me, “Hey, would you like to drive?” Naturally, I said what anyone in my position would: “Are there actually people who say No to that?”
With that said, we “pulled over” so that I could climb out of the sled and get into the driver’s seat. Because I didn’t actually have any experience driving a dogsled, and the dogs had no idea who I was, and I didn’t know any of the commands that get the dogs to perform critical functions (like turning and stopping), Brian stood behind me to make sure that I didn’t inadvertently manage to kill us both.
I know what some of you may be thinking as you gaze upon these photos: Center City Philadelphia looks different than I would have imagined.
Yes, even with only a rudimentary understanding of the topography of the mid-Atlantic region, you are correct that these photos do not represent the City of Brotherly Love. (The lack of cheesesteaks in the foreground is an obvious clue.) You’re looking at Leadville, Colorado — out near Turquoise Lake.
Others of you may be wondering: Who the hell took these pictures?? Answer: Did you know that there are dudes in Colorado who (if you hand them money) will gladly hop onto a snowmobile and take pictures of you while you drive around a mountain on a dogsled?
Driving a dogsled is a little bit like riding a scooter. There is a certain amount of leaning involved to make turns. Also, as with a scooter, there is a certain point where the laws of physics demand to be followed. Things were going perfectly well until we were nearly back to the doggies’ home area. There was a well-worn turn in the driveway that — for reasons that I will never comprehend — required a hard left.
A very hard left.
In my defense, the dogs started it. (They were out in front after all…)
So, it is very hard to get a long, rectangular object (e.g., tractor-trailer, railroad car, dogsled) to corner on a dime. I reflected on this life lesson shortly after I became airborne and saw the sled (lying on its side) still zipping forward as the dogs (oblivious to my plight) continued to race towards their waiting beef stew. For his part, poor musher-Brian, had also been temporarily liberated from his moorings and was sailing along to my right. After brief period of unplanned flight, I landed face-first in a giant snow drift and spent the next few moments trying to determine whether it was melting snow or blood running down my face.
(It was snow. But stay tuned for another post that does involve Blood on the Mountain!!!)
Until then, here is a close-up of my favorite pooch on the crew, who — if you know the Native American legend — can see both Heaven and Earth…