Tuesday, February 14, 2012
About an hour thirty into our training run tonight I came around a blind corner to see a huge moose in the middle of the trail going after my leaders. Same cow I’ve been seeing all season, about 1500 lbs, but before she always left the trail as I held the team back. Now she gets one or both front feet tangled in the lines and is half drug down the trail. I can’t tell if she is tangled just behind the leaders or the swing dogs. Jump on the brake to stop the team and give her a chance to get loose.
She stomps at the dogs, Rosemary and Mocha in lead try melt into the snow, Dash and Ginger in swing pull as far away as they can. Her feet come loose. She stomps again and walks down the team towards me. Then she turns into the team and stomps Pilfer and Thyme in first team just after swing. Back into the trail, still coming towards me. She stops opposite Z-2 and Basil, two pair of dogs up from wheel. The moose is 20 feet away, facing me at an angle. The trail is 6 feet wide and she is taking up the 2/3 of opposite me.
Options? I don’t’ carry a gun. I’ve got an axe in the sled, a Quest musher killed a moose during the race with his axe when it attacked his team (handguns forbidden in Canada). The front of the team is tangled, but I didn’t hear any dogs scream as they were stomped and I don’t hear hurt dog sounds. Can I drive the last 4 dogs and the sled past her? No time to think, just do it.
Off the brake and the front of the team begins to move – it’s not pretty with the tangle but its working. The moose stomps at Pepper and Dukat in front of wheel, then stands there. I’m watching the dogs and don’t know how far I was past her nose (or if I even went under it!). Let’s get out of here!
Stop the team around the first corner, is she chasing us? Don’t see her. Set both snowhooks real firm (the team has been pulling them loose) and check again. Nope. Walk up to the leaders and check again. Still clear. Untangle the leaders, swing dogs, and first team dogs. Still no moose. Cursory exam shows no blood or lameness. Let’s go.
At home everyone looks fine. I’ll know more about soreness in the morning, but I don’t expect anything. Five hours later Marti says my twitch is hardly noticeable and I expect my heart rate to return to normal in a couple of days J
Keep ‘em Northbound