Paws Along the Trail with Stops
Being at the checkpoints, seeing the teams arrive and leave is a great inside view. Some of the things mushers do when they stop in a checkpoint follows:
- Take off their dogs’ booties
- Spread out straw for the dogs to rest upon
- Talk with the vet as he/she checks the dogs
- Snack the dogs with chunks of frozen meat
- Carry a cooler or bucket to get hot water (if provided by the checkpoint) or start up their cookers and melt snow
- Mix in the dog kibble and some meat into the water and feed the dogs
- Dump the drop bags and sort through
- Take off wet gear and put on dry
- Make sure the dogs are OK and resting, maybe give them a little talk and scratch some ears
- Take care of themselves
Some check their sled runners and possibly add a different runner plastic for the upcoming terrain. They may get a hot meal and some conversation in with other mushers, a vet, and the media. Many carefully check the race standings that are printed out and placed on the lunch table, or they pour over the GPS tracker if a computer is available. It reminds us all that it’s still a competition.
Can you write the sequence of what you do each morning when you arrive at school? Are you like the mushers, using your time efficiently?