Saturday, February 18, 2012

18 FEB 12

It's "Hike!". . . not "Mush!"
When an American musher wants a dog team to start, or speed up,
the command is "Hike!"
"Gee" means go right.
"Haw" means go left.
"Whoa" is stop.
That's all the control a driver has.
If the lead dogs don't pay attention, all a driver can do is hang on
for what can prove to be an exciting ride.

(The term "Mush" is thought to be an English corruption of the
French word, "Marche" [pronounced, "Marshay"] used by dog-sled drivers in Canada.)

Case in point:
Once, in the middle of a race, where the trail passed through a heavily wooded area, a squirrel crossed in front of my team and one young lead dog immediately gave chase... off into the trees and brush.
The rest of the team joined in, with gusto!
They had a gay old time, while I was kept busy avoiding trees with the sled. My left-lead was named Kally... and she was being tested, on lead, for the first time.
She failed at the task.
I ended up finishing last on this particular day.
I was pissed.
Kally was nonplussed.
She'd had a good time.

                                ( Almost caught that squirrel, she did! )

                    Start of a race... the first heat (a Saturday morning). 
                    Kally is the gray Siberian, pulling left lead here.


This photo was taken in 1988. That's 24 years ago.
It's difficult to accept that all the dogs shown are now gone, deceased.
They were once my teammates and friends.
More mushing photos:

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