Part Three of Three Parts
Saturday night’s dinner was leisurely, as we all knew it was one of the last amazing meals we were going to have for the weekend. MJ’s daughter Angela is an amazing cook and spoiled us rotten with wonderful and delicious main courses and desserts. At one point, Mel asked what we were having for breakfast on Monday. I felt the same way. It was going to be hard to leave such gracious hosts. Having had a very full day in the fresh air and sunshine along with our full bellies, we headed back to the cabins early.
As Barbara was peeling off her winter clothing, she joked, “If I was in Florida, I’d be naked by now!” Later, as we chatted about our day, there was a knock at the door. Mel and her roommate Chris had come to visit, in matching cupcake-patterned flannel pajamas, no less. Yes, lady mushers are an entertaining lot, that’s for sure.
They had been at the lodge earlier, where the Georgia ladies were again enjoying their time at the bar, and rumor had it they were trying to sweet talk a gentleman from Illinois into letting them ride his snowmobile.
Well it must’ve worked, because in the morning I could hear someone revving their machine outside my room. Upon opening the door, there was Alicia, proudly astride the snowmobile with a big grin on her face. The gentleman from Illinois was gracious enough to let us all take a run around the parking lot on his sled before we headed back to Two Moons.
Alicia had been trying to get on snowmobiles all weekend, and had gotten to ride along on the chase vehicle quite a bit. She wasn’t shy about asking to have new experiences, and I think she inspired the rest of us, as we all took turns riding along on Sunday morning during the sled runs.
Chad was driving the chase vehicle on Sunday, and I’m not sure he was thrilled with the extra company, but he seemed to take it in stride. Once again the dogs were brought out and one by one, the ladies went out for what would be their final run with the dogs.
A bit of a confession here. I’ve never been a big fan of snowmobiles. They’re loud and smelly, and I like to be as quiet as possible in the winter woods. That’s how you see a lot of wildlife. But this day I wanted to see the sled runs from another perspective, so I asked to ride along.
I rode along on Alicia’s run, and for some reason the dogs stopped after the first curve in the trail. Chad and I hopped off the snowmobile to find that one of the dogs, Clipper, had tangled himself in the line. Chad held the dogs while I quickly freed Clipper’s leg.
Alicia and the team took off, and because we had to run back to the snowmobile through deep snow, we didn’t catch up to her right away. As we came around the corner on “Dead Woman’s Curve” we saw Alicia standing on the side of the trail, and no sign of the sled or the dogs. As we passed her, Chad hollered out, “We’ll come back for you!”
We found the dogs just over the next hill, all tangled up, the sled being pulled along almost sideways. We stopped to help them, but they were pretty shook up and ran down the trail another 40 feet or so in their fear. We quickly caught up with them, and when Chad asked me to help as he dismounted the snowmobile, I was already on it.
He quickly went to the front to calm the dogs, and I jumped on the sled, pressing the brake into the snow. He spoke softly to them as he untangled the lines with a comforting, “I know how much it hurts.” I was thinking that I would have to take the team back to the kennels from that point, when Alicia suddenly walked up behind me.
I told her to keep the brake down on the sled and went to help Chad untangle the dogs. We freed them fairly quickly, but I was surprised at how upset the dogs were by the incident. Still, Alicia made it back without any further problems, and now had a story to tell. Luckily, there were no injuries for Alicia or the dogs.
While the rest of the ladies got their runs in, Colleen was in the background, practicing her cross-country skiing in the parking lot. I was wondering what she was up to, when she pulled on a helmet and then a proper skijoring belt. She was planning to skijor the entire run!
On Saturday we had used padded belts set low on our hips, because getting in and out of the proper harness for skijoring was time consuming, MJ told us. Colleen looked pretty good all suited up, and we were excited for her. We were also a little scared for her as well, as we all knew that at any point the dogs could see a weasel or some other enticing creature and give chase, leaving poor Colleen to decorate some nearby snowbank.
She headed off on the wooded trail, chase vehicle in pursuit, and we all held our breath. We could hear the snowmobile through the trees as it went along, and it seemed to be moving, which was a good sign. Finally she came into view, and the whole group was cheering, and Colleen was smiling.
As she pulled into the kennel area where the dogs were hitched, it was reminiscent of the Olympics, when a skier returns from a successful run. We enveloped her with pats and hugs, everyone snapping photos. And that’s when we deemed her Badass of the Weekend, a well-earned title. We were all so proud of her!
Our weekend coming to a close, we all headed back to the house for one last meal together. As we finished, someone suggested we go around the table and say what moment was our favorite part of the weekend, and to suggest an experience that everyone should try next.
Most of the women agreed that the best part of the weekend was getting to know each other and spending time with the dogs. Many of the staff said the best part was just watching us learn to do something new.
The most interesting part of my weekend was the incident where the dogs got away. It was unexpected and an opportunity to experience something out of the ordinary, and I was able to help out to boot. But truly, learning something new with a group of really awesome women was really the highlight.
When it came to suggesting something new to try, there were as many different answers as there were women. They ran the gamut – from traveling out west, hiking in New Hampshire, snorkeling, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, and zip lining in Costa Rica to suggestions to make sure to visit Isle Royale, Mongolia and Iceland.
Of course my suggestion was that everyone should try Community Theater, since there were so many aspects to choose from, and even if you didn’t want to end up on a stage, there was still plenty of fun to be had. And come think of it, I never did sing that song for Mel. Oh well, maybe next time.
Soon it was time for goodbyes, and we exchanged contact information as we packed up our things. I thought it might be neat if the ten of us got together each year to try some of those new things on the list.
We all seemed to really enjoy each other’s company, and I could see us all doing something crazy and fun in the coming years together. Hey, you never know what can happen with a group of dog sled lovin’ women, as we all realized, the possibilities are endless.
Originally published February 3, 2017.