You don’t “drive” a dogsled. You simply hold on tight and try to not fall off.
My team of Alaskan huskies only have one speed—forward, and as a dabbling amateur musher, I only have one function—to slow us down.
I jump on the rubber drag pad whenever we rocket down steep slopes, or those moments when my dogs whip around some tight curve in the forest. At times, my sled tilts dangerously high, so that I am skidding around with just one ski on the ice, cartoon-like. “Woah” gets me nowhere, but there is a kind of brake I can jump on, and something that resembles a grappling hook that I can toss into the snow.
My dogs dislike the snow anchor—and they pull at it, testing its hold, yapping and yelping until they pull it free and propel this animal machine forward across the ice.
It’s all for fun—this is my vacation, I keep telling myself. In place of some sandy beach, there is only the diamond-dusted snow; instead of some turquoise seafront, there is only the frozen white curve of the Chena River; and instead of an umbrella-dressed cocktail, I carry bottled water in the pocket of my parka—frozen into a clear cylinder of solid ice. Read More…