Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Those first and last yards

Huh. Look at this. This sure looks like a pleasantly meandering path. But really, it's a nerve-wrecking, jaw-shaking nightmare when you head down it in full throttle with a bunch of long-fanged, narrow-minded huskies. And after this descent straight out of Jackass, you plunge thigh deep into the marsh.

Once we're all down by the logging road, it's easy street. But first five hundred yards of single track from the my home simply are not made for running dogs off-season. In the winter it's bone-rattlingly scary, the rest of the time it's simply not doable. Half of this distance you can't brake hard enough, the other half you have to carry the rig while descending ever deeper into the bog.

Yes, yes, of course I've thought of improving this part of my trail. But short of outright road construction, which would be backbreaking as well as completely illegal, there really isn't that much to do.

So I walk down with four dogs in leashes tied to my belt, and maybe one or two of the least adventurous ones running loose. I like to claim I've taught my dogs to walk behind me but, you know, no one's ever there to check so I can say pretty much what I want. Reality is, they do walk behind me, but need to be continuously reminded of the protocol.

The problem with this method is that I don't get to run all the dogs at once. I've thought of fastening chains to some trees, so I could walk four dogs down and then walk up and collect the rest. This should work, we're way yonder beyond arse so the chance of someone ambling along and taking offense at four tethered, lathering mutts isn't that big. It's just that I feel this would be horribly stressful for the dogs. "We're off! We're off!" they're gonna say, and then they're hooked up by the rig and see me retreat home. "Boss? Hey! Get back here, you two-legged loser. What the f...!"

Maybe if I do it often enough they'll relax and know I'm going to be back. But in my experience, it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes you end up just teaching them to get all stressed out, instead of helping them learn how to just chill.

We'll see.

No comments: