Weekend in the Whites Part 2 (of 3)
We reached our first cabin and I shouted ecstatically. The dogs, seeing bright reflections in the markers and catching the excitement in my voice, broke into a lope for the last 100 yards to the cabin. I dropped the hook and jumped to each of my 5 teammates, giving some well deserved cuddles and words of praise. I looked behind me for Victoria's team and started seeing the faint beam of a headlamp coming our way. Once again I hooted, louder this time, so she and her team could hear my excitement. We made it. Her dogs came loping in as mine had and once again praise was passed out. After a healthy sized meat snack to each of the dogs we unharnessed and let them loose to run around. Like mad men they terrorized the snow around the cabin. Making their own deer trails through the drifts they stretched and celebrated the way only dogs know how. Victoria and I rounded up gear and started pulling everything inside, beginning the process of starting a fire to thaw the cabin. Gear in, cook pot on the stove full of snow to melt for water and dogs herded inside, we took off our shoes and poured a glass of wine. The process of melting snow is lengthier than you would think. An entire spaghetti pot of packed snow turns into what feels like only a tablespoon of water, barely wetting the bottom of the pot. So all night long is the process of back and forth out the door refilling dog and people's water on the stove. A picket line was strung up outside with spots for all the dogs to eat, keeping them from stealing each other's well deserved food. Back inside we all piled again after dinner. Us humans turn to eat next and we pulled out our freeze dried packets of Mac N Cheese and Pad Thai. While freeze dried sounds mildly unappetizing, somehow they're almost better than my cooking at home. Picking out my meals for camping has actually turned into one of my favorite parts of packing. It's a good thing they're a little pricier or I'd be boiling water into ceramic dishes for meals at home too. After eating we stayed up a few more hours chatting before sleep started calling our names. This cabin had just 2 main bunks, upper and lower. The dogs were already completely piled on the lower one so it only made sense that it would be mine. And hey, I thought, if they all want to snuggle tonight all the better..... bad, bad idea. Because snuggle they did and argue they most certainly did. All. Night. Long. I fought and tugged and pushed to have even half of my sleeping bag and pad to sleep on as Fitz and Floki refused to give up their spots on it. Then as I started laying down 5 more dogs migrated onto the loft with me. Cute I thought at first.... until the grumbles started. Every single time I shifted in the night, all 6-7 dogs that were sleeping (literally on top of me) all stood up and started growling loudly at each other. Presumably over the complete gall each other had to be sleeping near them. All night this continued... into a morning of sunken eyes and a promise to leave the bottom bunk just to the dogs next cabin. We harnessed and bootied up inside the cabin's warmth and once everyone, people included, were dressed off we set. Minds determined on the rough trail back over the drifts and wind from the night before. Normally, there is a connecting trail from the cabin we stayed at to our next cabin but a large snow storm a couple weeks before coupled with the wind storms we experienced made the trail completely impassable. So, off we went towards the truck pulling the hook and shouting let's go! But as it turns out, the figurative birds were chirping for this run. The sky was brighter and the cold of the night before had set up 95% of the trail very nicely. We were cruising. Up and over the snow drifts that still had our curse words hovering over them from the night before we flew. Back to the truck in record time and in high spirits. We boxed dogs, threw sleds onto the roof of my truck and did the whole process again backwards at the next trail head.