|Ashley on my old sled|
My reaction, when I saw the photograph on Facebook, surprised me.
First, I didn’t cry.
Second, though my breath did catch momentarily, a smile spread across my heart.
And third, great joy suffused my soul.
There she was, that neighbor of mine, pursuing the same dreams I chased almost forty years ago. She was chasing them as I had, on the same stack of oak and ash that had been seemingly magically transformed by the hands of a skilled craftsman into a beautiful dog sled.
|Me, long ago|
Though current dog racing sleds are almost wholly composite materials, this sled is traditional. It was not built for sprint racing, though I have raced it. When the time comes, my neighbor Ashley will no doubt have a more appropriate lighter weight sled behind her team of yelping, jumping, totally excited team of huskies as she waits for the “go” signal at the starting line of the Junior Iditarod Trail race.
|Heading for McCarthy with dogs and Nancy|
For now, the sled will serve her well. She’s only eleven, three years too young for the Junior Iditarod, and one of her dogs can easily pull her around her yard on this sled. However, she can stop the dog, if need be, by setting the snow hook or throwing the sled on its side.
|Leaving McCarthy, Kennicott Glacier in background|
Lordy, it’s great to see that sled hooked to an enthusiastic dog and equally enthusiastic musher again. Much better than it being the garage ornament it’s been since my last sled dogs died of old age.
And, I’m as happy for the sled as I am for sweet Ashley.
|Dogs and Jeanne at Nizina River, basking in spring sun.|
|Jeanne and hubby with dogs, leaving Kennicott Mine ruins|