Just after noon I started my treacherous journey to Nikoai. I consider this part of my journey the worst and hardest. This is because the land consists of bare spots, sandbars, rocky areas, ice, shallow open water, extremely strong winds, and the trail along the river is poorly marked. Also the area is very wooded and consists of many hills and valleys. I was getting a late start because I wanted to wait for several other teams before I began my journey. I did this because you can get into some very serious situations on that part of the trail. As we made our way through the trail it became very cold and it started to get dark. There was a loud noise and all of us stopped dead in our tracks. We were only several miles until we would have to cross the ice and right in front of us, only about one hundred yards away, there was the scariest thing a sled dog team could ever see, times four. Standing in front of us were four huge moose, and worst of all, they appeared to be bulls. We were trapped and there was no way for us to escape. We were in the most feared place on the entire Iditarod. We were at the bottom of an enormous ravine that was impossible to go back up and we were surrounded by old, majestic cliffs. The only way out was where the moose were and they weren’t going anywhere. Our only hope was that they would soon move and we could get to the next checkpoint, but they stood solidly and firmly in front of our only exit, a snow covered archway of trees. If they did not move and just stood there we would probably die from the freezing, bone-chilling cold, or we would be killed by some other ferocious beast lurking just beyond our limited sight. If they did not move, but charged, we would all suffer an attack so brutal and forceful that we would surly die or be finished off by the cold or another animal. At that moment, we all held back screams of terror when we heard a grunt and then blackness. I felt as if I were being beaten by thousands of hands and I could hear the devastating whimpers of dogs and the blood curdling screams of men. Then there was nothing. I felt cold, so cold it felt as if I were frozen. I thought I must not have been killed by the attack and was now buried deep under the snow, but I felt a tingling on my face that had to be blue as the sky and I realized that my face felt wet. I reached up half expecting to feel blood but I felt fur. I opened my eyes and saw my lead dog. She must have been licking my face to wake me up. I then thankfully realized that it had just been a dream, an illusion of my worst nightmare.
Working My Way Up
June 6, 2009