Problems. We are faced with them all the time these days. But we walked through this door eyes wide open. We knew we would meet challenge, face doubt, question ourselves. Why take this journey if it was going to be easy? What would be easy is to succumb to the fear, to the doubt that lurks in the back of our minds. Can we do this? Yes. We. Can. Each day we choose to embrace the fear and push forward. To prove the doubts wrong. There are risks at every turn, though we can’t forget they are also accompanied by reward.
Our first training trip together wasn’t without its memorable battles.
A pool of slush, the water up above boot line. Halted dogs eyeing us as if we were insane to have endeavored to take the chosen path. Nora and I, both with our eyes scanning the landscape around us, calmly try to catch the attention of our skiers in the distance. (Hint: They were Meagan and Anna) Each of us trudges off in opposite directions hoping for the end. We keep going and going. Finally, solid ground hits for Nora. A way around! Megan’s arrived. Anna’s on her way. Now to get the sled out. The team is easy, any excuse to free themselves from the small pond we have encountered atop the ice is embraced. The sled, not so much. Digging, pushing, pulling. Heaving and hoing. We break free. Keep running now, momentum is everything! We’re out. Problem solved.
Then the portages, the trails leading from one lake to another, often the most fun on a sled. There’s hills and turns. Logs and rocks. The obstacles can be endless. And then, there is the mother of them all… the downhill on a slant with a curve at the end next to a tree. There’s a chance we will hit is just right. There’s a chance we will hit is just wrong. We hit it just wrong. Do we laugh or cry? We laugh. The sled is wedged and on its side. Dogs on one side of the tree, the sled on the other. We have to back up. Sleds don’t come with reverse. A backcountry 3:1 pulley system it is. I brace myself on the ground, pulling back on the dogs and Anna, Nora, and Meagan pull together on the sled. Nothing. We try a new anchor. Nothing. Hollywood is loose and visiting the lead dogs. The scene is comical. My biceps are burning. We transfer the gangline (what holds the dogs) to the tree. The sled is free. Why not go around the other side of the tree? The direction the sled is already going? I don’t even know who said it, but brilliant! (And, duh. Work smarter, not harder.) We right the sled, push it to the other side of the tree, hook the dogs back up, and we’re back on our way.
Out there in the woods, on the trail, the problems seem easier. There’s nowhere to hide. We must face them. It’s in these moments together that we shine the brightest. We’re one unit. All the cogs turning. Every vantage point seen. All angles examined. We come together to succeed, aligned in challenge and adventure.