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Archive for July 2013

How Not to Dog Drive

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Some of you might recall last year’s story about dog driving. There is one part I neglected to include on this blog. It involves injury to my pride and certain private areas of my person, which is what made me think it would be of interest. It also involves a bout with my old enemy, Physics. If you’ve already heard me tell it in person, I am sure you will enjoy imagining me in pain just one more time.

To recap: There I was with my girlfriend and her father in the Yukon wilderness (I call it wilderness for street cred. and dramatic effect). We hooked up two dog teams, and Sarah’s dad left the camp first. I had our art department put together the following diagram, to help you understand the layout of the area.

An artist's depiction of the scene of the accident.

An artist’s depiction of the scene of the accident.


As you can see, in order to leave the camp it was necessary to go around a loop that linked back to the trail we took in. This allows the sleds to enter and leave the campsite without ever having to turn them around, which is honestly a bitch to do. Sarah and I followed her father out, me driving the sled and her skijouring off a line attached to it. Everything was going wonderfully until we rounded the loop and turned down the hill. Sarah unclipped from the sled, which is standard procedure to prevent her from colliding with the sled if I crashed it (in literature this is called “foreshadowing”, by the way).

At this point you are thinking “ah, Colin crashed on the way down the hill of death.” Silly reader. No, I successfully navigated my 6-dog team down that slope, and reached the bottom of the hill where the trail was open and flat, at which point I promptly flipped my sled. Reacting quickly, I pulled it out of the deep snow and righted it on the trail. Now, the thing about sled dogs is, they really don’t give a good goddamn whether you’re on the sled. The moment the runners touched snow, they took off. Not wanting to lose the dogs and face Sarah’s dad, I lunged and just managed to grab the cross-piece below the steering bow. It is at this point that things started to go wrong.

I found out later that mushers often wear snowpants with suspenders. I was not, and thus had an encounter with my old friend Friction. The interaction between the snow and my pants, coupled with the forward motion of my dogs, resulted in an unceremonious depantsing. This would have been alright, had Friction been content with my pants. But Friction wanted more. Thence went my sweatpants, my longjohns, and, oh yes, my underwear. All stacked together in a fabric traffic jam somewhere just above my knees.

Something like this, except offscreen behind the dogs I am dragging face (and other things) down in the snow.


The dogs, continuing their indifferent to my plight, or perhaps enjoying it, dragged my unmentionables (and I do not just mean my underwear), through the snow for 10 or 15 more feet before I heroically grabbed the brake and hauled down on it, finally stopping the sled many metres from the initial incident. Normally one would simply transfer one’s foot to the brake, allowing removal of the hand and regaining of the footing. This is, you can imagine, considerably more difficult when all of your leg coverings are making friends with your kneecaps. I was obliged therefore, to do a freezer-burned version of the worm while pulling up my various garments one-handed in order to maintain pressure on the brake. At length I regained both my footing and my modesty, obtaining them moments before Sarah came into view.

What about you guys? What is the worst humiliation you’ve suffered at the hands of Physics?



Written by Colin Hodd

July 11, 2013 at 2:47 AM