Up at 1am for a 2am start. Starry skies to start out and hoping to breeze through to Massachusetts in MapQuest time. Well, that was not to be. Didn't take planned overnight construction into account, but, who could? Lost 1/2 hour to that. Got to Milford, PA, close to the halfway point of the drive and it started raining. The rain got harder and continued through New York State, Connecticut and into Massachusetts. No MapQuest time at all, but still arrived safely.
They had the 3 mile drive on the gravel road to the camp beautifully marked with malamute head signs. Even through the now light rain, you could tell the forested area was just beautiful.
CampNPack Signs - photo by Patty
Got in to the dining hall to register, and while doing so finally got to meet Doris who came up to greet me. The registration was kind of a dizzying whirlwhind after a 6 hour drive with all the information they had to convey. Fortunately they handed me the info in written form as well :)
Parking near your cabin or even the dining hall is not allowed. So you unpack your stuff for transport and once to it's destination you then move your car to the parking lot about a 10 minute walk away.
I was able to leave my car at the dining hall for a while, because I had to get the dogs, their crates and other paraphernalia to the weight pull area, which was within site of the dining hall. Michele let me crate my guys under the eazyup with their dogs.
Got my guys weighed in (Sebastian 136, Cinnabar 108) and then helped Dave weigh in a couple more, including Doris' Denali who tipped the scales at 99..
Cinnabar getting weighed in - photo by CampNPack photographer
We were pulling on gravel. Because of the mud and puddles they switched chute directions and moved it up to avoid the puddles so now it was uphill. We pulled in 100lb increments.
There were 11 dogs pulling and we still ran the array of weight classes. Jane's Tiffney was solo in the 60lb class. In the 80lb class Eileen pulled Kodi, and Michele pulled Shiver. In the 100lb class Autumn's Khuma was pulling for the first time and did really well and Laura's Nanook looked good for not having pulled since Harrisburg (and living on the wild side she passed the empty cart - go Nook!) and John pulled Yukon. In the 120lb class Michele was pulling Tundra, who looked totally awesome, and I pulled Cinnabar. In the unlimited, Michele pulled Nikko and I pulled Sebastian. Dave pulled Ranger (who is in the 100 lb class), but announced that he was pulling Ranger for practice and he wasn't eligible for any awards. He wasn't pulling Hemi or Kiska because of the rain and mud. Not because they couldn't pull in it, but because they didn't want to have to clean up those longer coats afterward :)
The rain drenched us all through out the pull.
You can see in the photo below my shirt is drenched as is my hair. I'd laundered both boys' harnesses to make a good impression, but they ended up all mud by the end of the pull.
Cinnabar getting hooked - photo by CampNPack photographer
Cinnabar pulling - photo by CampNPack photographer
Dave was judging and was letting us all know when the cart was just sinking in and we moved the cart from side to side looking for unrutted ground.
Cinnabar had one pull where he really dug in and with encouragement didn't give up and made the pull. I was going to remove him after that, but Dave let me know he pulled the cart out of a hole. So I kept him in and we moved the cart.
Sebastian started off in ADD mode because the chute fence didn't go all the way down (because of having to recast the chute to avoid puddles) and he had stuff to sniff. So early on it was a start/stop Sebastian brat effort. As the pull went on, he got more focused and had some fun.
Sebastian pulling - photo by Maria
Just my boys were left with Ranger. Cinnabar had trouble on the 1200 lb pull and vocally letting me know while he was backing up & then hitting it. I had them push the cart when he hit it a final time. When that happens and he thinks he's done it on his own, he looks so pleased with himself.
Sebastian had already easily made that 1200 lb pull, so he had MWP. With the rain still coming down, I couldn't see putting everyone through continuing when he didn't have a prayer of getting an X leg in the mud. Everyone said they'd continue, which I appreciate, but there was no sense in it to me.
Now that the pull was over, I had to get Danny to 4 wheel my stuff from my car, pick up the crates & other paraphernalia from the pull site up to the cabin. I had the dogs contained in the car during this.
I was sharing a cabin with Michele, John, Eileen and 8 dogs in addition to my two. The cabin was in the shape of a plus sign. Eileen and her two dogs had one wing, I & the boys had another wing, and Michele, John and their six dogs had the other two wings. With Tundra, Nikko, Cinnabar & Sebastian we had the 4 largest dogs in camp in there along with 6 more - LOL! It worked and with moving crates around to be able to get crate doors open when it was time to walk or feed someone, it worked out just fine.
Then it was lunch time. Off to the dining hall and some hot soup & grilled ham & cheese sandwiches. That hit the spot after that rainy morning. Also got to catch up with more Wildpawers. Maria came up for the day and got to chat with her. April was there with Jelly and Patty with Ziggy. Also got to meet Dianne & JD.
The rain was stopped when I came out from lunch. Now I had to move my car to the parking lot and get into a dry shirt. I hung that shirt up in the cabin to dry out (along with my jacket which had been used over a corner of Cinnabar's crate to keep him dry). Neither of them dryed out before I left.
I got the boys out to walk around and watched some of the novice pull and then headed to the dining hall area to chat with April, and Brison with Haley. I was able to crate the boys in some of the public crates outside that area. I walked the boys around some more. I wanted to try out the leash coupler, but with all the trees they could wrap themselves around, opted to go with separate leashes. They were good boys, and for not having done any walking in the woods before were really good about not splitting me in two around trees. They were happy to jump logs (agility training pays off!) and get around any other obstacles and just have a blast sniffing stuff. And of course, they were thrilled to get loving from all kinds of people.
Off to the dining hall for dinner with a Mardi Gras theme. The food was great and Eileen had some Coronas for us (bless her, she comes to events with everything needed). The conversation at the table was good, and I only wish there were larger tables so that all the Wildpawers could be at one table. They had the silent auction results, the raffle results and there were some games. I was really tired so I don't remember everything that went on.
Before they did the auction & raffle results they announced weight pull results. I knew Sebastian got most weight pulled, but what I didn't know was that Cinnabar got Best Body Percentage at 11 times his weight, just edging out Tiffney. The awards for that were gorgeous cutout malamutes (made by Steve Palinkas from an image of his Balou). We got smaller ones for class placements in Gettysburg in 2009, and it was totally awesome to get the larger ones! Especially for Best Body Percentage, not easy for a big dog to get that award.
Sebastian MWP award - Cinnabar BBP award
After dinner and helping to get the dining room ready for the morning, Autumn invited me to a campfire for some Wildpawers. I was close to dead on my feet and had to decline, although I would've loved to have been a part of that.
I got my boys pottied while I had the cabin to myself. Moving their crates around to get the doors open. They really loved all the new smells and geography. Just as I got them settled,. Michele, John & Eileen got back and got their kids pottied. We were all in bed pretty quickly and out like lights.
All the dogs were good overnight. I had to tell Cinnabar to settle once, he was moving around in his crate, but other than that it was quiet.
The morning greeted us with more rain, but at least it was light rain. John checked his phone and said it was just a local band. He was right as by the time we were sitting down for the breakfast feast the sun was out.
I chatted with some more folks after breakfast and then brought my car up from the parking lot. Walked the boys around for more sniffs and then down to the car. Asked Danny to put me on his list to get my stuff to the car, and he was headed up there anyway so that worked out well. And bless John's heart, he broke down my crates for me.
Car packed up, more chatting and hugs and on the road by 11:15 to sunny skies. Of course that didn't last, once into Pennsylvania the rain started. So between the traffic in Connecticut and the rain in PA, no MapQuest time on the drive home either :)
The boys were happy to get home to their own yard, which was a mud sponge. We all zonked pretty quickly.
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