Hi, thanks for dropping by. Before we get started let me remind you to check out the New Work page where I uploaded photos of a few of the pieces I have been working on lately. After that, just sit back and see what you think about the proposed intro for the Dog Sled story I have been promising. It is going to be a be a new aspect of this blog and is only the beginning. I will add chapters once or twice a month. I hope you find it interesting and that you will write your comments and suggestions in the Comment section of the site. I will read them with appreciation and take them seriously to attempt to make the final product a better work. This will be a work in progress until we get that team of dogs to Montana. Thanks for being here and I hope you enjoy the new project:
Along the Trail/ Introduction
It was getting dark by the time we topped out on the divide and touched the clouds. Deep down in the canyon the silver ribbon of the Ram River snaked its way through a heavily timbered forest. High to the west part of the main range could be seen through a swirling black fog where a cold, powerful wind from the glaciers was packing the dense mists into an ominous storm, growing in size and gathering strength as it raged down the steep walled canyon. When jagged streaks of lightning cracked out of the belly of the storm it would glow ice blue, gold,and purple. There was an increasing drum of thunder. Fat drops of rain began to fall and a chill wind slapped us hard in the face.
On the long pull up the mountain the plan had been to make camp somewhere near the top but when we finally got there it didn’t seem like such a good idea. I didn’t need to push the team. We just took off down the twisting gravel road, picking up speed as we went, riding the approaching storm like surfers on a wave. We knew it would overtake us soon but devil- be- damned, we were excited and grinned into it like wild-eyed Vikings storming the gates of Valhalla.
The wind became a gale. It blew cold, clean and pungent with the smell of spruce and stone. The immense fortress of cloud rose up in the sky, darkening the valley. Bolts of jaggedquicksilver cut through it. Thunder exploded everywhere. We ran on, forValhalla was not far. Then tsunami of storm came crashing down and enveloped us.Electricity was everywhere. The smell of ozone filled the air and exploding thunder made the ground shake. Inside the storm it was utterly black until intermittent flashes of lightning lit the world in a wild and glorious lattice of light. The thunder was constant; deafening. The rain grew into a waterfall, off of which the lightning sparked like millions diamonds in a dream. We ran through them and sometimes could see into the wild, swirling and distant depths far below. Then it would be black again, in only the memory of a canyon. The darkness was made of cold, stinging needles or rain, the smell of spruce and the sound of thunder.
The dogs ran wild; spooked and scared of the power in the storm. In the darkness I could barely make out the tails of Ruby and Cedar the wheel dogs. The rest of the team was invisible until lightning flashed, then I could see them plain as day heaving into the harness and stretching out wide open at a dead run.Then blackness again, trusting the leaders to find the way and keeping us from flying off some precipice waning into empty space. I hold on to the sled for all I’m worth, dragging a foot and riding the brake, trying not to run over frightened dogs, trying not to wreck or lose the team. We careen around blind corners and there is water everywhere: gorged torrents cascading down the mountain in swollen falls filling the barrow pits. The culverts can’t accommodate the run off and it floods the narrow trace, carving stark muddy gouges in the earth before disappearing into inky black space. The deteriorating road clings to the mountain like a frightened beggar and we keep running. Booming thunder, roaring wind, lightning and water are everywhere. It is a powerful symphony. Threatening to unhinge the road from the world, muddy brown torrents appear out of the darkness, getting bigger all the time. Sometimes we see them, other times we can only hear and feel them. The leaders keep the team lined out. They leap the washouts when they can or pound through the icy flooding, pulling the rest of us with them before we wash away. Sometimes it is hard to hold the sled through the tumbling stones and mud but the team is of one mind heaving their backs into the harness. Tongues lolling, eyes wild, chests heaving, we fly into the lightning,thunder, rain and wind and the miles fly by into the night. This place may not be Valhalla but it is truly powerful medicine. It is The Valley of the Ram.