She learns right there and then, in the midst of coastal range mountains where eagles fly and brownbears fish for salmon, that her restless soul isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She meets strangers who open their hearts to her, learns to work with hundreds of sled dogs (or is it the other way around?), starts to see the beauty and majesty surrounding her and most importantly, the change happens within: she learns to trust herself.
It is not that we lack “averagely overweight” people in the camp - we’ve got loads of them, trust me on that. In the States, both food and money are in abundance (just like is the result of the latter, bodyfat), so it is not uncommon to greet guests who are a bit on the floppy side. No big deal.
But it is that all the hell breaks loose when a woman size of a mothership steps out of the van and I can see our mushers turn pale.
“God, no, please no - don’t put her on my sled, don’t put her on my sled,” I hear one of them mutter behind me and eye the star of our concern, a woman who’s easier to be jumped over than to be walked around.
I mean, on a basic human level I can totally understand why somebody wouldn’t want to give her a ride: she weighs about as much as three regular people. No musher is going to be thrilled about letting the dogs pull that weight around.
But we’ve got to put her somewhere.
Mushing up the hill is a piece of cake: smooth, level ground, no obstacles whatsoever. It is on the way back that we start to run into problems.
Snowcat we used for a funride the day before has left tracks about half a meter deep, crunchy and slippery in the morning frost. Jacques’ sled bumps across - one track, second track - levelling off after a slight tilt to the right. Then me: through the first dip, then the second, aaaaaaalmost upright, but then… bang! I topple the damn thing, the old man and everything, hit the snow, get dragged for a meter or so before letting go and find myself running towards my client as soon as I’ve managed to get to my feet.
“Please tell me he hasn’t broken anything, oh please, oh please, oh please,” I mutter to God-knows-who and help him out of the snow.
- ISBN 978-9985-9931-1-8