The Fan Hitch Volume 2, Number 3, May 2000

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

From the Editor
*
Nunavut Quest 2000:
More Than a Race
*
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Drivers' Meeting
*
Nunavut Quest 2000:
On the Trail
*
Nunavut Quest 2000:
Race Results
*
Poem: Dogs of the Sledge Trail
*
Inuit Demand Inquiry of Historical Dog Extermination Policy
*
Memories
*
Nunavut's Official Symbols
*
Niels Pedersen, D.V.M:
The Veterinary Service in Greenland
*
ISDI Foundation:
Acknowledgements
*
Sled Dog Problems in Iqaluit
*
Baking: Dog Cookie Recipe
*
Crafts: Save That Hair
*
Behavioral Notebook:
Social Order
*
Book Review:
Polar Dream
*
In My Humble Opinion: 
Sharing the Trail
*
Update:
Ihe ISDVMA Meeting


Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch


Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page


ISDI home page



Editor's/Publisher's Statement
              Editor: Sue Hamilton
              Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

PostScript is published intermittently as material becomes available. Online access is free at: http://thefanhitch.org  PostScript welcomes your letters, stories, comments and The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch Website and its publications  are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or mail@thefanhitch.org


 Two mushers run to the finish line in the Nunavut Quest 2000 sprint event      Hamilton photo

In My Humble Opinion:
Sharing the Trail
by Mark Hamilton

Here's the scene: It snowed most of a Tuesday, it was the first real good cover of the season. Since we were already half way through the winter, we decided our best course of action was to play hooky on Wednesday and get the dogs out with the sleds. Clearing the driveway and up through the kennel took a couple of hours in the morning. We then strapped the sleds to the top of the dog box, loaded the dogs and headed out for our favorite nearby trails.

As it was mid-week we expected the trails would be mostly empty, but we found a surprising number of cars parked at the trail head. There were no other dog trucks so our guess was that the others were predominately cross country skiers and perhaps a snow shoer or two. No place was available to stake out the dogs so we snubbed the sleds to a gate and hooked up as we  unloaded. Pretty soon we were down the trail, enjoying the clean air and fresh snow.

On the way back to our starting point we overtook several groups of seniors on cross country skis. Many were pleasant, but a few seemed reluctant to cede the trail for us to pass and a select few muttered disparaging comments. This stood in stark contrast to our usual experiences with cross country skiers, who normally are pleasant enough, although some seem incapable of bringing a leash for their dogs, or if a leash is available, to be unable to connect it to their dog's collar.

Back at the trail head, as we unhitched and loaded the dogs after their cool down, a few of the discontented cross country skiers appeared and again muttered more comments. One was bold enough to try to engage us in debate, his position basically being we'd messed up the snow. Recognizing ourselves as being a little too old for that conversation we suggested he take out his membership card, go up to the main building and tell them he had a complaint to make about another member, all the time realizing he was in all likelihood not a member. The whole scene took most of the luster off our first run of the season on snow.

That weekend we again loaded up the dogs and sleds and headed out to the same trails. We tried grouping of the dogs differently from our previous run and the dogs responded well. We made great time, slipping through the swamp section of the trail so quickly that the two narrow footbridges were crossed before we even had time to worry about traversing them. As we came out of the swamp we caught up to a cross country skier who was almost unable to speak.  As we pieced the sentence fragments together we learned that as we ran through the swamp we'd flushed four deer. She had been in the perfect location to see them. It made her day and her attitude did a lot for our spirits. Before we got back to the truck we'd passed numerous other groups of skiers and they were universally happy and smiling. The dogs, Sue and I had a great day.

Life is a lot like this. So much of what we do, and those with whom we interact impact on the overall experience. In life, just as in sledding, we're all sharing the trails. It's unreasonable to expect the impossible, unfair to claim possession of shared property, insensitive to speak behind another's back. A better experience is had by all when we focus on our shared likes and interests, rather than our divergent opinions. We're all just going down life's trail, alone and in groups. Smile at your fellow travelers and you may discover a friend.

Return to top of page