When packing dog and human food plus fuel I have to take into account a daily distance average with an added margin of safety for bad weather or poor travelling conditions. When moving between depots I use my judgement and add extra supplies in case the need arises to return back to the last safe cache point. Never is my sled without dog food or fuel to melt snow for dog water. Excluding dog food, payload was packed using Rab Expedition Kit Bags MKII. One was for human food, one for spare clothing, a spares bag (including tools for repairs) and the cook bag with the stove and a small stuff sack each for personal items. The white bags (picture below) contain dog food. The entire load was secured using 4 mm Beal cord. We skied beside the sled and a Think Tank bag made it easy to reach in for photography and filming gear.
|Secure payload Photo: Gary Rolfe|
Fit and strong, my dogs have never looked better after a journey.
|Shocker Photo: Gary Rolfe|
|Feller Photo: Gary Rolfe|
No, inside my tent snow was melted with soaked liver in a large stock-pot. With at least one litre of water for each dog to enjoy, every evening they all rested happily as nourishment replenished hard working muscles ready for another day.
|Treatment Photo: Gary Rolfe|
I was the outside man. In the morning I packed the sled and harnessed my dogs. At night I attended to the dogs by taking them off their traces and secured them safely before feeding and watering them. Youngsters Blimey, Max and Proper never tired and the end of the day (to them) meant time to play and generally mess up whatever routine it was I wanted them to learn. Kids.
Loads at the head of the camp Photo: Gary Rolfe
On the first night, and sat on top of my sleeping bag inside a tent I had always used solo, I thought badly with a sinking feeling that the arrangement was never going to work. But with less than one week into the journey our routine was good enough for me to concentrate my thoughts elsewhere. It was not long before the tent felt bigger inside than when we started out which is strange because that always happens when I am alone too.
This time my stuff sack of personal items contained a book. Generally I dislike reading books on journeys. It alters focus. I do not like switching off and I do not feel the need to be entertained when doing what I live to do.
But this time I thought I would give it a go because I knew Phil liked to read and would more than likely not wish to talk dogs all night. But alas, I ditched the book and instead read my maps as I would normally do and planned ahead for future adventures with my dogs.
Even after a long day I could tell my dogs wanted more and so did I. But we had to rest. At night I would go through our day in my mind's eye. All day I watched and worked with my dogs. Joy came from seeing their power as a pack as they moved in unison, all severe and intent in not stopping. They had enjoyed it as much as me and we did not want the days to end.
Journey 2012 - Part 4 will follow....
For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com