The beginning of the end

For the past five days I have been so incredibly tired that all I felt I could do, was sleep. Outside endless snow kept falling from the sky. Around 50cm of fresh powder must have been dumped on us during the past three days. When I was driving back PJ’s overnight guests yesterday, they asked me if the road we were driving on was a forest track. So much snow had fallen that there was hardly any trace of it left.

If I felt worn out before my last three-day tour, that one took the lot of me. After every really nice group, it seems the opposite has to occur. These people did not understand how to drive a sled. And that’s ok. For some people it’s hard. But they were careless. They did not listen to any instructions I gave them. Even after telling them countless times they had to hold on to their sleds, they kept losing them. I feared one of their runaway sleds would injure the dogs. I feared they would crash into them. By the end of it, my energy was drained.


When I woke up and knew I had a day tour this morning, I felt every muscle ache. Even though it wasn’t that cold outside I became mildly hypothermic with a body temperature of only 35 degrees. My eyesight blurred. I felt like a drunk slugging through all that fresh snow. After I put the sleds out and harnessed the dogs, I luckily had 10 minutes to get some water into my system before PJ showed up with the guests.

Rest is not an option as we are not at the end of the season just yet. March is here, the final one out of six months up in the Arctic. The hardest time is over and the final lap to the end has begun. The coldest, the darkest, the hardest: those days should now be behind us. From here on it’s only sunshine and good times to the finish. But it seems those dark, cold and hard days have taken a toll. Bringing up 125l of water from the lake every day, hauling around 35 kilos of meat every day, dragging around diesel, gasoline, sleds, dogs, snow mobiles: there is no end to it, and there is no day without it.


It’s been a long time since I’ve been so physically exhausted. I am starting to look like a body builder but I certainly didn’t feel like one. A sore back, a tense left achilles tendon, weak knees, shin splints, muscle cramps: the whole lot came busting in at once and didn’t disappear. After every task I had to lie down for a bit to recover. Lifting up water, going around with buckets of meat soup: my body could take no more.

I tried to remember the past times it happened to gather than iron will again. The times I felt my knees were going to give in while in New Zealand. The evenings PJ and I sat inside our sleeping bags last winter when it was -45 outside and only 2 degrees inside. I survived that, right? Anyhow, there are no excuses, no matter the pain. The dogs have to eat. The dogs have to be taken care of. So I dragged myself outside and did what had to be done. I was relieved though to have PJ around so we could split the bill.


Luckily, the dogs had far more energy than me today. They had been resting for two days and they were so excited to go out this morning. For the day tour I was on the snow mobile, but I could see the big smile on my main leader boy Cooper’s face all the time. It’s so nice looking back at them on the sled. They all had somewhat an ecstatic look as they were trotting through all that fresh powder.
The sun broke through again and snowy trees glimmered in the afternoon sunlight. Who doesn’t love being here on days like these. After the group left I spent some time outside with the pack. Good energy bounces back. Finally I didn’t feel like I had to lie down for an hour after spending some time outside.
Björki stared at me with this expecting look from on top of her house. Tomorrow I thought. Tomorrow we’ll be out again having fun.

3 thoughts on “The beginning of the end”

  1. Hi Eef,

    ze is lang niet meer de eerste om te antwoorden zal je denken en of zeggen….,
    Niet vrezen, we haken niet af hoor, zijn nog steeds en absoluut fan van de eerste rij !

    Je verhaal deed me even schrikken en liet zowaar doembeelden passeren van een meer dan gebroken Eef …… en toch , helemaal op het einde komt dan toch opnieuw zachtjes die absulute niet onder krijgende Eef ingesteldheid!
    Jullie hadden een harde winter met vele vele bijzondere uitdagingen die altijd wel knap werden uitgevoerd, afgerond.
    Niets kan zonder uitschuivertje Eef, en elk lichaam, maar dan ook wel élk, botst ooit eens tegen zijn grenzen en die grens ligt voor elkeen anders.
    Jullie hebben een onvoorstelbare hoog uithoudingsvermogen fysiek én mentaal!
    Elk jaar opnieuw hebben jullie jullie grenzen verlegd. Elk jaar opnieuw hebben jullie jullie band met de honden én de natuur intenser gemaakt én intenser beleefd.
    Het siert jullie, méér dan knap is dat . Is er überhaupt nog plaats voor een bijkomende pluim op jullie hoed, ik stuur er jullie bij deze een nieuwe dikke dikke!
    Alvast nog een deugddoend einde seizoen en contacteer ons als jullie terug in België zijn hé!

    Liefs en dikke knuffel voor jullie beiden,


  2. Evelientje,de weken en maanden in het gareel beginnen hun tol te eisen…
    Ook bij jullie laat dit zijn sporen na,ongeacht hoe fit en sterk jullie eraan begonnen!
    Klimaat en onverminderde druk,gekoppeld aan weinig zon en wisselvallig weer laat duidelijk sporen na.
    Maar jullie mogen fier zijn: een puike ervaring voor jullie,een uitstekende verzorging/relatie voor de geweldige honden en een uitmuntende ontvangst en begeleiding van jullie gasten in een goed verzorgd en onderhouden kader!!!
    Dikke pluim!
    Dus nog even doorbijten,de laatste loodjes wegens dikwijls zwaar.
    Jij,jullie kunnen het! Binnenkort mogen jullie fier en voldaan terugkijken op een zwaar maar geweldig seizoen!
    Proficiat alvast!

    Tot snel,


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