Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Patti's Story Part 7 ©

Water And More Water     

There are a myriad of considerations with this type of icy/watery travel. I'm wearing, alternately, ski boots and rubber boots sometimes with plastic bags for this section over the fjords. My feet are damp from the inside and are dried out at the end of each travel day. We were always able to dry our gear and create options for our own needs, but the dogs were a different story.

Sewing Booties
Before I left Ely, I sewed about 20 sets of 4 pairs of dog booties with velcro ankles from that same Klimate material. Those paws are as important to this journey as our own feet. Every morning we would booty up each dog for the tough trek over the sharp ice and cold water. I would keep watch to see if any booties fell off and would stop the show to grab up ones that had slipped off and then get one back on the naked paw. I'd brought my sewing kit along. Sewing kit is a must have on any expedition!  I spent my evenings repairing booties or sewing new ones. As the booties wore out I would take the velcro off and cut up my bivouac sack to hand sew more booties. My bivouac was made from the same material. In this first photo I am in the tent repairing booties, a daily event. In the other photo I am bootying up Creswell, our Eskimo dog. I was focused on paws. Paw duty! For the love of those most excellent fur team members! They were the best.
Bootying Creswell

Will and I have been running back through our journals, trying to recall all the dogs names. The reason we know these boys so well, Zap, Soapy, Oscar, Blackie, Chester and Buster, is because they were from our Lynx Track team in Minnesota. Our dogs. Will and Bob had traded something... probably bacon or cheese, for Creswell on the trip north before Resolute Bay. We had other dogs who were lent to us for this trip. We're still looking back. Will's journals are far more complete than mine.

Did I tell you I'm getting a new puppy at the end of this month?  I'm real excited about that. I lost my best buddy, my velcro dog who went everywhere with me...  Luke last May 27, 2015.. also Don Shelby's birthday. Don is a dear friend so I was happy that it was that particular special day. Luke was 13 1/2 years old. He developed bone cancer in his jaw that started traveling down his throat. I had to let him go. So many tears. I still cry when I think about it. That last day I rubbed my hands over him and over him trying to create a strong memory for how he felt. I still can feel his fur. He had a most excellent death, a party all day until a delicious bowl of Hagen Daz laced with sleeping pills relaxed him while my friend Sally and I drove him around. He loved car rides!!  Then my Vet got into the back of the van and he was gone in a short moment. He was happy. That was all that mattered to me.

My lesson from that was to avoid any plastic and some other items made in China. At the age of 10 he had 3 major seizures. It started after I bought a plastic car water bowl made in China. I can only imagine what was in that plastic. After that I tossed everything from China, all dog food with additives from China, all toys, all bowls. I was sure I had gotten him through it and we were on the safe side again. Sadly the cancer had likely started about then as it was in an advanced stage before I discovered it. I'm a manufacturer. I probably know more than most people about how unregulated China is. I should have thought better then.


Patti Steger
Steger Mukluks

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