|A typical view down a two track watching for the hare to cross.|
On Thursday, I figured it was close enough to lunch time that I could have a sandwich. I got a bun and then dug into Kern's cooler for the meat, cheese, and a big glob of mustard. I gobbled down the sandwich and then pulled out my phone to check the time. It was 3:30 in the afternoon. We had been running for over NINE HOURS. Only 3 or 4 more hours to run. This was impossible. The day just disappeared.
This describes our trip in a nutshell. It flew by so quick it was like it never happened. I don't know how it could have gone so quickly. Hour long chases seemed like minutes. Days passed so quick and the week should have been two. The only hope is to go back. Hhhhhmmmmmmmm! And maybe I will.
As you sit in the truck driving north for nine hours or more to run hare, you think about your dogs. You wonder who will run well. You wonder which dogs will step up. You worry about what dogs will disappoint you. You hope that by the end of the week, your dogs will step up and prove they are made of the real stuff. You fret about who might not have enough heart and need to be culled. And, you hope that a dog will step up to be the next Neal or Hobo.
A week or a minute later you are riding home trying to reflect what happened. You look back at days and jumps, and races, and checks, and crossings. You think about when you caught your dogs and what everyone else on the trip said about them. You put them in order from top to bottom, trying to decide who had a great trip.
As I think back about the dogs, I was mostly pleased. They performed like I hoped.
- Jed, with his quirky, weird personality ran great.
- Rambler ran good and I have to keep saying to myself, "don't forget that he is only two but you expect him to be a hero."
- Lim, Rambler's littermate had a great trip too.
- Red Chip did what he always does that makes him my favorite--run, get checks, jump rabbits, and constantly keeps the chase going.
- His littermate, Jeff Kern's Ug looked real good the last day running a lot of front.
- Gypsy was an aggravation at times but the last day she was a beast. By October she will be totally over two litters of pups and will dominate.
- Tony was rough as a bed of nails but man can she light up a hare and dominate a chase.
- Butcher had moments of brilliance and just needs to be older. How can he only be 17 months old.
- Trick (Mr. Perfect Pup) had an amazing trip for his age.
- Ob (who I traded for with the old man on the way up) started several chases and seems sure to be a top dog.
- Diamond, the mother of Village Girl, Village Amigo, and Joe showed why they have so much desire.
- Dissident, two weeks after weening her pups out of Rambler showed an amazing amount of desire.
- Vigar's pack showed the results of his running and his girls, Macy and Gracy did a great job getting checks.
- The old man's threesome out of Diamond, Girl, Amigo, and Joe are becoming the anchor of his pack.
- Hot Head will be win big hunts before his trialing career is over.
- There are a lot of Neal dogs that will make their mark down the road.
Was the trip perfect? No! Did I have to make a trip or two or three into the swamp after young dogs? Yes! Was it a great time? Absolutely? Am I going back soon? Count on it!