Freitag, 31. Januar 2014

day no. 14 - keeping up the speed

Erä-susi, - 34 °C (in the morning)  my new record!
I had my first solo-drive! Just me, a customer sitting in the sledge and the dogs. (...I have to admit that the obligatory snowmobile was running far in front of us for some safety issues. Anyway...) It was soooo fun! :) It was just a short distance about 5 km, but I am happy for the trust in me. It was just sooo fun and ended to fast! Even more, because I already know the dogs who ran for me and I enjoyed to be able to call them by their names to cheer them on.
Mr. Wolf was right: among the best things life can offer driving a Husky sledge is definitely among the top 5 directly followed by a nightly walk under the clear winterly sky. 

Trainees on tour ! (photo: Mirja/Erä-Susi Naturesafaris)

First driving experiences on the 2 km track a couple of days ago (photo: Mirja/Erä-Susi Naturesafaris)
 Since it was so cold today I was almost forced to put 3 jackets, 2 pair of gloves, a fleece skiing mask and a head on just for seemingly short trip. I laughed about when we started our run, but after some minutes I was really grateful to have all that stuff to cover myself.

Today once again I learned something new about the cold:

Don't wash your face in the morning or put creme/make-up on when you plan to brave the low temperature. Better don't even wash your face the night before. There is a simple reason for: Everything which contains liquid gets frozen immediately, even though you put it on your 'warm' skin. Staying outside for longer, especially riding a sledge or a snowmobile, the cold airstream cools down your skin so much that the humidity in your breath freezes on cheeks, eyelashes, ears and nose. Same happens with skin care products, since they contain liquids (water), too. The best protection is the natural greasy layer your skins produced in order to protect itself. Treating your skin with water and soap destroys the natural protection of your skin. In any case you can use cremes over night. 
When it is so cold you won't even feel the ice layer on your cheeks. It does not burn or hurt, it feels just cold. It's important to warm up the uncovered parts by laying on of hands in case they got frozen, but don't try to move your skin when it is still really cooled down. You can also put one of gloves over nose and mouth and respire in it. The warm of your breath will defrost your skin. The tricky thing about frostbites is, that you don't feel them until it is already too late as long as you stay outside. So I was insistently prodded to pay attention to that and to warn and check the customers, too. I found out that there are 3 categories of frostbites. The first grade one can handle without long-lasting effects. Your skin gets pale, which is actually the opposite of what you can normally see watching in peoples by the cold red coloured face. When you start warming the cold parts it starts burning as hell, but the now really red stain will heal soon. If get bitten by the frost even harder than your skin starts to blister, but the red blisters will vanish without leaving scars. In the third stadium the blisters can be even blue or black yet and they won't disappear without leaving ugly traces. It's actually not that easy to arrive in stadium 3, but since it hurts in any case I hardly recommend to beware frostbites.
The same with your feet-if they are so cold that you don't feel your toes anymore, even when you try to move them, then it is really time to warm up. If possible don't wait until you don't feel anything anymore. I would really discourage from that experience- it is quite a quite scary feeling and it hurts when you try to warm them up again.  
I learned by my own experience that the only material that keeps reliably your feet warm is wool. So get yourself some wool socks if you plan to stay out longer under conditions I experience in this days. Synthetic fibers don't keep really warm, not even in combination with wool socks.(Except this special high-tech. stuff thermal underwear is made of, but wool is still the best choice if you ask me.) 
Air is a good heat isolator, too. That's why your boots should be at least 1, better 2 shoe sizes bigger than your personal size. 
And the most important point at all: don't stop moving!

The teams on their waiting positions looking forward to leave. 
(photos: Mirja/Erä-Susi Naturesafaris)

Knowledge of the day: New challenges are an excellent motivation.
We don't sell Husky hides!(I was seriously ask if one may purchase a dog fur from us.) 

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