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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 67: 30 November

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysIt's the last day of November and the outside temperature is minus 8. Checking through my notebook, I find that I passed the first day of November in a floating Yugoslav hospital on the Malacca Strait. The balmy heat of that wet tropical day could not be further from the bracing freshness of this morning, nor could my activity be more different.

I am to try a new form of earthbound transport, to add to trains and buses and ships and fiacres and taxis and camels and rickshaws and Rolls-Royces. Not to be outdone by Fogg who took a snow-yacht across Nebraska, I'm to cross a bit of America by dog-sled. At Krabloonik kennels in Snowmass village, Dan Maceachen and his colleagues have 250 huskies, some of whom are being trained for a 5000-mile trans-Antarctic expedition next year, some of whom will pull sleds in the Iditarod - the annual race across Alaska, in which the dogs are expected to cover more than 100 miles a day for 17 days. The dogs spend the winter season pulling 'guests' as the visitors are called, on handcrafted sleds around beautiful mountain trails.

No one can sneak into Krabloonik kennels unannounced. As soon as the dogs hear a suspicion of a footfall they spring to their feet, tugging at their leads and barking and baying in an ever-swelling chorus that resounds through the woods. A young man with a mass of blond curls, padded out like a Polar explorer, is to be my musher - the human element in the dog-team. His name's Marion, and he's from Mississippi, where they give men names like that, and he left law school after a year to come up here. He's married to another Mississippian, who runs the library in Aspen, and they live in a log cabin up in the mountains, 'all by ourselves'.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 67
  • Date: 30 November
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Snowmass Village - Colorado
  • Book page no: 216

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