By now I had accepted the suck. My frustrations were ever growing due to Hans’s lack of planning. There were no standards, no easy way of doing anything. Donald had started to help me out more knowing what crap I was in. His friend Luke had been doing the same thing I was but he was getting paid. Donald and I became friends over the days finding common ground where we could and sticking it out.
With no real rules, no weight limits, and no guest limits for the sleds, it was hard to steer and always a disaster. We had escaped any real issues for quite some time and were overdue for a problem. Then trouble as it always does found us. Taking a wonderful couple out whom at best together weighed close to 600lbs barely fit in my small sled. The truth was that they really didn’t fit into the sled.
We, I had to accommodate them and did my best. With our 950lb load in tow I kept our speed slow and steady down the hill. Sleds maneuver using two forces, speed and weight distribution. We had neither; as the team pulled and followed the gradual curve it took all my strength to hang off the side of the sled to distribute my weight. Slowly we slid off the side of the trail and into the soft snow, coming to a stop on our side. Our sled had tipped once it had gone off into the deep snow and my weight was nothing compared to their combined weight.
Roger and Amy were in the snow and was I. Securing the sled and the team I checked on the guests and found Roger to be hurt. I fastened an emergency litter and dragged Roger through two feet of soft snow. His limp body moved inches with every pull of mine. Ina few minutes I had him up back on the trail. At his Weight he didn’t have enough strength to hold himself up. I had to hold him up till his wife could come over and support him. Turning the team around, I drove them back to the yard and grabbed the snow machine and sled.
Once back I loaded him carefully into the drag sled and called EMS. Waiting with him I helped him into the ambulance and went back to work, shaken. It turns out that he had broken his hip and was doing well. We kept in touch and talked every few days. His accident led to a little bit of relief, from checking waivers to having a safety meeting with the guests. None of this was even a thought before the incident. Why? Now that is a good question, because it was a shit show. The scheduling was just as chaotic, people could book tours on top of each other and at a moment’s notice. Nowhere in any place was there organization.
Hans needed not one manager but two, one for the Yurt side and the other for the kennel. The hardest thing about working for Hans was he was a good guy, just a terrible employer. You couldn’t tell him things about work but he’d ask you to be open so everything was on the table. Maybe the lack of organization was how things worked up in the 50th state. The idiocy didn’t stop there, no wi wouldn’t normally talk bad about a guest but we had some of the best.
We get all sorts of guests at the kennel, from such wonderful people like Roger and Amy to Nasal and her husband. I call her Nasal because in her whiny voice she complained about everything. Even stopping me to ask if I had a tissue on the trail, apparently she thought I was pharmacy back in New York. Moaning over every slight bump and asking repeatedly for a tissue I dreaded our ride.
We have had all sorts of guests at our place. Accommodating everyone with the addition of language barriers was hard. People showed up all the time without winter clothing. Who comes to Alaska in the winter without gloves and a proper coat? All sorts. The guests were the most entertaining part of the day, without them I would have walked long ago.