Years ago, on Mount Bachelor, I got a little taste of what it would be like to dog sled in Alaska, along with inspiration for a dessert to put at the top of my Northwest Meets Southwest “what to eat before you die” food bucket list.
DOG SLEDDING AND SNOW CORN EATING
“I have a surprise for you.” he said. It could be the first item on your bucket list. It involves snow, and you may get cold and wet.” This winter combo platter did not sound very appetizing to a fair weather, drift boat fly-fishing, lodge chef. “Is it dangerous?” I asked, with a diminutive nervous laugh. “It could be?” He replied, teasingly.
I knew that to be on a bucket list, there had to be some degree of danger involved. So since I had a short time to think about the possibilities, my racing mind conjured up everything from snow ball bazookas to Bob sledding. I could not visualize anything involving snow, cold, and wet that combined with the words “safe” and “bucket list”. My next question was “Do I have to get off my feet onto any moving object?” “Trust me!” He replied, “I don’t think you could get hurt.” I stared wide-eyed, rapidly blinking, and said “uh-huh, yeah right,” with a surreptitious smile.
I have taken many potentially dangerous leaps of faith in my past, without the fear one can only become acquainted with after testing their limitations, and I certainly have not always ended up landing on my feet while doing so (I have the scars and lumps from knitted bones to prove it). Giving up my self-control, and putting my faith and trust in someone else’s hands, is not easy for my inner child, Little Miss “I have to do it myself!” Beyond a doubt, this person had to be someone I felt I could trust emphatically to have my back at all times.
There are times to be afraid (we have adrenaline in our bodies for a reason). There are also unjustified fears leftover from past experiences, that when given time for advance fore-thought, our over-functioning brains can conjured up endless possibilities of impending doom. We tend to forget the times when everything worked out just fine, and still try to whip up a batch of wasted “worst case scenarios” to nibble on. In my case, I have always had partial wonder lust combined with temperate thrill seeking. I crave short bursts of adrenaline rushes only with only enough juice to intermittently jump-start my low 52 beats-per-minute resting heart rate. To my dismay and detriment, I also have to deal with a lack of coordination from the very real physical limitation of a slightly off-of-center, long legged, gravity problem.
I thought all sled dogs were large like Malamutes. These dogs were small and seemed a little out of control. They were jumping up and down, barking, and pulling at their harnesses in anticipation. They had ear to ear smiles on their doggie faces and were teasing each other like mischievous first-graders on a field trip tether line. The attendant in the process of hooking up the dogs told me several had run the Iditarod. I thought “really?” as the antics of the sled dogs in front of me, brought to mind the “cat herding” television commercial, and I had to snicker with new apprehension now at the thought of being a part of total dog sledding chaos. However, when given the signal, play time was immediately over, and these comic canines were off and running, like horses out of a starting gate with blinders on. I was laughing and enjoying the ride as the sled rounded corners and I tried to dodge the little kernels of Snow Corn popping off their back paws and smacking me in the face.
The first item I checked off my bucket list, was a complete surprise that turned out to be nothing at all to be afraid of. It was a piece of cake!” Well, how about a piece of baked Alaska (an impressive, yet simple to make frozen dessert cliché to top off an amazing day never to be forgotten). Since I have always been a “spontaneous planner” who tends to over-think pre-conceived notions, and certainly not one for ‘making lists”, I think a good twenty more years of kicking the bucket back again, when I have the opportunity for it to come spinning my way, while working on conquering my basiphobia, will be the best way to go out.
Brownie boulders embedded in meringue, and sandwiched between layers of Tillamook Rocky Road and Utterly Chocolate ice cream, topped with hot fudge and Kaluah whipped cream, come together to make a “killer” dessert of gigantic proportions..