Monday, June 24, 2019

Summer Jor

June 24th? Yes. Summer? Never!!!!
Following snowcat tracks atop Rabbit Ears Pass in Summer!
The calendar may say it is Summer but the mountains have declared Winter is still here!

Today was our first ever skijor in summer. Sure we have had lots of June skijors; but today was our first ever when the calendar says "summer" instead of "spring".

It started snowing in the Colorado High Country on Saturday and continued on and off through Sunday. Upwards of 12 inches of snow fell on top of Rabbit Ears Pass so we headed back to Rabbit Ears this morning for our first ever Summer Jor.

As you can see in the first photo above, we found some really nice conditions and even found a snowcat track to follow out and back. But, it was really summer at Rabbit Ears just a few days ago and, as a result, we did encounter the occasional treacherous stretches.
Yikes! Just enough ice in the cat track to continue going.
For the majority of the day, though, we were on a snowcat track that felt like the middle of winter!
Perfect cat track again - wheeee!
Despite lots of stretches of great snow from the weekend storm, summer is fighting hard to break through!
"Egad, now what?!?" asks Rudy.
"Oh boy!" adds Jack.
"This is a 'skis off' patch!" declares veteran Zorro.
People often ask if I fall when skijoring. Well, yes, but not very often and typically in the sketchy conditions of the shoulders of the season (October and May/June) when my skis catch something hidden under the snow. So, here is a rare "wipeout shot" but notice how nice, polite and patient my three partners are! The youngsters have certainly learned from Zorro this season that preserving the human is a good thing!
"You ok back there?" asks the happy & polite trio.
Notice the sideways skis and chunk of loose ice bottom/center that gave way and caused my spill.
Today's video highlight is a first for young and maturing Rudy. I have documented Jack's skill at changing lanes while skijoring (often at high speeds). Zorro is also a skilled lane changer. But come along for Rudy's first time changing lanes at moderate speed. Sure we are not going as fast as we have when Jack or Zorro change lanes; but you have to start somewhere :) What a skilled and mature sled dog he has become this season!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of day's fun run, time for a group celebration :)
Happy boys all circling and focusing on the musher.
Our first ever skijor in summer!!!! Temperatures are supposed to rise quickly this week so this was our last run at Rabbit Ears. Are we done for the season? Heck no - Buffalo Pass still has enough snow to keep us going. Stay tuned for MORE...

Yay for Summer Jor: 5.9 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 15 MPH (too may obstacles to open the throttle more than this).

2018/2019 Season to Date: 135 days on the trails covering 793.2 miles with 74,150 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Endless June

Look at all the snow still on the trails near the top of Buffalo Pass. Wow!
"Wow indeed! Can we skijor ALL summer?" asks the super happy trio at
our turnaround near the top of Buffalo Pass.
If you weren't impressed by the prior photo, how about this one: opening up the skijoring engine on June 19th! Wheeee!
June 19th - Wow!
If you look closely at the previous photo, you can see some of the slush bombs coming off Zorro, Jack and Rudy's feet. You can also see their footprints showing the snow was a bit soft; but it was still plenty firm enough to open up and run up/down Buffalo Pass this morning!

Come along and watch an excerpt from this morning's outing. You can see the softness slowing us a bit; but it was still firm enough to go, go, go! Is it really June 19th?
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Given warming June temperatures, you knew what would happen at our turnaround point of the morning :)
"Goofballs!" states happy Zorro.
"Rolling, cooling, aaahhh!" adds the goofballs.
Today was our latest ever skijor outing and I had my skis on the entire outing! Typically in June we will hit stretches of dirt or mud and have to take the skis off and hike over. But not today, our latest skijor ever and the skis never came off! There were a few patches that will be dirt/mud soon, but not yet today - yay!
"You kids do not know how incredible this June has been!" Zorro is telling the youngsters
as we see a bit of exposed road for one of only a few times all morning!
It really is June, so even Zorro rolled a snow angel to cool off. But, Zorro waited until the outing was OVER before rolling to cool. The goofball twins rolled snow angels before, during and after the morning outing :)
"My turn. Ahhhh and YUM!" says snow rolling and eating Zorro.
The happy trio congregating around me for end of run treats:
"We had so much fun! Now hand them out!" declares the happy & focused trio.
A beautiful run up/down Buffalo Pass this morning: 6.6 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

Are we done for the season yet? Most likely not; but things really are melting, so we'll see. Stay tuned...

2018/2019 Season to Date: 134 days on the trails covering 787.3 miles with 73,450 feet of elevation climbed

Friday, June 14, 2019

Slush Bombs

This June 14th was our latest day ever skijoring and a GREAT time was had by all!
SO HAPPY to still be on snow!!!!!
Just look at those ecstatic faces!
Our previous "last day" record was June 13th in 2017 with Max and Zorro. We have now eclipsed that record and I think we may still have more to come!

Of course this is Rudy's first season skijoring, so he has no idea just how impressive June 14th really is! It is Jack's second spring skijoring and he made June 1st last year with really sketchy conditions; so he has a little context for how great today was. Zorro on the other hand, has been skijoring for 10 of the 11 springs of his life. As you can see by his happy face, I think he knows how special today really was!

We headed back to Buffalo Pass this morning as the snowpack on top of the pass is still measuring over 7 feet! We start driving up the pass and go until the snow is too deep to keep driving. Today we had to stop driving over 4 miles from the top of the pass. With this much distance to travel, I expected we would hit a few dry patches along the way skiing up. Well, as I expected:
"You better take those skis off and hike!" says veteran Zorro.
"Whoa!" say the youngsters!
So, skis off and hike a bit, then back on snow to restart. But, I have to stop to put my skis back on. Well, stop....
"Did you expect any different?" asks Zorro.
"A stop is a stop and a stop is a roll in the snow!" demonstrate the goof twins.
We ended up having to take my skis off 3 times on the way up (and, of course, 3 times on the way down). But, once we got high enough it was INCREDIBLE. We did not make it all the way to the summit, but we did make it high enough to see just how much great snow is still near and on top of Buffalo Pass.
Beautiful up high! Sprinting sled dogs having a great time running up high!
Today's video has two fun plots. First, come along as we are opening it up on the great conditions up high - wheeee! Second, notice the slush bombs flying off Zorro, Jack & Rudy's feet and into me and the camera. About 15ish second into the video and, SPLAT, a slush bomb hits the camera dead center! You see some blurry Zorro, Jack & Rudy for a bit until it occurs to me to wipe the camera clear of slush and then you get a great view of the running sled dogs again :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a wonderful June 14th and I do not think we are done yet. Stay tuned...
"That was so much fun!" cute Rudy is telling me.
"Yum, 'end of run' treats!" slurps Jack.
"Ok, I guess you can have your share." says Zorro to Jack :)
Yay for June 14th skijoring: 5.4 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 133 days on the trails covering 780.7 miles with 72,750 feet of elevation climbed.