Sunday, June 12, 2016

Season Finale

Our last skijor of the 2015/2016 season this morning - so sad.
But, we surpassed 1300 miles of skijoring for the 3rd season in a row - so exciting!
"Every mile was a BLAST!" declare the 'always happy on snow' Max & Zorro.

Our final outing took us to Buffalo Pass where you always find some of the last skijor-able snowpack in Colorado. How is the following for an impressive shot of June 12th skijoring?
Looks perfect, doesn't it?!?

So, given the previous photo, how are we done for the season? Well, the problem is the shrinking amount of good & connected patches of snow and the trouble accessing it. For example...
Yikes! Just barely enough snow for my skis to glide behind Zorro while Max has to spill over
onto mud. Yuck!

The shrinking band of snow in the last picture will be gone by the end of today and join the ugly stretches of exposed ground like the following we encountered:
"Um.... It's BROKEN!" declares stunned Max.
"Your skis are not going to make it!" Zorro is telling me.

We ended up taking the skis off 8 times during the morning's outing to cross long, ugly stretches of dirt and mud like the prior photo.

Today's video highlight will give you a good look at "last day" conditions. The clip starts with us on "soft & slow" (but still fun) fun and degrades to downright scary as the video ends. Thank dog Max & Zorro know to slow down with me on bad conditions as they run out of snow and I can barely stay upright on the narrow slush shoulder.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Unfortunately, all seasons must eventually come to an end. June 12th is a nice ending date and 1304.4 miles is a nice tally for the season!

Time for "end of run" pork treats:
"We can hardly wait for October! Bring on next season! Pray for Snow!" say my fun & intense

A final day run of 7.4 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season Total: 155 days on the trails covering 1304.4 miles with 142,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Rest in July

A 9.7 mile skijor in June at Buffalo Pass this morning!
Nice shot of long Max as I am aligned more behind Zorro as we cruise along the trail.

We are down to one area of skijor-able snow in Colorado - Buffalo Pass. After our last run of the season at Rabbit Ears Pass last Sunday, I said we were going to rest for a few days before starting the adventures to Buff Pass as it is quite the effort to get to this last snow cache. Well, after taking Monday off and watching the high temperatures get into the 70s, we decided, "We can rest in July. Buff Pass has snow but it is melting fast!" As a result, we got up early this morning to get to the Buffalo Pass terrain.

Oh boy was this a great decision. Basically you drive towards the pass until the snow gets too deep to drive. Then you hop out and continue skijoring up the rest of the way. With roughly 5 feet of snowpack at the top of the pass, we were able to do a 9.7 mile skijor on June 7th. Wow!

Top of Buffalo Pass and it is white with snow as far as the eye can see:
"This is incredible!" exclaims ecstatic Zorro.
"I'm impressed!" declares terrain surveying Max.

The best part about skijoring up Buff Pass? Well, what goes up must come down!
Whee, Zoom and "Wow, this is June 7th!"

While the mornings are still cool (to the human), it is June...
"Must roll snow angels to cool off!" demonstrates snow rolling Max.
"We should keep going before it melts!" declares Zorro.

An amazing June run up & down Buffalo Pass this morning: 9.7 miles traveled with 1050 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 154 days on the trails covering 1297.0 miles with 141,100 feet of elevation climbed.

We plan to surpass 1300 miles on Friday (unfortunately we have commitments for Wed/Thu and cannot return to Buff Pass until Friday - silly humans!)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Last Rabbit

This morning was our last skijor at Rabbit Ears Pass for the season :(

Here are two pictures to make you say, "Last run? Why?!?"
Catching air for the last time on Rabbit Ears this season.
Topping 20 MPH for the last time on Rabbit Ears this season.

Now, how can this have been our last run given how beautiful the previous two photos look? Well, I'll spare you some of the ugly terrain photos. But, the real reason it is our last run is accessibility. The terrain that is still in great shape is on the other side of a water crossing that I will not be able to long jump after today.

Below is the crossing. The "good snow" is on one side of this crossing and the "melting fast, dead today snow" is on the other side. Unfortunately the trailhead is on the bad side of the crossing.
"Yikes, this is getting wider every day!" exclaim the water inspecting pair.

The water crossing may look impassible in the previous shot. But, I have figured out a way to increase my motivation to find a place narrow enough for me to long jump. "What motivation?" you ask. Well, take my skis off and throw them over the crossing!

One ski in the air flying over the crossing with the other already on the ground across the crossing:
"Nice throw!" states coach Max.

Okay, skis on the other side of the water, now I am motivated to find a section narrow enough for me to long jump (Max & Zorro are no problem, they can out long jump me by a mile :)
"Cannot believe you threw the skis over! You are as goofy as us!" declare my silly partners loving
that I threw the skis over (knowing that now we have to cross and then can continue skijoring).

Truth be told, I did see a narrow looking crossing before I threw the skis. But, once we got to the crossing it was actually the limit of my long jumping abilities as I almost did not make it over! Thus, the water crossing will be impassible by tomorrow we have to say this is our last run at Rabbit Ears Pass (plus the snow is melting 6+ inches a day anyway).
"Snow is still so nice on the good side of the crossing! We need to engage you in some long
jumping training this summer for next winter!" declare my happy partners at our turnaround
point of the day.

"End of season?" you ask. Well, no, we still have Buffalo Pass left which is always the last skijor-able terrain in Colorado. It is a lot of work to get to & from Buffalo Pass, so stay tuned while we rest up for a few days before making the adventure to Buff Pass to surpass 1300 miles for the season!

Today's tally: 8.3 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 153 days on the trails covering 1287.3 miles with 140,050 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Us Too

Somewhere there is a crazy guy telling his friends, "I snowmobiled Rabbit Ears Pass on June 3rd. It wasn't always pretty, but I did it!"
Replace "snowmobiled" with "skijored" and "3rd" with "4th" and that was us this morning :)
Following a fresh snowmobile track high up on Rabbit Ears Pass. Just one crazy snowmobiler
and 3 looney skijorers still out on the trails :)

This time of year we start summarizing outings we three ratings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Here we go for this morning's outing:

(1) The Good: we did a steep trail for Rabbit Ears as we hoped the snow up high would be better than what we encountered down low. Well, it was - opening the throttle on a stretch of The Good...
Wheeee and zoooom we go on a nice stretch of the good.

(2) The Bad: we refer to terrain as "bad" if we can keep the skis on but have to slow down for narrow and hazardous conditions. Some of the bad...
Barely two Siberians wide with mud on each side! Note the crazy snowmobiler took this same
path yesterday and barely kept his machine on snow!

(3) The Ugly: no way to cross without taking off the skis to walk over dirt & mud. Yuck - so ugly!
"Impassible!" declares shocked Zorro.
"We could leap over the dirt to the snow to the right, couldn't we?" asks Max looking at snow
within his leaping distance to the right :)

We had to take the skis off 6 times for The Ugly and had quite a few slow and cautious encounters with The Bad. But... We are still on snow in June! 7.8 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 152 days on the trails covering 1279.0 miles with 139,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, June 3, 2016

June Air

Another 9+ mile skijor in June at Rabbit Ears Pass - Woo Hoo!
"It was FANTASTIC!" exclaim my ecstatic partners at our turnaround point of the day.

It is June, though, so the outing required some creativity. Check out the following photo and you will be surprised to know we skijored over this river just two days ago via a snow bridge over the water! The snow & terrain on the other side of this river is still incredible, so we walked along until we found a narrow opening that all of us could leap over and then continue skijoring again.
"I could leap across here, but I'm pretty sure you would not make it!" declares Max.
"What happened to our snow bridge?!?" asks bewildered Zorro.

But, outside of a few trail obstacles like the one above, the terrain was incredible. Here we are catching air in June. Wow & Wheeee!

Yet, the "signs of summer" are getting bigger and bigger - boo!
"Yikes, who melted our snow!" asks Zorro.
"Hmmm, even I could not leap this crossing!" declares trail inspecting Max.

We'll take a few trail obstacles for 9+ miles of skiable terrain in June any day! Such a fun run deserves some "end of run" pork treats for towing me all over the place!
"Gimme, gimme!" says happy Max.
"Can you feel my intense stare?" asks piercing Zorro.

The signs of summer are popping up, but we are still punching out 9 mile runs in June! 9.1 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 151 days on the trails covering 1271.2 miles with 138,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Up High

The snow is still so nice "up high" at Rabbit Ears Pass!
Perfect trail in front of us. But, note the view to our right - most of the rest of Colorado is looking
pretty brown & dry. Thank dog for Rabbit Ears Pass :)

What do I mean by "nice up high"? Well, here is a shot of the middle elevation terrain this morning:
Barely, just barely, enough snow/ice to keep on trucking!
This time of year we start to rate our trails by "how many times did the skis come off to cross exposed ground." Well, today had only one "skis off" crossing. That is pretty good for June 2nd. Last year we did this same trail on May 29th and had to take the skis off 14 times (and we then declared this trail dead for the season). With only one "skis off" incident today, we'll be redoing this route again in the next couple of days!

Anyway, back to the "nice up high" photos...
Wheeee! There may be exposed ground off the shoulders but the trail is still perfect up high!

So nice to still be skijoring Rabbit Ears in June!
"I agree!" states happy Max.
"Yes, but let's keep going!" declares happy Zorro.

A beautiful morning with great snow on the upper elevations: 8.6 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 150 days on the trails covering 1262.1 miles with 137,450 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Zorro Birthday

A 9.4 mile skijor run on June 1st for Zorro's 8th Birthday!
9.4 miles on June 1st?!? Sweet!
Flying... Just flying along January (in June) conditions :)

I tried to write how incredible a June 1st outing this was; but words could not do it justice. Just watch for yourself as today's video is a compilation of tons & tons of fun skijoring Rabbit Ears Pass on June 1st.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A few things to notice in the video... First, if your volume is up then the "clicks" you hear are slush bombs flying off Max & Zorro's feet and into the camera case (and my face! :)  Second, near the end of the video we get to a narrow/dangerous water crossing. You'll note that I do not need to ask Max & Zorro to "slow down" for the crossing. When they hear my skis scrape for an extended time (e.g., a few seconds), they automatically slow down themselves as they know that scraping sounds means to slow the pace to preserve the human. "Better to slow down than break the human toy and end the season!" say the smart pair.

Not many sled dogs in the Northern Hemisphere get to spend a June birthday on snow! Such fun!
"I'm ecstatic, just plain giddy!" declares happy Zorro.
"Fun indeed, what a ride today!" states happy Max.

Finally, for today's humor... Every once in a while one of Max or Zorro will instigate an "unapproved trail interaction" by dorking with the other. For our first 6 years of skijoring, about 75% of these shenanigans were started by Zorro. But, for the last year, about 95% (maybe 100%) have been instigated by Max. We have been laughing all year that Zorro matured at age 7 and turned into an "all go, all business" sled dog. Well, look below.... Zorro turned 8 today and rolled the clock back to his 6 and under years. Tuning in to Channel Z being broadcast from Planet Z as Zorro dorks with Max while sprinting along the trail!
"Hehehe, I'm back from Planet Z!" declares Zorro dorking with Max without breaking stride.

An incredible run on June 1st to celebrate Zorro's 8th birthday: 9.4 miles traveled with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 149 days on the trails covering 1253.5 miles with 136,550 feet of elevation climbed.