Wednesday, February 5, 2020


My perfect partners getting their well-earned 'end of run' treats this morning!
"You have our FULL attention!" says the happy & focused trio.
We did an out & back on the French Gulch Trail this morning and the kids, Jack & Rudy, got to demonstrate what mature sled dogs they have developed into. Zorro is, of course, already very mature; but it is so nice to see Jack & Rudy development.

Mature Act Number 1: Come along for our video highlight as Jack & Rudy politely let elder Zorro run in the ski track I set on the way out while the kids run in the shallow powder on each side of the set track. So nice to let Zorro have the easiest path!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Now, wait until you see "Mature Act Number Two"... We were ahead of schedule to meet Nancy back at the trailhead, so I turned us onto a narrow side trail to see how the trio would configure themselves. The side trail was only 2 Siberians wide, so we could not fit "3 wide". To my shock and excitement, everyone auto-configured into what you see below: Jack in lead with Zorro & Rudy side by side in swing. This is absolutely perfect as Jack has the personality to be a lead dog. Zorro knows everything about skijoring; but he has never had the lead dog personality (except when moose are involved :) and Max was my leader for years alongside Zorro. Rudy is similar to Zorro - he is a machine on the trails, truly understands skijoring but he is not "lead dog personality". So, imagine my delight when the team auto-configured into exactly what I would want on narrow trails!
Young Jack has developed into an up & coming lead dog - yay!
Elder Zorro is quite happy to let Jack take lead.
Impressive Rudy is also quite willing to give the lead to Jack - IMPRESSIVE!
Done with the side trail and back onto the main French Gulch Trail as I paused before starting us back. Wait, what is this - a pause and the kids are upright?!?
Look at the mature and very happy trio!
But, alas, I paused so I could change some equipment. This required taking off my backpack and doing some reorganization. It was too long of a pause for Jack & Rudy to remain upright :)
"Give us a break! You expect us to stay upright through an equipment change!"
demonstrates the snow rolling goofball twins.
Zorro is, of course, maturely waiting at my side during the equipment change.
Next, Mature Act Number Three. I have mentioned in past posts that French Gulch contains a handful of private cabins and the owners have keys to the access gate allowing them to use their vehicles on the trail. Well, here we are today encountering a group of owners coming up the trail. The front truck stopped and waved us on. Here are mature Zorro, Jack & Rudy cautiously & perfectly passing by the stopped truck. Nice work.
"Hi... Bye!" says the trio gliding by the stopped truck.
Finally, guess what was on the other side of the two trucks we passed? Well, two perfect packed tracks (tire tracks) for us to utilize. As expected, Zorro took one tire track and Rudy the other while Jack prefers to run in either the side or middle powder (the side in this case). With packed tracks it was ZOOOOM the rest of the way back in French Gulch.
Track for Zorro, track for Rudy and shallow powder for Powder Jack.
What a day of maturity on the trails: politeness, perfect configuration on narrow trails and cautious going past stopped vehicles: 5.3 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 87 days on the trails covering 598.2 miles with 55,250 feet of elevation climbed.

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