Monday, May 29, 2023

Record Season Finale

Yesterday was our final outing of a record setting skijoring season!

Way to go Jack & Rudy!!!!

"We did it! 1444.0 miles traveled! We set the record!" declares the happy kids.

Our record season had been 1433.5 miles traveled with Max & Zorro in 2016/2017. I knew going into this season that Jack & Rudy were primed to give the record a challenge. All we needed was the snow to hold up. Well, despite ending in late May (we often skijor into early/mid June), the impressive kids set a season record for our pack!

Our final outing of the season found us at Buffalo Pass. This location typically has the deepest snowpack in all of Colorado. But, it's a real haul and challenge to get to; thus, we typically do it only once or twice a season. Come along for the highlights of our season finale.

We started out on VERY sketchy conditions with little snow and spans of no snow at all!

Starting up on a narrow ribbon of snow with exposed ground ahead of us.

Why not drive past this point of the trail, you ask? Well, we start out driving up Buffalo Pass until we can drive no further. What happens is we will encounter a very deep (usually shaded) impassable span of snow at some point on the way up. Even with our 4WD Jeep, we will get to an impassible span at some point. So, we must start the skijor from the impasse, even though we know we'll encounter tough & exposed sections like the prior photo on the other side of the impasse.

We also know, though, that the further & higher we go, the better it will get!

Ah, nice deep snow covering the entire trail!
Notice the power in Jack & Rudy as my hands are on my hips as I ride
the Siberian Tow Rope up this stretch of trail.

Along the way, I paused at the location of some of Max and Zorro's ashes. While Jack & Rudy never got the chance to meet special Max, they did learn everything they know about skijoring from wonderful Zorro. As I paused to reflect back on Max & Zorro, Jack and Rudy did their "pause usual" :)

Rolling snow angels in snow over the location of Max and Zorro's ashes.

Then, as expected, we found some incredible conditions up high. Wish there was an easier way to get here, we'd come back every day if so :)

So, so, so nice up high!

Now, come along for our final clip of the season. We are a bit lower in elevation in this clip compared to the prior photo, so we start out cruising along nice albeit soft snow. Then, near the end of the clip, you get to see Jack & Rudy slowing to perfectly navigate me on skis through two narrow passages before opening up the throttle again. Perfect partners!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We cannot end the season without one final hover husky shot!

Catching air again. Wheeee!

Finally, concluding the season with our final end of run treats. No snow walls to climb this time, it must really be the end of season :)

"We LOVE snow!" declares the cool dudes awaiting end of run treats.

A monster outing to complete the season. You have to make full use of the difficult trek to get on snow at Buffalo Pass: 14 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2022/2023 Season  Total: 164 days on the trails covering 1444.0 miles with 130,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Very Impressive Jack & Rudy! Very Impressive!!!!

See you all in September (we hope) or October for the 2023/2024 Skijor Season beginning.


Saturday, May 27, 2023


If it is "snow in late May" we'll take it, right guys?

"You bet! We are having a BLAST!" declares the happy kids

We returned to Harrison Creek at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. We did this trail 4 days ago and the conditions from then to now were deteriorated. We chose this route because it gets to upper elevation terrain quickly which is usually less melted than down low. But, at our highest point of the morning, quite a bit of shrubbery was breaking through the snow!

Still enough snow on the trail to go; but the view from here 4 days ago was
all white versus shrubbery coming  through on the shoulders today.

Getting to the upper elevation was also quite a challenge at first. We had many "barely enough snow to go" narrow sections of trail:

Just enough snow for me to keep going on skis.

Then, we had a lot of this ugliness! 

Yikes, how to proceed?!?!? 
I'm actually able to keep my skis on and step slowly across the dirt.
Jack & Rudy know to go slow until we are all back on snow. Good boys!

Now, a nice "nearing end of season" skijor clip of talented Jack & Rudy. Come along as we start the clip proceeding cautiously due to lots of exposed ground and narrow snow cover. But, as soon as the exposed ground disappears, Jack & Rudy kick it into overdrive as the conditions are now safe to GO. All of this without a single verbal command from me, just great understanding of the conditions from the smart kids!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The conditions were still nice up high despite a lot of ground starting to show on the shoulders. But conditions are really deteriorating on the way up and then back down the lower terrain.

Still good snow on our favorite upper elevation ridge line.

Of course, any snow is good snow for rolling snow angels...

Rub a dub dub!

Finally,  we were even able to find a small snow wall at the trailhead to climb for end of run treats:

"Yay, we found a mini wall to climb!" says the happy kids.

A short outing due to deteriorating conditions and rising temperatures, but it was still skijoring in late May: 5.8 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 163 days on the trails covering 1430.0 miles with 129,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Was today our finale? I think (hope) not, but we have very few outings left. Stay tuned...


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Nice up High

The snow is still so nice up high, if you can get there....

Beautiful conditions at our highest elevation point along the Harrison
Creek Trail.

"If you can get there" is the key phrase in that introduction above. We had to traverse numerous hazardous openings in the snow in the initial climb to the upper elevation goodness. Here are a two examples;

"Woo is me, I don't want summer!" woos Rudy.
"We can still make it if we hug the snow to the left!" states lead dog Jack.
Jack, of course, is right, but I still had to stop to slow us down to proceed
cautiously on the thin strip of snow to our left.

Did I say "thin strip of snow"? Well, how about this one...

Yikes, barely wide enough for my two skis to fit.
But notice how perfect Jack & Rudy are getting in tight to stay on the
little snow there is. They know to keep me on snow to continue to go!

But, as I said above, it was still so nice up high! This particular route starts with a steep initial climb (across lots of hazards this time of year) and then levels out into miles of gently rolling high elevation terrain. So nice up high!

Cruising along a wonderfully snow covered ridge line.

Now come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. A beautiful stretch of trail yesterday morning, especially for late May. But, getting to and back from the nice conditions is getting really difficult!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The snow up high was also great for rolling conjoined snow angels :)

Where does Rudy end and Jack start?
Silly kids rolling conjoined snow angels at our turnaround point.

It was also a day of wildlife entertainment for Jack & Rudy. First we encountered coyote tracks to follow along the trail for a while. Then we encountered elk tracks to sniff and follow for a short stretch. Finally, the highlight was finding fresh smelling moose tracks crossing the trail and going off into the trees. You must stop for fresh moose tracks, you know :)

"Sniff, sniff, these are fresh!" states the moose inspectors.
Notice the big two toed print between my two skis.

Despite all the tracks, we never got a visual of any of the wildlife. I am just fine not seeing a coyote; but I do enjoy seeing the big vegetarians (moose, elk) from a safe distance, as do Jack & Rudy!

We had a camera failure with Nancy's camera at the trailhead. So, we don't have our usual "end of run" treats shot to close out the blog. In place of that, we'll conclude with a shot of the happy kids looking back when I needed to pause momentarily to rest my burning legs on the difficult terrain down low on the way back from the great conditions up high.

"Just let us know when you are ready to go!" says the happy kids patiently
waiting for my burning legs to get a quick break.

So nice up high, so iffy down low; but it was worth it for a wonderful skijor on the upper terrain: 9.8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 162 days on the trails covering 1424.2 miles with 129,000 feet of elevation climbed.