Pausing on a side trail as we let a team pass by. "Hi buds!" say Max & Zorro.
We were behind a team that was paused on the trail. They were taking too long to "get started" so Max started singing. Finally the team launched down the trail and we followed behind. Eventually the team stopped and we continued to pass on by. As we passed one of the reds on the team gave a shout out back to Max :)
Gliding by the paused team. Notice the red guy on the outside in second position. You can see
his open "wooing" mouth as he gives a shout out back to Max. I'm sure he was saying, "It was not our fault we were stopped, you didn't have to yell at us to go!" :)
Final fun shot from the day as we are flying along an upper trail while a dog sled team is running the lower trail. Fun!
8-dog team on the trail below us as we fly along the upper trail to catch up :)
So much fun flirting and running with the dog sled teams:
"Yes - a GREAT day!" exclaims happy Max.
"Hehehe - I had a blast too!" says happy Zorro.
Run, flirt, run all day long... 9.7 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 46 days on the trails covering 354.4 miles with 36,250 feet of elevation climbed.
Most of the day was "perfect skijoring" as shown below. Most.....
Perfect form as we sprint along the fast packed trail.
Okay, "most of the day" was perfect; so what was "not perfect"? Well, Max lost it. A few times each season either Max, Zorro or both "lose it" on the trail and decide we are playing "tag & tackle" instead of "skijoring". Today was one such day as Max got the wild idea that tag & tackle at 15-20 MPH was a fun idea. Here we go with excerpts from the silly Max incident:
"Hey little bro - want to play 'tag & tackle'?" yells Max to Zorro.
"Apparently you did not hear me, I'll come a little closer... Do you want to play 'tag & tackle'?"
asks Max again after moving closer to Zorro.
"No - go away, I'm skijoring!" responds Zorro the adult.
"Tag - you're it!" performs Max the silly puppy brain!
Put the previous photos together and you get the following video showcasing "puppy brain Max". I see it starting and call an "ah ah" which usually corrects any thoughts of tag & tackle. The "ah ah" doesn't work so I try calling Max out by name - failed again. Last resort as I call out "forward, forward" trying to interrupt Max's silliness. Well, failed again as Max proceeds to tag and toss Zorro off the trail and into the shoulder snow. Tag done and Max (& Zorro) realign and start skijoring again. Silly Max!
Max & Zorro gave me the best birthday present this morning: a 9 mile skijor and topping 24 MPH.
A present only a sled dog could give :)
"Glad you liked our present - we did too!" declares Max.
"Tell me what was your favorite part of the outing!" says intense little Zorro.
It was a fast skijor present this morning as we went up & over the fast packed Sally Barber Mine Trail and then out & back on the also fast packed French Gulch Trail. It was pedal to the metal all morning long!
Flying Siberians towing me along the Sally Barber Mine Trail. Zoooom!!!
I think today's video clip speaks for itself how fast we were going. I have spliced together a sprint clip from the Sally Barber Mine Trail with another sprint clip from the French Gulch Trail. Regardless of the trail, it was flying all morning - wheeee!
It was fast on lower French Gulch where we had about an inch or so of new snow on the popular "wide & packed" trail. Zoom.
Uncorking it along the fast lower trail.
Then, it was "laying fresh tracks" to "breaking trail" in upper French Gulch.
No humans have made it this far recently, so we'll happily set the trail. Wheeee!
Finally, it was "moosie" many times during the outing. At one point, Max & Zorro hopped up a tall snow wall in unison - only the "scent of moose" could cause them to do this. I almost fell over when they hopped this high, fully expecting Bullwinkle to peek over the wall back at us! Luckily, he did not poke his head out of the trees in front of Max & Zorro!
"Moose up this way! Our noses KNOW it!!!!" declare my moose seeking wall hoppers.
Yes, the snow wall was at least 5 feet tall and they both scaled it without a flinch!
Once I determined that there was not a moose just over this wall, I convinced Max & Zorro to move along the wall a bit until it was only about 3 feet tall. Then, I scaled it with them and took a good scan into the trees to make sure there were no immediately nearby moose. Note: it was with great effort that I scaled the 3-foot wall versus Max & Zorro hopping up the 5-foot wall - just ask my partners :) With "free from moose" established, I decided to let Max & Zorro have a little fun following their noses a little ways into the trees. Low and behold, just steps off the trail and look what we found...
"Fresh moose bed - not so big!!!!!" exclaims silly Z, even though you could easily fit 4, possibly
6, Zorros in this moose bed!
"You check the bed, I'll see if it is still nearby!" declares moose scanning Max.
"How do you recognize a moose bed?" you might ask. Well, imagine an indentation in the snow that looks as if a huge boulder was dropped and then removed. The "boulder indentation" is actually a "moose indentation" - same thing :)
The French Gulch Usuals: fast down low, fresh tracks up high and moosing along the way: 8.7 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 43 days on the trails covering 326.8 miles with 33,450 feet of elevation climbed.
Max & Zorro really appreciated their "white christmas" present:
"Aaahhh, rolling in the fresh snow - what a great present!" says the synchronized snow
angel rolling pair.
You cannot top fresh snow on Christmas. We dreamt, got and enjoyed a glorious White Christmas!
"So happy - look at my snow covered head!" exclaims cute little Zorro.
"We must have been VERY GOOD this year!" states happy Max.
Baldy is one of our "short but steep" skijor runs where we get a lot of elevation with not as much mileage - tow the human up and then FLY down: 5.4 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed with a top speed of 20 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 42 days on the trails covering 318.1 miles with 32,650 feet of elevation climbed.
All smiles as we arrive at the end of our 10 mile skijor this morning!
3 smiling boys! Look closely, you can see the big grin on my face too :)
We went to the trails at Swan Valley this morning to do one of our favorite activities: skijor along with the Dog Sled Teams from Good Times Adventures. When we do this, we have some fun touring around the trails by ourselves first and then we find some of the teams to run along with.
Here we go....
Max & Zorro flying as you can make out an 8-dog team with sled and musher dead ahead
of us on the trail.
Coming upon a team paused on the trail as we pass on by.
"Hi friends!" say Max & Zorro as we cruise by.
Max has backed off his gangline to flirt with the team while Zorro continues to
floor it on by :)
Finally, here is a great video showing our fun following a dog sled team. You cannot see the dog sled, yet, as the video starts (although the 3 of us could); but watch as we fly along the trail to catch up with them and then I "hold us back" to follow until they stop and we pass. Wheeee!
A rare treat this morning: laying fresh tracks on the front side of the Sally Barber Mine Trail!
It is not so obvious given the lighting; but we are laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches of new
snow on the front side of the Sally Barber Mine Trail! What a treat!
Why is the previous photo such a treat? Well the front side of Sally Barber is in the "top 5" of popular cross-country/snowshoe trails around Breckenridge (for both locals and tourists). The general rule is that you have to get on the trail before sunrise to be first tracks when there is fresh snow. We were out early this morning, but not close to sunrise. What a treat to find the popular front side of Sally Barber untouched as we were able to sprint & glide in 2-3 inches of new snow!
After skijoring up & over Sally Barber, it was time to add an out & back to French Gulch to our outing. French Gulch is our favorite "moose seeking" trail. While our noses certainly caught the "whiff of moose" this morning, we failed to spot any such big beasts. But, it was not from a lack of effort :)
"Climbing, climbing - our noses say moose are somewhere this direction!" state Max & Zorro
climbing a snow wall on the side of the trail to look for moose. We did not see any; but the
Siberian noses said they were nearby and I did see tracks going up into the trees across the gulch.
So, failed to spot a moose (although we filled our noses)... No problem, we know how to entertain ourselves in many ways...
"Chomp, chomp - love snowcones!" demonstrates snowcone eating Zorro.
"Rub-a-dub-dub, love rolling snow angels!" demonstrates silly Max.
Snowcones, snow angels and one last form of "other than moose" entertainment in French Gulch:
Floor it - as we surpass 20 MPH. Zoooooom!!!
Despite the lack of "French Gulch Moose" it was still a very entertaining day with rare fresh tracks on Sally Barber and snowcones + snow angels + pedal to the metal in French Gulch: 9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 40 days on the trails covering 302.7 miles with 30,450 feet of elevation climbed.
We were able to skijor on 4 different types of terrain this morning. All in one outing!
Lower French Gulch: packed and fast!
4 types of terrain, all along the French Gulch Trail. It started "packed and fast" in lower French Gulch. It was actually so packed that I had to hold back my sprinting partners as it was almost ice and I'd have no ability to stop if we were going too fast! Still fun, as you can see above; but "cautiously fast & fun".
Eventually you out-ski the popular lower section of French Gulch and get into the lesser used terrain. Only serious cross-country skiers come back this far as it is a lot of work to get here without Siberian Skijor Power (it takes us only 20 minutes to get to this terrain whereas a typical cross-country skier would take more than an hour).
Getting far back in the gulch and riding in a single track barely two Siberians wide.
Keep going and we typically out-ski all existing tracks and find ourselves breaking trail far, far back in the gulch:
No signs of previous humans. Just us Siberians towing the human way back here. The indentations
going perpendicular in front of us were moose tracks; but not very fresh as Max & Zorro only
gave them a "passing sniff" as we cruised by.
Finally, the 4th type of terrain this morning: Moose Trough Trail! A moose had recently crossed the primary trail and sauntered off into the deep snow. Max & Zorro's noses and actions told me this was a very fresh and recent moose crossing. Zorro declared this a new trail - the Moose Trough Trail and tried to convince all of us to follow the scent of moose.
"Swimming in a moose trough - follow me this way!" declares silly Zorro who can barely see
above the snow since the moose trough is so deep.
"I'm in, I'm in!" says silly Max perfectly willing to listen to Zorro and follow the moose.
Unfortunately (for Max & Zorro), the human put a stop to following the Moose Trough Trail and pulled everyone back onto the established trail. Stupid Human :)
A mostly fast day on the packed part of French Gulch with some narrow, deep and moose trough fun deeper in the gulch: 8.8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 39 days on the trails covering 293.7 miles with 29,550 feet of elevation climbed.
Beautiful shot of my out-stretched, sprinting skijor partners!
Flying... Literally flying! Wheeee!
Usually Max & Zorro shift into "sprint speed gear" in unison. Whether it is a "hike up" call from me or just the two of them deciding to "floor it" - it almost always happens in unison. Well, this morning was a rare exception, I called out "hike up" and Max floored it; but Zorro was distracted by something to our right and missed the group speed up...
"Hey little bro - you are behind! Didn't you hear the ok to 'floor it'? Catch up!!!" says Max looking
back at lagging behind Zorro (who, as you see, quickly realized what he missed and launched to
keep up :)
Zorro launch to catch up completed, now this is normal:
Sprint stretched Zorro in line with sprint tucked Max.
A little further along and...
"Excuse me; but WHO is behind now?!?" states Zorro to snow angel rolling flat tire Max.
Back to sprinting again:
Sprint stretched Max flying along with sprint tucked Zorro.
Only time for a short outing at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. But, as you can see by the photos, we had it floored most of the short run: 5.8 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation and a top speed of 23 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 38 days on the trails covering 284.9 miles with 28,650 feet of elevation climbed.
Topping 26 MPH skijoring a freshly groomed track at Rabbit Ears Pass. Zoom!
Sprint tuck Max with Sprint stretch Zorro. Zoom!
We arrived to our favorite "fast trail" at Rabbit Ears Pass to find it freshly groomed. This trail is groomed for snowmobile tours; so it is fast, packed and many miles long. When you are first to the trail after the groomer, it is ESPECIALLY fast. We hit 26 MPH on this freshly groomed terrain this morning - groomie zoomie!
Here we go... I have spliced together 3 video clips where I was thinking, "Damn, we are FLYING!" It must have been in one of these 3 where we hit 26 MPH. Wheeee!
It was -10F at the trailhead this morning (yes, -10, the '-' is not a typo :) I believe these cold temps added to Max & Zorro's engine as "freshly groomed + Siberian perfect temp" leads to fast skijoring. I thought it was a bit chilly; but that was only me...
"Aaaahhh, rolling snow angels to cool off!" says '10 below & hot' Max!
"My turn, my turn - I'm on fire too!" demonstrates Zorro rolling to cool his jets.
A fast day on freshly groomed terrain with perfect Siberian temperatures: 9.4 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 37 days on the trails covering 279.1 miles with 28,200 feet of elevation climbed.
Breaking trail in roughly 2 feet of fresh powder! Pow!
Topping 20 MPH on French Gulch Road with 2 feet of snow on the shoulders, but not
down the middle!
We got about 2 feet of fresh snow overnight and headed out to French Gulch to skijor the fresh snow. French Gulch Road had not yet been plowed, so we could not get to the usual trailhead. We simply hopped out of the car where the unplowed road started and proceeded to skijor the unplowed road.
Skijoring the unplowed road is the first photo above. I was thinking, "So deep, we'll be lucky if we traverse 2 miles in this!" Then, after about 15 minutes of breaking trail, a car came buzzing down the road. Clearly this car had gone into French Gulch before the overnight dump of 2 feet. I was amazed this little car was actually making it down the road. I think "downhill" coupled with very soft & fluffy snow is how it was able to make it...
"Wow, look at him blazing through 2 feet of snow!" we all said.
Once this car went by, though, we had a set track to run! This is what you see in the second photo above - Max & Zorro each taking one tire track while I alternate which I glide behind as we suddenly transition from "breaking trail" to "breaking 20 MPH". What a day of extreme opposite conditions!
Only time for a short run; but the car allowed us to actually accrue more miles than anticipated for a short outing: 5.7 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2016/2017 Season to Date: 35 days on the trails covering 260.7 miles with 26,750 feet of elevation climbed.
Such innocent looking little guys at our midpoint break of this morning's outing...
"I'm innocent, I have no idea what you are talking about!" smirks Max.
"Yeah - I'm innocent too!" declares happy Zorro.
Our route today started us on the wide & packed Baldy Mountain Trail and ended on the wide & packed Sally Barber Mine Trail. But, the "connection" between these two trails involves traversing through the backcountry on seldom used terrain. We found the connector had been slightly used by others so it was a narrow single track with deep snow out of track. Not a problem, Max & Zorro always do single tracks just fine and alternate who is in lead.
Jogging along with Max in lead. You can see the narrow single track that requires us to be
single file as the snow is too deep to keep pace if you hop out of track.
Did I say Max & Zorro always do single tracks just fine? Ok, well maybe not always, maybe 99.9% of the time. As we were going along, Zorro gave Max a poke in the butt to say, "Let's speed it up!" This rarely happens and boy did Max take objection :)
"I felt that and now you are going to get squashed!" states silly Max whirling around to let Zorro
know the poke was not welcome!
After pouncing on Zorro, both bounced up to state their final opinions...
"It was just a gentle poke, I wanted to go faster!" Zorro tries to explain.
"Do it again and get flattened again!" declares 'not buying it' Max.
I intervened to explain that we should all just get along as we always do on single tracks. "We will be rewarded with the wide & fast Sally Barber trail, trust me!" I explained. Great, they believed me and we got back to organized skijoring until meeting with Sally Barber and then uncorking the skijor engine!
Zoom, zoom, zoom we go!
Today's short video highlight is Max & Zorro's reward for towing me through the narrow backcountry. The reward: opening up the throttle on the Sally Barber Mine Trail.