Friday, June 1, 2018

Rabbit Hat

We pulled a "rabbit out of a hat" to piece together one last skijor run for Zorro's 10th birthday this June 1st. Happy Birthday Zorro!
"Wanna play before we get going?" asks frisky Jack.
"Really, I'd flatten you (and you'd love it)!" declares birthday boy Zorro.
I said "rabbit out of a hat" as we returned to Rabbit Ears Pass to try and find enough patches of snow to put together Zorro's birthday run. It was truly a piecemeal run we found few contiguous patches of snow with lots of exposed ground in between. The contiguous patches got very narrow at times...
"Still enough snow if you stay behind me!" declares happy Zorro.
"My path is broken!" states happy Jack.
Every time we encountered patches of exposed ground, I would take off my skis and then jog with Zorro and Jack to the next snow patch. At each snow patch, we would pause while I put my skis back on. Well, you know what Jack thinks about pauses during skijor runs... Roll snow angels!
"Ah, feels sooo good - no need to hurry!" says silly Jack.
"Come on, I don't have all day, get those skis on!" states Zorro.
They came off (and then on) so many times, even Zorro decided to join in on the antics waiting for the silly human to get reset to go:
"Okay, I see the fun in rolling while waiting for slow humans!" demonstrates Zorro.
"Hehe, told ya!!!" adds happy Jack.
But, we did find a few extended patches to enjoy our last skijor of this 2017/2018 season. Wheeee!
Go, go, go!!! Finally, go dogs go!!! :)
Finally the fun was over and time to play with little puppy Rudy as we shut down our 2017/2018 skijor season.
Such focus! Such focus!!!

A piecemeal final run with some skijoring and lots of jogging in between patches of snow: 2.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 12 MPH (not enough contiguous patches of snow to hit a real top speed :)

2017/2018 Season Summary: 56 days on the trails covering 342.7 miles with 33,750 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Finale?

This morning was most likely our finale of the 2017/2018 Skijor Season.
Most of the day's outing looked like this! A narrow "ribbon of death" to try and
skijor with my pals.
I say today is our finale because of the conditions you see in the prior photo. But, I back of to "most likely" our finale because June 1st is Zorro's birthday and we always try to produce some sort of skijor outing for his birthday. Yet, look at the prior photo again... So, this is probably our last outing unless we find some magic patch of snow to use on June 1st.

We did find a few patches of skiable snow. Here is a look at the morning's "good" conditions:
At least there is enough snow to open up the skijoring engine.
But, these open patches were rare and short-lived.
Given the conditions, I do not have a lot of skijor highlights to show from the day; but I do have plenty of entertainment with Zorro and Jack.

First off, here is goofy Jack rolling snow angels before we even got started on the run:
"It's snow, it's snow, don't care if we haven't started!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Really kid? Come on, we have to get going before it all melts!" declares Zorro.
I had to take my skis off many times to cross over exposed ground before getting on snow to restart again. My friends had their own ideas what to do while waiting for me to get my skis back on. "If the human is busy, why not play?" suggests Jack:
"He's busy, let's PLAY!" says Jack baiting Zorro.
Of course, Zorro fell for it and a tumbleweed of Siberians broke out after this :)
At one of our two planned short breaks. Zorro showing his pleasure with snow, despite sketchy conditions and Jack doing his patented stop/drop/roll at any break:
"It's still 'toes on snow'! I'm having a blast!" declares happy Zorro.
"Aaaahhhh, love rolling in snow!" demonstrates silly Jack.
Another unplanned break waiting for me to put my skis back on after crossing a large patch of ground:
"Boring!!! BOOOORRRRIIIIINNNGGG! Can we go yet?!?" asks yawning Zorro who is
clearly unimpressed with my equipment needs :)
"We may be stopping often; but I'm still having a BLAST!" declares happy Jack.
As has been the pattern the last two months. End the day and pick up little puppy Rudy to join in for the 'end of run' treats.
"Woooooo. Just Wooooo!" exclaims talkative Rudy.
"How about giving us quiet & mature fellas some treats?" say patient Zorro and Jack.

A short run on sketchy conditions to end a strange season: 2.1 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 14 MPH.

We started the season with Max & Zorro. We lost Max suddenly and out of no where. We had cute little Jack drop in our laps to lift our spirits. We watched Jack grow and mature into a happy young sled dog. We had adorable little "talk a lot" Rudy drop in our laps to provide even more daily entertainment. What a strange 2017/2018 skijor season!

2017/2018 Season to Date: 55 days on the trails covering 340.5 miles with 33,350 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Repertoire

Catching Air Skijoring in Late May! Yay!
May 22nd on Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass. Beautiful conditions and Zorro & Jack
"catch air" flying along the terrain.
Jack expanded his "snow angel repertoire" today to include rolling snow angels BEFORE we even got started. His repertoire now consists of (1) rolling snow angels before we start; (2) rolling snow angels during both of our short breaks; and (3) rolling snow angels after the day's run. Quite a talented young boy!
Here we are at the start of the day's outing. We have not even started our run; but silly Jack
is rolling himself in the snow!
"Love snow, love snow! Wheeee!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Geez, we haven't even started yet! I cannot watch this silliness!" declares Zorro.
If you are rolling snow angels before you even run and get hot, then you know what happens during our short breaks:
"Ok, he's earned this roll in the snow to cool off!" declares happy Zorro at our second short break.
"Rub a dub dub, aaaaahhhh!" demonstrates silly Jack.
In between rolling snow angels, we actually did skijor :)  Come along for a short clip of the day's action. The trail may be bumpy as the camera is bouncing (and my legs were burning); but it's skijoring in late May - Yay!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun time, fun time, fun time! Right guys:
"Oh yes! Oh yes! So much FUN!" declare the ecstatic pair of happy huskies
Done with the outing and time to collect puppy Rudy and dish out the 'end of run' treats:
"Ready!" states intense Zorro.
"Hi mom! I had a blast today!" exclaims happy Jack looking to Nancy.
"I want treats too!!!!!" declares happy little puppy Rudy.
Today's outing was always one of our "late May goto" routes for Max, Zorro and I. To honor Max, we paused to set some of his ashes free in the slight breeze. Miss you Max!
"He was such a great pal!" declares Zorro.
"Wish I knew him!!!!" adds happy Jack.
If you look closely, the white at the top of the baggy is a puff of Max drifting off in the wind.

Still going in Late May - Yay: 3.1 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 54 days on the trails covering 338.4 miles with 32,950 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Back to Back

Yesterday morning was young Jack's first "back to back" skijor (going out 2 days in a row).
He had a blast; there's no slowing him down :)
Zorro and Jack "catching air" as we cruise along the Walton Peak ridgeline at
Rabbit Ears Pass
So, Jack, your first "back to back" outing, what are your thoughts on the day?
"Loving it!!!!" declares happy Jack at one of our 2 short breaks.
"He's really coming along nicely!" adds happy Zorro.
I love watching young Jack learn and mature into a professional sled dog. It helps that Zorro is a very good & experienced teacher, too. Below is a nice photo showing the developing maturity. If the conditions are good (or better), the sled dogs like to get into running synchronized. But, when the conditions are suspect, it is better to run such that one is out-stretched when the other is in a sprint tuck as this helps balance the skijoring engine on less than perfect terrain (think of a 4WD car with the tires operating independently on uneven ground). While today's trail had plenty of snow, the terrain was very bumpy. Bumpy terrain is just the conditions where you'd want to run "out of sync" to balance out the skijoring vehicle. Here is a great shot of Zorro and Jack adjusting like a perfect 4WD:
Out-stretched Zorro beside sprint-tucked Jack as you see them adjusting perfectly to
extremely bumpy conditions. Nice!
Today's video highlight will give you a feel for the bumpy and often slick terrain. If your volume is up, you can hear my skis scraping as I try to keep things under control as we "bounce and go" along the bumpy trail. But, hey, it is skijoring in mid May, so we'll take these conditions any day :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

First of our two breaks and it is the now patented "stop, drop and roll" from silly Jack:
"He's coming along nicely, but still such a goof!" declares happy Zorro.
"Stopped, so starting my drop... soon to roll!" demonstrates silly Jack.
I did not get a good photo of Jack's actual snow angel at the first break (the reason the previous photo only shows his "drop") as my knee and Zorro were in front of the camera. So, polite Jack obliged by giving us a clearer stop/drop/roll at the 2nd break:
"How's this! Can you see me now?!?" demonstrates silly snow rolling Jack.
Nice leg extension :)
End of the morning's run and time to gather puppy Rudy and get our end of run treats. Only Zorro remembered the protocol...
"Hi mom! I'm ready for my end of run treats!" says Zorro looking back at the camera as he is
in the right position to get his treats!
"Yum, snowcones!!!!" demonstrates silly snow eating Jack who seems to have forgotten
about the end of run treats protocol.
"How about a gnaw on your hand instead of treats?" says silly Rudy deciding that I am
a chew toy as he forgets about the end of run treats protocol too.
Silly Puppies... Smart Zorro!

A perfect day on young Jack's first back-to-back skijor: 3.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 53 days on the trails covering 335.3 miles with 32,550 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Frisky

Zorro and Jack were very frisky and happy to be back on snow after a week off! Silly boys...
"Shall we wrestle first?!?" suggests frisky Zorro.
"Hey, I can hold my own you know!!!" responds frisky Jack.
You could say this morning was somewhat of a milestone for young Jack. Before this morning, when Zorro would start something during an outing, Jack would quickly back off. But, not today, young Jack is almost 10 months old and feeling very confident that he can play right along with frisky Zorro :)  The pair was quite comical breaking out in this "wrestlefest" before we could get on the trail and start skijoring.

Unfortunately, signs of the "end of season" are appearing quickly. Rabbit Ears Pass is one of our last sections of trails to maintain snow through Spring. But, look at the sad ground exposure in the following photo:
Zorro and Jack smartly moving far left onto firm snow as you see exposed ground far to
our right and soft slush between the ground and Zorro & Jack. Ugh!
Today's short video clip goes along with the prior photo. Come along as we skijor the top of Rabbit Ears Pass and watch how smart Zorro and Jack are to keep far away from and ground or slush obstacles. Good boys!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Despite the deteriorating conditions you see in the prior photo & video, we did still find some really nice stretches of all snow! Yay!
Zipping along a nice wide & all snow section of trail - yay!
As has been our pattern since hooking up young Jack: short runs with 2 short breaks. Well, Jack has certainly "mastered" the break concept (and he's doing great at the skijoring part too :)
"Silly, this kid is just silly!" declares happy Zorro looking back to me at one of our breaks.
"Rub a dub dub, cooling my happy jets!" demonstrates silly Jack. Clearly 'break' has
translated to 'stop, drop and roll' in Jack's skijoring dictionary :)
End of the morning run and where is little puppy Rudy? Here he is....
"I had a great time today!" declares happy Jack.
"Surrounded by children, <sigh>!" smirks funny Zorro.
"Look at me!! Look at me!!!!" states focused little Rudy hoping for my attention.

The ground is certainly starting to show at Rabbit Ears; but there is still plenty of snow to go a little longer... 2.85 miles today with 350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 52 days on the trails covering 332.1 miles with 32,050 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Perfect

Absolutely perfect conditions to skijor Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning.
Is it really May? :)
Zorro and Jack catching air as you see a perfect spring crusts as far as the eye can see!
We knew there was enough snow to skijor Walton Peak this morning; but we were beyond ecstatic to find a hard crust to skijor any path we chose! With temperatures rising every afternoon, you never know whether the snow will re-harden over night or if you'll find punchy or slushy conditions. Well, today was PERFECT as the temps cooled enough last night to make a solid spring crust to support our weight all morning long. Fun...

But, it is spring, so temperatures rise every day. You know what that means Jack will do during any break, right? Snow angels...
"This little bro is goofy!" says happy Zorro at one of our two breaks.
"Aw man, must roll and cool my jets!" declares silly Jack.
On to today's video highlight. Come along as we make our own path to sprint & glide all over Walton Peak at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass. What a perfect spring crust!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We continue to take 2 breaks every outing as we are training and growing young Jack. Second break, same as the first...
"Goofy I tell you, this kid is goofy!" states happy Zorro.
"Hehe, haha, hoho!" adds silly Jack as he is just finishing rolling another snow angel.
End of the day's run and time to try and get a puppy shot with little Rudy. Unfortunately, Rudy kept aligning himself in between Zorro and Jack and was not visible during most of our "end of run" treats. But, here is one shot where you can at least see him :)
Focused, just focused! Three sled dogs very focused on their end of run treats.

A great day with a perfect spring crust all outing long: 3.1 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 51 days on the trails covering 329.3 miles with 31,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Crust Fun

Sprinting along as we find a nice stretch of spring crust on which to uncork the skijoring engine!
Sprinting Zorro and flying Jack as we go full throttle on a nice stretch of solid crust.
This time of year, you need to get out on the trails early to find a crust solid enough to hold our weight. While you can see lots of ground spots in the prior photo, there is still plenty of white stretches. So, if you do get out early, there is still plenty of skijoring fun to be had!

Come along for today's short video clip as we have just come out of some dense trees (where we had to skijor slowly and cautiously) and find the wonderful wide open meadow. Zorro and Jack both realize the meadow crust is firm enough to floor it, so off we goooooo! Wheeeeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As nice as that video clip looked, it is May... Young Jack got to encounter his first trail hazard this morning as we came upon a melted out patch with no way to stay on snow and cross. Zorro knows to stop and wait for my instruction at such hazards. Yet, this was Jack's first such hazard and I am very proud to say he followed Zorro's lead, came to a stop and looked back to me for instruction. Such a good boy!!!
"Trail hazard, trail hazard, everybody slow down!" declares veteran Zorro.
"Whoa, this does not look right. I think I'll stop and ask for guidance!" says perfect rookie Jack.
Despite a few hazards like the photo above, we were able to put together a very nice May skijor run. On of our breaks for young Jack as I call out time to stop and turnaround:
"Fun, fun, fun!" declares happy Zorro.
"I'm loving life!" exclaims happy Jack.
End of the morning's run and time for the obligatory "puppy shot" as we picked up little Rudy to celebrate the end of a fun day:
"It was a great day!" declares Zorro.
"Yes, so fun!" states happy Jack.
"Thanks for coming back for ME!" adds cute little Rudy.
It is safe to say young Jack is REALLY enjoying becoming a real sled dog and running start to finish with Zorro. The runs may be short, but the happiness is immense.
"This is THE LIFE! I love it!" exclaims super happy Jack at one of our two short breaks.
A little creativity was required; but we were able to piece together a nice May run on solid spring crust: 2.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 50 days on the trails covering 326.2 miles with 31,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Snowpack

Smiles from all 3 of my skijor partners as we conclude a great day skijoring atop the awesome snowpack at Rabbit Ears Pass (ok, only 2 of my partners really skijored, but little Rudy feels like he was part of the outing :)
"We had fun!!!" declare the happy trio!
The snowpack at Rabbit Ears is still in excess of 5 feet of snow at the base and increasing to over 9 feet of snow as you go up in elevation. Quite an impressive amount of snow for late April. The conditions ranged from perfect on the set trails to perfect off trail - just perfect all around :)

We were thrilled to find the main trail to be groomed and/or packed without too many ruts from snowmobile traffic. That allowed us to open up the skijor engine on fast terrain:
Flying Zorro and Jack as you see groom lines to our left and gently packed surfaces to our right.
Wheeee!
We abandoned the set trails for most of the outing and skijored the solid crust atop the 5+ feet of snowpack. I love this shot of Jack. Look closely as he is smiling at Zorro as we fly along the spring crust. His bushy tail is obscuring some of his head, but you can just make out his happy smile looking at Zorro.
"You sure are a fun big brother! Wheeee!" exclaims happy Jack.
"Just keep following my lead!" declares Zorro.
Temperatures were in the low to mid 40s (F) during our outing, making this Jack's first skijor on a hot day. Well, if you've been following along this season, you know Jack is really into rolling snow angels to cool off during breaks. So, what did you expect from him on his hottest day skijoring...
"Phew, gotta cool my jets!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"What a goof!" declares happy Zorro.
It is pretty humorous that all of Zorro's skijor partners have turned out to be "snow angel pros" (first Max and now Jack). You've got to wonder what Zorro thinks of these silly antics from his partners (although Zorro will, on occasion, join in with rolling an angel himself).

Despite a "warm day", we sure had a blast skijoring the set trails and wandering off trail atop the great snowpack at Rabbit Ears Pass. Right guys?
"FUN!!!!!" that pretty much summarizes Zorro and Jack's thoughts on the day.

Great time bringing along young Jack: 2.8 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 49 days on the trails covering 324.0 miles with 30,700 feet of elevation climbed.