Wednesday, January 31, 2018

24 MPH Day

Another day topping 24 MPH skijoring with Zorro - wheeee!
Zorro the "skijoring hover husky" levitating above the trail as we zip along!
Our outing started with a brisk pace on narrow trails and then ended as an all out sprint on groomed and wide trails. Zoom was the motto of the day!
Narrow, but still packed & fast, trails to start this morning's outing.
After a short & brisk jog on the narrow trails, we transitioned onto miles of groomed and wide trails. Zorro was in a sprint mode all morning long. Fast, fast, zoooom!
Zorro the "Flying Z" sprinting along the fast terrain.
How fast was it? Well, come along for a fast & furious skijor minute as we topped 24 MPH somewhere along this fast stretch.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We hooked up little Jack for a 30 yard dash to finish the morning's outing. He loves to join and feel like one of the big boys. Well, what do "big boys" do after skijoring? Roll snow angels and eat snowcones to cool off :)
"Chomp, chomp, eating snow to cool my jets!" demonstrates fun Zorro.
"Rub a dub dub, I blew my jets out too!" declares silly little snow rolling Jack.
A fast outing for super Zorro and furious 30 yard dash for silly Jack: 7.4 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 30 days on the trails covering 219.4 miles with 18,850 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 29, 2018


Happy Zorro towing me to the finish as Jealous Jack wants to be hooked up too!!! :)
"Wheeee, come with meeee!" says happy Zorro as we finish the morning's run.
"But what about meeeeeee?!?!?!?!" expresses jealous Jack.
We do not hookup Jack for every skijor finish as he is still a growing puppy. He gets to do his "50 yard Jack Dash" about once a week as he continues to grow. But, he WANTS to come with every single time :)  Yesterday morning we were on the busy trails at Swan Valley (busy with dog sled teams and snowmobiles), so it was Jack's day off to instead walk around the trails and watch the dog sled teams (and Zorro). Believe me, all this observing wears the puppy out!

Yesterday morning's run came along with lots of teasers until finally success...

We found a set of fresh moose tracks (and moose droppings) on the trail and followed them until they drifted off into the forest. Zorro's intensity told me how fresh the tracks were; but, alas, no moose sighting...

We found a cluster of fresh elk tracks (and elk droppings too) on the trail. Elk travel in herds, as opposed to moose that are solitary or in very small groups, so the amount of tracks on the trail was quite large. We followed these tracks until they drifted off into the forest too. Once again, Zorro's intensity told me how fresh the tracks were; but alas, no elk sightings...

Finally, we found sled dog tracks on the trail and we found sled dogs too!!!! Come along for the highlights flirting with the dog teams from Good Times Adventures.

On a side trail as a team goes along the main trail. Zorro and I let the team get a slight head start and then play "chase & follow":
"Ready, ready... Let's chase!!!!" says Zorro lined up and ready to get going following the
team to our right on the main trail.
Whenever we find a team paused on the trail, Zorro loves to flirt as he runs by:
"Hi friends! Follow me!" says happy Zorro flashing a smile to the team paused to our left.
Sometimes the trail is too narrow for passing, so Zorro and I pause to flirt as our friends go by:
Look at all those happy husky faces giving Zorro a glance as they go by (and you know
Zorro was flashing back just as happy a glance)!
End of the day as we reconnect with Jack at the trailhead and take a moment to watch a team and their handlers in front of us:
"Bye friends. See you again soon!" say Zorro and Jack to the team paused on the trail.

A fun day with moose & elk teasers before sled dog success: 9.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 29 days on the trails covering 212.0 miles with 18,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 26, 2018


Nice trifecta in this beautiful photo: great views, freshly groomed trail and flying Zorro.
Perfect :)
First tracks on the freshly groomed nordic trails high up on Peak 7 of the Breckenridge
Nordic Center. 
Today's video clip has all kinds of interesting action. We start with Zorro and I flying around the freshly groomed terrain as we wind through curves leading to the trailhead to complete our run.

Next, as we approach the trailhead, I start slowing before the last curve so I can scan the terrain through the trees. Why scan? Well, this trailhead is known for having loose and often ill-behaved dogs. We put up with this annoying trailhead because the rest of the terrain is so fun; we just slow down, scan for bad dogs and avoid them when they are there. Anyway, all I saw was a single person walking down the trail with no bad dogs in sight. But, still, as we complete the turn to begin the final straightaway, I snowplow to rescan once more for bad dogs (the bad ones are typically lurking in the trees and will jump you). No dogs in sight so I let Zorro restart. But, as we approach, I suddenly notice the person on the trail is carrying a dog. Carrying?!?! What the **** is that? Anyway, no interest in finding out what the deal is with this large purse dog; so Zorro and I get under control and then fly by.

Finally, we come upon little Jack and Nancy waiting for us at the trailhead. "Hi Jackie!" we say as we continue by to finish at the trailhead gate.

So, here we go: fly then pause, scan, assess then fly again. Wheeee! Zorro is so good at listening to ignore and go on by!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I love this clip of Zorro as we fly by the lady and the large purse dog:
"What the hell is that?!?! Keep it away from me!!!!" declares Zorro looking at the weird
purse dog and leaning right to make sure it stays away :)
Seriously, carrying a dog that large??? Note that the lady did not pick up the dog because she saw us coming, she had been carrying it since I could see the trailhead approach from before the last curve in the trail. Thus the label of the "largest purse dog".

At the trailhead to rejoin with little Jack. Look who has learned to look at the musher (and not the treat hand) at the end of the run!!!! Good boy, make eye contact and you get lots of accolades (and end of run pork treats too)!
"Hi!!!! I learned that 'eye contact' is good!!!" says happy little puppy Jack.
Fun shot of Zorro paused with me at one of the warming huts on the nordic center trails:
"No really - 'warming hut' - what the **** is that?!?!?!" smirks silly Zorro who has never been
cold in his life.
A fun, fun day on fast & freshly groomed nordic trails: 9.1 fast miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 28 days on the trails covering 202.8 miles with 17,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Zorro and I were SO CLOSE to encountering a moose (or two) on the trails yesterday morning.
So close, but no cigar...
"My nose says 'Moose in the trees this way'!" declares moose seeking Zorro.
Two things to note about the prior photo. First, notice how tall the snow wall is that Zorro is peeking over. When he was on the trail, the wall was too tall for him to see anything to the right. Yet, he stopped on a dime at this spot to peek over the wall. Clearly the 'scent of moose' drew him to stop and stand tall to look over the wall for moose. Second, those are fox tracks going up the trail in front of us. Once Zorro's nose caught the scent of moose, he had zero interest in the fresh fox tracks. "Who cares about a fox when the scent of moose is nearby?!?!?!" states Zorro. Despite Zorro's intense stare in the photo above, neither of us were able to get a visual on a moose in the trees from this spot.

Our outing took us out & back in French Gulch. The lower part of the gulch has a heavily used trail with high snow walls as you see in the prior photo. Eventually, we out ski the heavy usage and the trail transitions to seldom used and narrow. We were first tracks on the lower trails and still first tracks as we transitioned into the deeper & seldom used terrain, until.... Moose tracks intersected the trail!!!!
"Oh my, these are FRESH!!!!" declares Zorro sniffing the tracks to test for freshness.
As you see in the previous photo, a moose sauntered from the forest to our right and onto the main trail. He (or she) then proceeded to walk along the French Gulch Trail for quite a distance. This gave Zorro and I a little extra energy to be second tracks to a moose for a long stretch on the upper trail:
Second tracks on the trail behind a moose.
Zorro's engine got a healthy dose of 'moose juice' as he was pulling as hard as he
could to tow me along the moose trail.
We skijored out upper French Gulch as far as the moose trail led us. Eventually, though, the moose left the trail and went up into the trees. Despite Zorro's desire to follow the moose, I used my veto power to reject the idea of going into deep snow and thick trees after a moose! So, we turned around and headed back down the gulch expecting the moose excitement for the day to be over.

But, my oh my, it was not over. We transitioned from the upper, narrow trail and back onto the wide, lower trail and started a fast skijor in the lower gulch. Then, all of a sudden, Zorro launched himself off trail to our right and landed in a moose trough! Apparently the moose had done a loop. He went out the upper gulch trail, turned into the trees, started back down (while in the forest) and then cut back onto the main trail in the lower part of the gulch. His path out of the forest and onto the lower trail was quite impressive - take a look for yourself:
Zorro standing in a moose trough as this is the trail he carved out of the forest and back onto
the main trail. Moose sure are tall :)
Well, the moose stepped out of the deep trough you see above and proceeded to walk down the main trail. As I mentioned, Zorro and I were first tracks on the trail yesterday morning. So, the ski tracks you see in the photo below are the tracks we set on the way out. The footprints you see in front of Zorro are moose prints going down the trail. These moose prints were NOT on the trail just 15-20 minutes before when we were laying the fresh ski tracks. That is, we were at most 20 minutes behind the moose!!!!
"This way, this way! Hurry, hurry!!!!" says Zorro launching us after the 'less than 20 minute
old' moose tracks on the trail!
The moose walked down the main trail for a bit (with Zorro and I in hot pursuit :) until he eventually left and went into the deep snow in the gulch. I had good visibility into the gulch, so, with no moose in sight, I let Zorro follow the moose trail for a short distance (until visibility diminished as we approached the thick trees across the gulch). I knew there was no way we would catch up to moose now that we were in super deep snow; but Zorro was very entertained and willing to try :)
"This way now! This way! I don't care how deep it is, MOOSE!" declares silly little Zorro
trying to keep pace with a moose in 2+ feet of snow :)
But, as I said in the beginning, "so close, but no cigar." Despite the fresh tracks and knowing we were at most 20 minutes behind the moose at one point, we failed to get a visual again today. So much great moosing (tracks, sniffs, stares); but no treasured visual. Oh well, back to the trailhead to tell Jack about how much fun we had searching for moose...
"I have no idea what a moose is yet; but I DO know what 'end of run' pork treats are!" says
little Jack mesmerized with the pork treats in my hands.
"So we failed to get a visual, I STILL earned my end of run treats!" declares intense Zorro :)

A very entertaining morning looking for moose with lots of deep moose troughs and trails to play in: 7.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 27 days on the trails covering 193.7 miles with 16,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Zooming along the trails behind Zorro the Flying Z - Wheeee!
I love this section of trail as the morning sun is at the perfect angle to showcase Flying Z!
Out-stretched & airborne flying sled dog!
It was an interesting start to the day as the trail had been groomed by a skinny groomer. A skinny groomer is a heavy sled with a groomer platform on the bottom that gets towed by a snowmobile. The groom track it lays is only as wide as a snowmobile - that is a skinny groom track. Here is my slight problem with a skinny track behind a fast sled dog... If I put both skis in the track, then they have to be parallel and there is no room for either ski to move and provide any braking or friction. Now, I have taught Zorro that if you feel no friction from me, then you can go as fast as you want.

Now, let's think about this. If I put both skis together in the skinny track then I provide no friction. So, if I provide no friction then Zorro uncorks it to full throttle. But, if I am trapped in a skinny track then I cannot provide any friction to keep us (okay, ME) safe. See the problem? :)

So, what you get instead is the photo below. I have one ski (right leg) in the groomed track and the other ski (left leg) out of track and in side powder. If I shift weight to the right leg then Zorro gets the frictionless feel and floors it. But, if I shift weight to the left leg, then Zorro feels friction and slows to my pace. Needless to say, my legs were quite sore after today's fast & furious skijor :)
Weight to the right = Zorro flying.
But, notice the left leg hanging out in the powder as the "emergency brake" should I need it.
After a few miles on the skinny groomer trail and we transitioned onto your typical "widely groomed" nordic track. From this point on, Zorro was flying around the trails as we hit 24 MPH as a top speed for the day. Zoom!
In the morning shade on super fast groomed terrain!
Eventually we transitioned out of the heavily shaded forest you see above and into the morning sun. Once into the sun, you get great flying and shadow shots like the top of today's blog. Come along for the video counterpart of this intro photo as Zorro kicks into high gear as we fly along in morning sun. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and here comes today's comical Jack entry. We did not hook Jack up to run along Zorro; but did hook him up for a gentle "walk" to end the outing. We always end a fun day of skijoring with "pork treats" for the hard working sled dogs:
"Such a fun day, ready for end-of-run treats!" declares super happy Zorro.
"I may not have run; but I can taste the treats already! Yum!" demonstrates silly Jack who is
very ready to receive his treats :)
Fun day on fast trails:
"Zoom - I had a blast!" declares happy Zorro at a turnaround point on the trails.

Zooming Zorro Day: 7.9 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 26 days on the trail covering 186.3 miles with 16,050 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hi Friends

"Hi Friends!!!" says Zorro as we pass by a paused team of 8 sled dogs from Good Times Adventures on the trails at Swan Valley.
Happy Siberian Huskies as excited to see and greet Zorro as Zorro is to
see and flirt back :)
Zorro loves getting on the trails at Swan Valley as that means we get to cruise around the fast trails looking for dog sled teams to run with, flirt with and have a great time with. Here we come flying along the trail as an 8 dog team crosses in front of us and little Jack (with Nancy) watch from the right. Fun for all!
Zooming Zorro with an 8 dog team going perpendicular in the foreground.
Little Jack and Nancy are just off the trail to our front right as well.
A meeting of the sled dogs :)
Today's video highlight goes along with the first photo above. Come along as Zorro and I are flying along the fast trails until we come upon the team paused. The trail is a bit narrow, so I shorten the gangline, give Zorro a little verbal instruction and we perfectly pass on-by before restarting our skijor sprint. Such a good Zorro!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and look who needs to cool off (not the one who did all the skijoring work :)
"Oh man, so hot - must roll to cool off!!!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Hey, watching & cheerleading is exhausting too!!!!" adds funny Jack.
Sometimes we encounter many sled dog teams on these trails; but this morning's outing only had two fun encounters. Oh well, it was still a blast flying around the trails and 2 meetings is better than none!
"Yes, yes indeed! 2 is way better than 0 and going fast is a blast!" declares happy Zorro.

A zooming day with the occasional encounter with dog teams on the trails: 8.3 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 25 days on the trails covering 178.4 miles with 15,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 12, 2018

First Tracks

First Tracks on the freshly groomed trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center.
A perfect "fast & fun" day flying with Zorro!
Perfect trail as we are first tracks on the newly groomed zoom track!
We got up early yesterday morning to enjoy the nordic trails before they got tracked up for the day. To our surprise, though, we were actually First Tracks on the newly groomed trails! Wow, what a fun day Zorro and I had. The only tracks we encountered all day were our own tracks on sections of trails we repeated. A whole nordic center all to ourselves! Zorro was in top form enjoying this fast terrain. If he was not flying as you see above, he was hovering over the trail instead:
Zorro the skijoring hovercraft zooming along the trails.
This area of nordic trails has some nice weaving trails that wind you through the forest. Zorro loves to cut the corners tight and hug the inside shoulder...
Zorro starting a nice lean into a right corner. Notice that polite Zorro stays just outside the
"classic ski track" to our right. He will cut the corners as tight as possible without hurting
the classic track. What a polite trail user!
Today's video highlight is an extended clip (1+ minute) showcasing many of the fun corners along the trail. Come along as Zorro "cuts the corners tight" while I have to use all my ski skills to swing wide and then cut tight to keep up with fast & flying Z! What a fun & winding trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done setting first tracks all over the trails and time to hook up little Jack for a fast & furious sprint to the finish:
"Wheeee, come with meeee little bro!" says happy Zorro towing me fast.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!!!" says happy Jack giving it all he has to keep pace with Zorro.

First tracks on groomed nordic trail all day - fun!
"Fun and FAST!!! Keep up if you can!" declares happy Zorro at a turnaround point on the trails.

A fun "groomie zoomie" day on nordic trails: 9.1 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 24 days on the trails covering 170.1 miles with 15,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 8, 2018


Zorro and I spent yesterday morning searching for moose as we skijored French Gulch...
"Searching, searching... My nose says they are nearby!!!" declares moose searching Zorro.
The "scent of moose" was clearly in the air as Zorro was obviously engaged and scanning the trees all morning long. It is only the scent of moose that can draw him off trail like you see above and he pulled off trail to scan like this THREE different times! Yet, we failed to spot a big, beautiful and smelly (albeit elusive) moose at any of these "stop and scan" points of the outing.

We skijored far back into French Gulch and eventually found a very fresh smelling trail of moose tracks leading into the brush. I let Zorro pick the trail for a bit to see if we could get a moose visual.
"Moose went this way!!! Fresh tracks!!!" declares Zorro leading us on a trail of moose tracks
going into the brush. 
Despite the freshness of the trail we followed in the photo above, we still failed to get a visual of the elusive moose. "Why be so big & smelly if you are not going to show yourself?!?" asked Zorro and I.

At one point running the trail, Zorro's moose radar really started firing and he was intensely scanning the trees to our right. He was so intense that I was about to start singing my "Henry the Eighth" moose warning when his intensity backed down with, yet again, no moose sighting :(
"Scanning, scanning, I smell them nearby again!!!!" demonstrates talented Zorro showing he
can hunt and run at the same time!
If you followed our adventures in years past, you know that moose sightings have become a common occurrence for us. Just look at all the past posts we have with the "moose sighting" tag. It is a running joke we had with friends around town: If you want to see a moose, just go skijoring with Max, Zorro and Brad.

Yet, Zorro and I have yet to get a moose sighting this season. We have encountered plenty of moose tracks and we have frequently stopped to scan the forest from the "scent of moose"; but no sightings. Well, we have come to the conclusion that Max must have had some special (silent to humans) moose call that he used to bring moose out of the trees and into the open. How else can you explain the frequency of moose sightings Max, Zorro and I had compared to none for just Zorro and I? We always knew Max was magical in almost everything he did ("Magic Max" once one of his nicknames); but I did not realize until this winter that part of his magic was being able to draw moose out into the open!

Well, Zorro and I will keep searching, hopefully we can get a moose of our own soon! No moose to be had, so we might as well head back to the trailhead and hook up little Jack for some puppy exercise:
"Hi mom!!!" says Zorro giving Nancy the camera operator a happy glance.
"I don't even know what a moose is yet; so I'll just have fun in the snow!" says happy Jack.
We had fresh snow overnight and French Gulch Road had yet to be plowed. So, we continued past the trailhead with little Jack and gave him a good exercise trot in the packed tire tracks for a short distance.
Zorro and Jack trotting in the packed track while I keep my skis in the soft
powder to their left. Wheeee!

Another day with plenty of moose scent and moose tracks but no visual. Oh well, still a very fun day in French Gulch: 8.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 23 days on the trails covering 161.0 miles with 14,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Jack Dash

Hooking up little Jack with Zorro and I for our "50-100 yard Jack Dash" to finish yesterday's 9.4 mile skijor outing.
Jack Dash! Zoom :)
Our current skijor pattern: Zorro and I go out for miles & miles and then we hook up little Jack for an easy (flat or downhill) 50-100 yard dash to finish the day's outing. This is great training for Jack to run alongside Zorro but keeping the terrain easy so he does not have to pull yet (he's too young for real pulling, but perfect for 50 yard dashes :)

Come along to watch yesterday's Jack Dash to finish our outing. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

You might notice I am snowplowing quite a bit in the prior video. Why, you ask? Well, I could say because the trail is pretty steep and I want to be under control (that is partly correct). Or, I could say because I want to keep our speed at a level good for young Jack (that is partly correct). Or, I could reveal the truth - there is a gate with a super narrow (and icy) side entrance at the end of the trail. Both my skijor partners saw nothing wrong with approaching and going through this narrow opening at full speed (and then hitting the dirt road on the other side of the gate). Well, the human would not have survived going such speeds through the gate! Thus the snowplowing :)
Gate at the end of the trail. Doesn't look like Zorro or Jack have any intention of slowing
to go through gently, does it!!!!! Snowplow to save the human!
Back to the day before the Jack Dash. We skijored the upper trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center and the conditions were PERFECT! Look at this great view:
Great view of Flying Zorro!
Great view of perfect trail conditions!
Great view of the Colorado Rockies to our right!
Here we go with Zorro flying along the fast nordic trails. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Great day for a 9+ mile skijor followed by a 50-100 yard Jack Dash to end the day!
"Perfect! Just perfect! I had sooo much fun!" exclaims happy Zorro at a turnaround point
on the trails yesterday morning.

A fast & fun day on groomed nordic trails: 9.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 22 days on the trails covering 152.3 miles with 13,550 feet of elevation climbed.