Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Pest

Beautiful backcountry trail to lay fresh tracks this morning!

Beautiful trail, beautiful sled dogs! Zoom!

When we were getting ready this morning, Rudy was acting like a loco nut. Ok, well, Rudy is always a loco nut; but this morning he was on nut overdrive. As he was bouncing around the house, I said to Jack & Nancy, "I wonder how much of this is going to spill onto the trails?" Nancy laughed, Jack rolled his eyes. The answer was, "It's RUDY, it's all going to spill onto the trail!" :) We had a least 4 pauses on the trail (all within the first 1-2 miles) to get Rudy to stop pestering Jack and me! What a pest!!!

What would make you want to stop trotting to suddenly rodent dive
onto your brother? Oh Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!

After about the 4th pause to deal with the pest, I was thinking, "Maybe I should flip the kid upside down and bite him! That'd teach him!" Well, Jack read my mind and did a flip and bite of his own. Good boy Jack!

"Stop bothering us!" says Jack atop Rudy.
"Yay, Jack flipped me! Whee!" responds loco Rudy.

Apparently all Rudy wanted was to be flipped and gnawed on for a bit as he stopped bothering Jack & I for the rest of the outing after Jack's flip. What a weirdo.

Anyway, Jack & my plan was to skijor the backcountry around Dry Gulch and then eventually drop onto the fast trails of Gold Run Nordic Center to end the day. Gold Run just recently opened for the season, so I was not sure they would be grooming the upper elevation trails yet; but they had!!! When we first dropped onto the trails, you could see signs a groomer had run yesterday and then there was 2-3 inches of fresh snow atop the groomed trail. Fresh tracks fun!

Wheeee! Laying fresh tracks over a groomed trail.
Oh, and look, Rudy is participating!!! :)

Finally, as we got to our last stretch of trail, the groomer had just come by minutes before us (I heard it from the trail we were on). Oh boy, a groomed sprint track to finish the outing. Zoom!

Zoom, zoom, zoom!

What did Jack & Rudy think of the groomed sprint track? Ha, ZOOM is their favorite word. Come along for a video glimpse of the fun as we topped 23 MPH skijoring along this stretch of trail.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, arriving at the trailhead behind my happy, happy pals. You wouldn't know Rudy started the day as a super pest from this cute & mellow glide to the finish :)

Whee!

Fun in the backcountry, fun in the groomed country and a little red pest to deal with along the way: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 33 days on the trails covering 267.1 miles with 23,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Spreading Z

Can you spot Zorro's ashes in the following photo?

Look straight up from Jack and you'll find the spray of ashes
spreading through the air in the top of this photo.

One of our goals this season was to get out to French Gulch once to spread Zorro's ashes. Wonderful Z passed away last May and I really wanted to honor his memory by distributing some of his ashes in French Gulch. Why French Gulch? Well, it was one of Zorro's favorite trails as he, Max & I skijored this trail more than any other trail from 2010-2017. But, starting around 2017, this trail has been converted from a backcountry heaven to a plowed road leading to newly developed houses. As a result, our use of French Gulch dwindled starting in 2017 until we just plain stopped trying the trail from 2020 on. But, I was still determined to get one outing this season to honor Zorro.

How did we do it today? Well, a perfect combination of conditions. There was only light snowfall overnight (maybe 2 inches or so), so plows appeared to be taking the morning off. But, it snowed heavily and steadily from 5am-7am, dropping maybe 4-5 inches of surprise morning snow. So, we headed out to French Gulch just after sunrise, knowing the plows were still asleep not knowing what had happened in the early morning hours. Well, it was perfect!!!

Whee, look at these great conditions on what has turned into
a plowed road recently!!!

Jack, Rudy and I had a blast skijoring out French Gulch for the first time in years (we did skijor French Gulch a little in 2018/2019 as Zorro was training young Jack & Rudy). So much fun!

More great conditions. But, notice that "plow wall" to the right of Jack.
This trail will be plowed down to dirt again by tomorrow :(

At our turnaround point, Jack & Rudy were fascinated at my saying Zorro's name and then taking some ashes out of my backpack to spread around. They both patiently sat and watched as I spread their mentor's ashes around us.

Both wonderful kids focused on the line of black ashes you see starting
above my ski and going to the top of the photo.

We all miss the wonderful old man soooo much!!!

The black in the bottom right are some of Zorro's ashes resting
on the snow. What a wonderful tribute spent with my pals!

Ok, back to skijoring. Come along for what has now become a rare skijor in French Gulch. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The unexpected early morning snow was such a surprise that even the main road leading to French Gulch had not been plowed yet. Fun!

So much fun to beat the plows to the roads :)

What a wonderful morning to honor wonderful Zorro, right guys?

"So much fun to relive our time with Z!!!!" says the happy kids.

For the record, Zorro's lifetime stats on French Gulch (again, most with Max & I and a few with Jack & Rudy): 220 outings covering 1737.7 miles!!! Impressive Z!

Today's tribute skijor: 9.6 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 32 days on the trails covering 257.7 miles with 22,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, December 5, 2022

Monday Freshies

Happy Jack & Rudy trotting along as I glide behind to conclude another great skijor morning.

All smiles from my Siberian Tow Rope :)

As I mentioned yesterday, we are finally starting to collect enough snow to open up more & more trails for our skijoring pleasure! Yesterday was Dry Gulch and today brought us our first skijor on Prospect Hill of this season! Yay!

We spent the majority of the day laying fresh tracks in a shallow layer of new snow (2-4 inches) with light snow falling around us. 

Fresh tracks for Jack & Rudy.
Snowflakes sprinkling around us (notice the snowflake blob covering
Rudy's right side of his head :)

The most fun, though, was when we got far away from the trailhead. Very few, if any, people had been this far from the trailhead so far this season. The result? We found ourselves breaking trail in 10+ inches of fresh powder all to ourselves!!!

It was only a mile or so of "powder cache"; but it was fun fun fun
to have Jack & Rudy tow me through breaking trail!

Then it was time to turnaround and head back the same path we came. Well, we turned around...

"Turnaround... Roll around!!!!" demonstrates the snow rolling goofs.

We were almost all the way back to the trailhead when the snow stopped and the skies started to clear. How nice of Mother Nature to put a pause in the morning storm to give us a postcard shot of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us :)

Cruising along when, oooh, ahhh, look at that sudden postcard shot
as the skies started to clear!

First day on Prospect Hill this season, let's celebrate with end of run treats!!!

"I agree!" says focused Jack.
"YES!" adds intense Rudy :)

Laying fresh tracks most of the day with a little stretch of breaking trail for added aerobic exercise: 8.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 31 days on the trails covering 248.1 miles with 21,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, December 4, 2022

More Terrain

With a good amount of new snow the last 2+ days, we are happy to finally be adding additional trails into our mix of skijor options!

First skijor on one of our favorite trails, Dry Gulch, this 2022/2023 season!

The network of trails we went to this morning has a great mix of types of terrain. We started the day on narrow trails which are single track bike trails in the summer:

Tucked in tight as we weave along a single track in the trees.

After some fun touring on single track trails, we transition onto what are "summer forest service" roads for a while. These are great wide and not too rocky roads closed to vehicles in the winter and open to only skiers, snowshoers and fat bikers. Come along for the video highlight of the day skijoring the fast, fun and wide forest service road. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We have many options to conclude this trail network. Often, our favorite is to drop out of the backcountry trails and onto Gold Run Nordic Center to conclude the day on a groomie zoomie. Gold Run Nordic Center opened for the season yesterday. I was hoping they felt there was enough snow to groom all the way out to our location; but, alas, no groomer yet. Oh well, it's still another fast, fun & wide trail.

Zipping along to conclude the day. Any day now, there will be enough
snow on this trail for the groomer to run and add a super fast sprint
track to our array of terrain to use on a single outing!

The trailhead where we concluded the day is KNOWN moose territory. All humans know to be wary of moose in this area. Well, if humans know moose are in the neighborhood, you BET Jack & Rudy already knew that too :)

Jack & Rudy scanning the area for moose since I am apparently taking
way too long to get the end of run treats out of my pocket.

Ok, treats out of my pocket and Jack & Rudy are quick to notice and spin around :)

"No moose nearby, so how about those treats?" asks the happy kids.

Great morning as we are finally building some snowpack to open additional trails! 8.1 miles traveled with 550 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 30 days on the trails covering 239.7 miles with 20,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, December 1, 2022

Prefer Fresh

Nice shot of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us on this morning's skijor up & down Boreas Pass.

Nice views... of Jack & Rudy :)
Nice views of Breckenridge Ski Resort too.

We started the outing early, still in the shadow of Boreas Mountain, but the sun had come out across valley to show off the ski resort on the way up as well as the way down:

More of Breckenridge Ski Resort in the sun across valley from us.

We are thrilled to report that the "winter gate" for Boreas Pass has officially been closed for the season! That means no vehicles on this trail (not even snowmobiles) until May or June. Just ski and snowshoe tracks for the next 6 months (with the occasional moose, fox, coyote, elk, etc etc track)!

We found the "up track" on Boreas completely packed and used. But, what is different is that all the previous up skiers came back down the same packed trail. I can't blame them, cross country skiing is hard if you are propelling yourself. I'd certainly reuse a set track if by myself!

But, not Jack & Rudy! The prefer shallow powder, if it exists. Unless the untouched snow is too deep, they'll tow me up the set track (getting some anti-friction help from the packed trail) and tow me down the fresh tracks side of the trail. Fun guys!

"We don't need no stinking set track!!!" demonstrates the powerful sled dogs.

It was actually a bit humorous for me to ride behind. We be laying fresh tracks on the untouched right side of the trail. Then, for some reason, the set track would drift over to the right. No problem for Jack & Rudy, once the packed trail drifts right, they just hop in and speed up. When the set track eventually drifted left again, they'd hop back into fresh tracks on the right. Come along for a short video showing you what I mean.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Arriving back at the trailhead - wheeee!

Unfortunately Nancy's camera does not do well w/out sun. 
You can see Jack & Rudy's happy smiles, but not mine.
Guess I need to grow a white beard so my smile will show up like
it does on their white faces!

A quick, but very fun run up/down Boreas this morning: 5.8 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 29 days on the trails covering 231.6 miles with 20,150 feet of elevation climbed.

 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Rudy

Rudy wants EVERYONE to know how much fun he had out on the trails today!

"WOOOO!" said with extreme enthusiasm so EVERYONE could
hear Rudy's pleasure :)

We are happy to report that the Harrison Creek Trail is officially in "in season" condition. The snowpack is wonderful with no early season obstacles anywhere! I love the following stretch of trail with the great views to our right.

Zipping along as views of the rest of Colorado below us are to
our right.

Ok, to be honest, I often miss some of the incredible views live. That's why I come home a rewatch the outing from my GoPro. Sit back in your chair (as I am now) and watch the nice views to our right coming in & out of view from the trees. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]


Our turnaround point of the outing started as follows....

"Turnaround... Roll Around!" demonstrates consistent Jack.
"Na, I'm mature today. Can we get restarted?" asks mellow Rudy.

But, as soon as Jack stood up to get restarted, Rudy got right between my skis and belted out the WOO you see in the first photo (followed by 3 more). So much for mature and mellow :)

Arriving at the trailhead and doing our usual - putting smiles on the faces of impressed onlookers...

"Hi... bye... made you smile!" says Jack & Rudy impressively running
on by the smiling snowshoer. She said, "Wow, impressive!" as we glided
on by. I responded, "Yes, whee!" Maybe I should have wooed instead.
I'll have to consult with Rudy on that one :)

End of the morning run and apparently the human was taking WAY too long to open the bag of end of run treats:

"Yawn! Could you be much slower?" asks always opinionated and
yawning Rudy.
"I'll wait patiently for you to open the bag." I get reassured by perfect Jack.

Only time for this quick/short blog today, but I told Rudy I'd pass along his WOO of pleasure: 10.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 28 days on the trails covering 225.8 miles with 19,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, November 27, 2022

West Summit

Laying fresh tracks on a trail through the trees at the West Summit of Rabbit Ears Pass!

Freshies! Whee!

We don't usually skijor the West Summit of Rabbit Ears as the trails are very short. We typically go to the East Summit where the trails are long and we can skijor for 10+ miles. But, as we approached the West Summit (from the west) this morning, the fog was ridiculously thick. You could barely see the road in front of you. So, instead of driving further to the East Summit, we got out to skijor the short trails on the West Summit. 

The fog did not really penetrate into the trees. So, that is why the first photo looks so great. But, we had a few open meadows to cross. As we approached each meadow, I had no idea where the trail was. I just left it up to Jack & Rudy (who have incredible trail tracking skills) to tow me where they saw fit. Each time we magically exited the foggy meadow at exactly where the trail was visible into the trees again. Such great partners!

Where's the trail? I have no idea where it is supposed to go across the
upcoming meadow; but Jack & Rudy navigated perfectly!

Back to the trees though. It was a wonderful morning to lay fresh tracks amidst lightly falling snow through the trees. Come along for the video evidence of what I mean. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As I said, the West Summit trails are very short. So, I had to convince Jack & Rudy to repeat our initial loop so we could get some real exercise :)

On our second pass West Summit Loop. You can see our first pass
ski tracks in front of us.

A cold, snowing and dense fog morning on Rabbit Ears. What did Jack & Rudy think of that? Well...

"Rolling snow angels to cool our jets!" demonstrates the goofballs
just before we started our second West Summit Loop.

Back to the trailhead and my pals are at full attention for end of run treats!

"Ready!" announces the focused pair.

An entertaining day doing laps on the West Summit to get some exercise and avoid traveling the road in the dense fog: 7 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 27 days on the trails covering 215.4 miles with 18,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, November 26, 2022

Trail Snack

Fun "shot from the front" as we approach Nancy to end this morning's skijor!

Happy, happy kids! Wheeee!

Today's skijor had a pretty entertaining first for us. We came across our first ever elk leg laying across the trail. It was complete with some tender, frozen meat still attached. Jack & Rudy thought this was the find of the century!!!

"Fresh frozen elk meat. Yum!" declares the two sampling their
delicious trail snack.

We have come across deer legs many times before (often with their own fresh, frozen and yummy meat). What I do is let Jack & Rudy have a little fun with the leg and then I tell them to "give" and I pick it up to toss off trail. Today's "give attempt"....

"No, I'm not finished yet!" says Jack as he tugs back on the leg.
"Hey, if you aren't going to 'give', then I'm coming back for more!" adds
Rudy (who originally listened to my 'give').

Today, I learned a very interesting fact. Elk legs are HEAVY, even when most of the meat is gone. Once I got Jack to "give", I went to toss the leg off trail like I've always done with deer legs. Well, the elk leg was shockingly heavy. My feeble toss only went a few feet off trail. Jack & Rudy quickly jumped off trail to grab the leg and pull it back into the trail to continue chewing on it.

"Ha, nice toss wimp! We weren't done, so we'll just bring it back!" says
the trail snackers hopping off to fetch the elk leg.

Ok, lesson learned. We went through another round of "give" and then I rocked back and used all my strength to toss the leg far off trail. It still didn't go that far, but far enough that Jack & Rudy couldn't just pluck it up again :)

With that exciting elk leg episode, Jack & Rudy were juiced all day long and hunting for everything as they were skijoring fast to find the next trail treat. Here's Jack pulling off trail due to some snowshoe hare tracks in the snow.

"Rabbits went this way, can we too?" suggests Jack.
You can see one set of hare tracks in the left of the photo.
I let Jack lead us off trail a little ways, but we never caught a rabbit :)

A little later and we were jogging along when Rudy lunged off trail. As he did, a gross of grouse (or a flock of feathers :) spewed out of the nearest tree. Seriously, there were at least 5 grouse that flew off due to Rudy's lunge their direction.

Look up from Rudy and slightly left against the blue sky.
The white you see is one of the grouse flying away.

What a day of trail snacks and hunting! We really did skijor too! Come along for video proof that we really did skijor between all the wildlife entertainment!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and a large group of people was preparing to get going. They all cheered at Jack & Rudy towing me and then quite a few wanted to get photos of the handsome pair. Rudy really knows what to do with an audience. He belted out a WOOOOO for the cameras and then a second (and longer) WOOOOOOO when everyone laughed and more people took out cameras to capture the woo child.

"WOOOOO! Glad to entertain you!" belts Rudy.
Quiet Jack simply flashed his beautiful smile and wagged his
bushy tail for the onlookers.

In between trail snacks & hunting: 9 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 26 days on the trails covering 208.4 miles with 18,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, November 25, 2022

Not Interested

Cool shot of Flying Jack and Hovering Rudy on the fast nordic trails this morning!

Nobody is touching the ground! Jack is flying, Rudy is hovering. Wheeee!

Today's comedy outtake features Rudy dorking with Jack and Jack clearly stating, "Not interested."

It starts as we were cruising along the trail and suddenly Rudy wanted to scream in Jack's ear and try to bait him into playing...

"I said, TAG - YOU'RE IT!" yells Rudy in Jack's ear.

Sometimes Jack falls for Rudy's bait and sometimes he rises above it to ignore the twerp. When it is the reverse, if Jack tries to bait Rudy, Rudy ALWAYS falls for it. So, it's only Jack who can rise above the antics. Today, Jack simply shrugged Rudy off and moved to the other side of the classic track on the trail to separate from the pest and keep on running.

"Not interested, I'm sliding right to avoid you." responds Jack.

Put it all together and you get today's video highlight of "Rudy the pest" and "not interested Jack". Watch at about 10 seconds into the clip and Rudy dorks with Jack (you can hear him too if your volume is up). Jack simply moves to the other side of the classic track to separate from Rudy and continues running there until he decides it is ok to re-enter the main trail with Rudy. Classic "not interested" reaction from Jack :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

When Rudy was in proper form, we were flying around the trails today!

Airborne Jack & Rudy hovering over the fast trail.

Ok, time for end of run treats. Who earned theirs today?

"I know I did!" says cool Jack.
"Huh, don't know what you are talking about, I was perfect!" replies
amnesiac Rudy.

A quick fast day out on the trails featuring "Rudy the pest" and "not interested Jack": 7.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 25 days on the trails covering 199.4 miles with 17,200 feet of elevation climbed.