Monday, October 31, 2022


It's still hunting season in Colorado, just ask Jack & Rudy :)

"Moose went this way! Can we follow & hunt it down?" asks the silly
kids standing in a set of moose tracks leading off trail.

Ok, so it is ALWAYS hunting season for Jack & Rudy :) I only mention that it is hunting season for humans in Colorado because that means we are sharing many trails with off road vehicles for the next few weeks. Yesterday morning's adventure took us skijoring on the Harrison Creek Trail atop Rabbit Ears Pass. Here's what I mean by "sharing the trails"...

A packed trail of off road vehicle tire tracks. But also very nice
middle powder to put my ski in if the tracks get too icy.

The further we went, though, the fewer vehicle tracks we encountered. Here we are in a solo ATV track at our highest elevation of the morning:

Nice views, nice "October snow" - wheeee!

But, of course, the reverse also holds. Close to the trailhead and there was lots of trail carnage from lots of vehicular traffic. Yuck...

Guess we'll drift to the left to glide on by this vehicular mess
in the middle of the trail! Jack & Rudy are such great partners!

Now for a little video fun from the morning. Here we are cruising along the Harrison Creek Trail. When the conditions are sketchy, Jack & Rudy slow to a gentle trot and weave through obstacles. When the conditions are good, the kids floor and off we go. They do all this without a single verbal command from me. They really understand how to keep the human upright so we can keep on going :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Another fun outing, another team celebration at the trailhead :)

"You have my full attention!" says happy Jack.
"Aren't I adorable???" asks cutie Rudy.

6.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 6 days on the trails covering 37.0 miles with 3250 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, October 29, 2022


Jack & Rudy catching air on a groomed trail. Yes, groomed trail in October!!!!

The hover huskies catching air along a beautiful stretch of
groomed trail in October!!!

After a week of good snowfall, the Breckenridge Nordic Center took their groomer out to pack & preserve the snow on their upper elevation trails. While the nordic center is not actually open for the season yet, it was so cool to stumble upon their unannounced groom of the upper trails. Sure there were the occasional obstacles to slow and navigate around; but we did find one roughly 2 mile stretch that was near perfect. We had so much fun that we redid that 2 mile segment 3 times!

Come along for a video look into a portion of this great (for October) 2 mile stretch. Love how Jack & Rudy "floor it" when the trail is perfect but also back off the accelerator when it is not and I have to avoid obstacles for the skis. Great teammates!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, redoing a stretch of trail meant we had multiple turnaround events. Jack was his usual "turnaround, roll around" goof each time. Rudy, on the other hand, was into wooing today instead of rolling snow angels. You never know what you are going to get from Rudy :)

"Turnaround.... Roll around!" demonstrates always snow rolling Jack.
"Woooing today!" announces Rudy the Woo.

Our first pass along this segment and Jack snapped his attention to our right at one point. I know this look from Jack, it means he has got the "scent of moose" and is scanning the trees for the big smelly. Needless to say, I was on high alert after Jack's alarm. But, we never saw any moose...

It may not look like much; but it was clear as day to me behind Jack that
he has snapped his attention to our right and lifted his nose to take in
all the "scent of moose" in the neighborhood!

Sure enough, a short distance from the prior photo and Jack & Rudy pulled left to show me the moose tracks leading off the trail and into the trees.

"Sniff, sniff, moose went this way!" declares the moose seekers.

Finally, celebrating a surprise groomie zoomie in October with end of run treats at the trailhead!

"You have our full attention!" declares the focused kids.

What an October surprise this morning! 8.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH!!!

2022/2023 Season to Date: 5 days on the trails covering 30.8 miles with 2750 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Breaking Trail

Jack & Rudy breaking trail in 12+ inches of fresh powder in October!!! Woo Hoo!

Impressive kids blasting through the powder as they tow me along!

I had been watching the "snow stake" from Breckenridge Ski Resort the last few days and its daily totals summed up to well over a 1.5 feet of snow! So, we headed out to the summer hike/bike trails on Peak 7 this morning. These trails are next to the ski resort (which is not open for the season yet), so I was hoping we could be in some of this 18+ inches of snow that has been on the snow stake the past few days. Well, as you see in the first photo - success!!! A little further along and Jack & Rudy have switched sides, but same result - powder plowing!

The impressive kids powering through more deep powder.

I love watching Jack & Rudy plow through powder in slow motion. At this speed, you can really get a feet for how hard they are working and how powerful they are. Come along for the slomo powder video!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Technically, the trails we were on will become groomed terrain for Breckenridge Nordic Center once it opens for the season. So, we got to visit the various warming huts along the way. Goofy Jack loves to roll snow angels at the warming huts :)

"This my idea of 'warming'!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Can we get going yet?" asks Rudy.
Rudy is standing in a semi-packed footpath to the hut, so it only looks
like 5-6 inches of snow here; but it was 12+ once he stepped out of the
semi-packed path.

After a day of breaking trail, everyone really appreciated the end of run treats!

"Dish them out!" says happy Jack.
"Are you going stop talking and hand them out YET?" asks Rudy.

A very aerobic day in deep powder. What an October treat: 5.5 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 14 MPH (you try running through 12+ inches of snow :)

2022/2023 Season to Date: 4 days on the trails covering 22.6 miles with 2050 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022


Notice anything new (compared to the last two days) in the photo below?

We're off the dog sled and I'm on skis!!!! Wheee!

Yep, this morning was our first true skijor outing of the season. After using the dog sled due to very thin snow conditions the last two days, we were able to drop the sled and put the human on skis today! While the dog sled is fun, it is a lot of work on the whole team with just two sled dogs but two sled dogs and skis is a blast, we can go so far & fast!

We returned to our early season "go to" of Boreas Pass again today. It was snowing all morning long, so we waited as long as we could before getting out on Boreas. Oh boy, were we thrilled to take out the skis instead of the dog sled!

The skis, the skis - wheeee!

Come along for a quick video highlight of the wonderful outing. Jack & Rudy were thrilled to have me on skis so we could open up the skijoring throttle.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Our first two outings of the season had "turnaround woos" from Rudy. Jack, on the other hand did his patented "turnaround, roll around" snow angel on yesterday's outing (he did not the first outing as our turnaround was at bare, wind-blown Boreas summit). I was wondering if Rudy was going to switch to "turnaround, woo-around" as his new thing this season. Nope, he was just waiting for "proper" snow. The "turnaround, roll around" twins were back in top form today:

Turnaround..... Roll around. Snow angel goofs :)

What a fun outing, look at these happy, happy boys as we coast the the finish of the morning's outing!

"Whee!" says the happy, happy kids!

A great early season run with the skis on Boreas Pass: 6.2 miles traveled with 650 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 3 days on the trails covering 17.1 miles with 1450 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Boreas Again

Celebrating another fun dog sled run up & down Boreas Pass with end of run treats!!!

"Yum, yum - hand them out!!!!" says my super focused partners :)

There is still not enough snow for skis; but were able to return to Boreas Pass again this morning with the dog sled. Temperatures yesterday never got above 22 F and the day was cloudy with occasional snow showers. So, Boreas remained frozen and a bit of new snow was added to the trail. Yesterday we sledded to the summit and were shocked to see how wind blown and bare the trail was. So, today we decided to stay below treeline in hopes of a little better trail coverage.

The result? Some really nice stretches of "enough snow for me to ride the sled" behind Jack & Rudy!

Cruising Jack & Rudy's speed - whee!
Notice the nice footprints behind Jack. I put one runner of the sled in
this nice terrain behind him and had both feet on that runner to glide along.

But, as we go to lower elevations of Boreas, the cover was very thin! Frozen enough for Jack & Rudy to pull the sled but too thin for me to be on the sled too. I have an additional gangline attached from my waist to the sled. When the cover is this thin, I have to get off the sled and jog/run along. But, this means the entire team is limited by my speed. Slow human!

Cruising my speed - merely a trot for Jack & Rudy :)
Nice shot of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley.

I didn't mention it yesterday, but Jack kept his lifelong streak going then and into today. He has rolled at least on snow angel on EVERY skijor/sled outing of his life. He's now at 644 straight snow angel outings. He so LOVES to roll in the snow!

"Haha, hehe, love snow angels!" demonstrates goofy Jack.

Rudy? Well, he often rolls snow angels too but today he decided it was woo time at our turnaround point instead of snow angel time. Always wooing Rudy!

"Woo! You expected me to say something else?" woos Rudy.

Another short & fun dog sed run on Boreas as we wait for the snow to collect for real skijor outings... 5.5 miles traveled with 200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 2 days on the trails covering 10.9 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Season Opener

Opening the 2022/2023 Skijoring Season with a trip to the summit of Boreas Pass!

Happy Jack flashing his beautiful smile at the summit of Boreas.
Happy Rudy swooshing his tail in approvement :)

We have been "climbing the walls" this October waiting for mother nature to give us snow to start the season. We've been lucky to start the season in September a few years; but have ALWAYS started by this time in October for the last 12 years. Temperatures have been plenty cold overnight, we just have not had any moisture. Well, Sunday FINALLY brought some snow to Colorado. The forecast was for at least 6 inches and upwards of 18 inches in places. Well, that did not happen and the storm only delivered a few inches in most places. But, we were determined to get out and start the season.

We drove partway up Boreas Pass (it is open to vehicles through October and then closes for skiing and snowshoeing) hoping for some good snow as we got up in elevation. Yet, the best we found was a few inches. This is not enough snow to ski on safely but it is enough to use the dog sled. The sled can run over frozen & exposed ground whereas skis need a good snow base. Here's a photo of some of the best conditions we found:

Jack & Rudy towing the dog sled along a nice stretch of snow.

Unfortunately, the prior photo was the exception to the outing. We kept encountering stretches of frozen ground but wind blown void of snow! Yuck! Anyway, Jack & Rudy can pull the sled just fine over frozen ground but I have to get off the sled and run with them (my weight on the sled is too much on frozen ground). So, I got quite the workout today running behind my pals!

Approaching the summit of Boreas Pass. What a wind-blown mess!!!!!

Despite very hazardous conditions, the kids still had a blast. Towing a sled over frozen ground is better than summer :)

"Yep, we approve!" says happy Jack.
"Yes we doooooo!" adds always wooing Rudy.

On reaching the summit, I pulled a bag of Zorro's ashes out to sprinkle on the ground. Zorro, of course, had been to the summit many, many times over his long skijoring career. I started sprinkling his ashes and said his name. Upon hearing his name, Jack & Rudy snapped to attention and wanted to know why I was using their beloved mentor's name. They then watched intensely as I sprinkled some ashes.

Zorro!!!!! I have a small bag of some of his ashes coming from my
right hand as Jack & Rudy watch closely.

We'll end today's post reliving Zorro's last trip to the summit of Boreas Pass on October 9, 2018. His first trip to the summit was in the fall of 2010!

October 9th, 2018: Zorro training young Jack to skijor as we reached
the summit (Rudy was too young to make it this far yet :)

Well, it wasn't the prettiest of outings with tons of wind-blown exposed ground and having to use the sled instead of skis; but we FINALLY got the 2022/2023 season started! 5.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 14 MPH.

Pray for Snow, we need so much more!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Summer of Water

What did we do to pass time this summer as we wait for snow to return?

How about a Summer of Water?!?

"Woo! I approoooovve!" states wooing Rudy in West Tenmile Creek
flowing through Copper Mountain Ski Resort.
"I might not be a water loon, but I enjoy dipping my toes too!" adds happy Jack.

With the passing of Zorro, we found ourselves lonely and missing the wonderful old man at home. So, to distract ourselves while waiting for snow to return, we decided to tour Colorado this summer and touch as many waters as we could. Rudy LOVES to wade deep into cold water during the summer and he has earned the summer nickname of River Rat Red for his passion for getting in water. Jack, while not as crazed as Rudy about water, also loves to dip his toes in cool, cool water in the summer. So, with a River Rat Red and Toe Dipping Jack, we decided to tour around Colorado and touch as many named entities of water as we could reach. We primarily visited other "ski towns" with a few cities added into the mix. We would get to a new town and then walk/hike to as many waters as we could reach. Some were quickly accessible flowing through parks while others required 1-2 hour hikes to visit and touch. Regardless of the effort needed for each water entity, Rudy loved to douse himself in each and Jack loved to cool his toes as well. What a fun way to make the long summer go by quickly :)

What did we end up accomplishing? Well, we touched 155, yes one hundred and fifty five, different named water entities. Wow! When we started the summer saying, "let's touch as much water as we can," Nancy & I assumed we'd touch maybe 40 or 50 entities. Quickly into the summer and we adjusted our expectation to 75. Quickly after that, we said, "Wow, we might hit 100!" Then, soon after that it was, "125 looks to be in reach!" Finally it was, "WOW, we are going to top 150!"

Here is the list of each water entity we immersed ourselves into grouped into 4 categories:

(1) Rivers: Animas River, Arkansas River, Blue River, Colorado River, East River, Elk River, Fraser River, Gunnison River, La Plata River, Los Pinos River, Mancos River, Piedra River, Rio Grande, Rio de Flag, San Juan River, San Miguel River, Slate River, Snake River, South Arkansas River, Swan River, Taylor River, Uncompahgre River, Yampa River.

(2) Bodies (lakes, reservoirs, ponds, pools): Casey's Pond, Columbine Lake, Dumont Lake, Fetcher Pond, Frances Short Pond, Georgetown Lake, Grand Lake, Green Mountain Reservoir, Huck Finn Pond, Lake Catamount, Lake Dillon, Lake Granby, Lake Grant, Lower Crystal Lake, Maggie Pond, Monarch Lake, Muddy Pass Lake, North Lions Pond, North Pond, Peanut Lake, Sawmill Reservoir, Seven Sacred Pools, Shadow Mountain Lake, South Lions Pond, Taylor Park Reservoir, Telemark Pond, Willow Creek Reservoir, Wolford Mountain Reservoir.

(3) Creeks: Agate Creek, Arapaho Creek, Beaver Creek, Big Creek, Boulder Creek, Bridal Veil Creek, Brush Creek, Buck Creek, Burgess Creek, Burro Creek, Butcher Creek, Clear Creek, Coal Creek, Cooper Creek, Cornet Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Crested Butte Pass Creek, Crystal Creek, Cub Creek, Cucumber Creek, Denny Creek, Elk Creek, Fish Creek, French Creek, Hamilton Creek, Hoop Creek, Illinois Creek, Indiana Creek, Jim Creek, Junction Creek, Lakewood Bear Creek, Leland Creek, Lightner Creek, Little Columbine Creek, Little Vasquez Creek, Lottis Creek, Mad Creek, Marshall Creek, Mary Jane Creek, McCabe Creek, McKinnis Creek, Middle Cottonwood Creek, Miner's Creek, Monte Cristo Creek, Muddy Creek, North Tenmile Creek, Oak Creek, Oh-be-joyful Creek, Priest Creek, Quayle Creek, Ranch Creek, Saint Louis Creek, Sawmill Creek, Second Creek, Soda Creek, Spring Creek, Spruce Creek, Steamboat Bear Creek, Straight Creek, Telluride Bear Creek, Tenmile Creek, Tonahutu Creek, Trout Creek, Turkey Creek, Vasquez Creek, Walton Creek, West Tenmile Creek, Wet Beaver Creek, Wildcat Creek, Willow Creek, Wolf Creek.

(4) The Rest (falls, forks, streams, ditches, washes, gulches, inlets): Barton Ditch, Bear Creek Falls, Berthoud Cascade Falls, Boreas Ditch, Boynton Wash, Bridal Veil Falls, Burgess Ditch, Cathedral Stream, Coors Falls, Cornet Falls, East Inlet to Grand Lake, Fish Creek Falls, HT Wash, Horse Gulch, Indiana Ditch, Lake Fork, Medicine Spring, Middle Fork Ranch Creek, Middle Fork South Platte River, North Fork Fish Creek, North Fork Ranch Creek, North Inlet to Grand Lake, Pagosa Spring, Roaring Fork Arapaho Creek, Sinclair Wash, Soldier Wash, South Fork Mad Creek, South Fork Pass Creek, South Fork Ranch Creek, South Fork Rio Grande, Templeton Wash, West Fork Clear Creek, Wildcat Ditch.

Jack, Rudy & I on a rock in glacial (i.e, cold :) Lower Crystal Lake.

The most comical story from the summer was the visit to Grand Lake, the deepest naturally occurring lake in Colorado. Up to this point, our water events had primarily been rivers, creeks and other shallow flowing water entities. But, Grand Lake proved to be a grand event :) We started going into the lake until Jack & Rudy got about chest deep (I was in swimsuit ready to participate). Once that deep, Jack said, "Deep enough for me," which we totally expected. So, I handed Jack back to Nancy on the shoreline and Rudy & I turned to go deep! Before this, Rudy had only swum for very short distances (a couple feet) in deep rivers or creeks. But, as we reached "deeper than Rudy" water in Grand Lake, Rudy simply looked at me with a happy smile and we both started dog paddling deeper and deeper. What a swimming natural. 

Shortly after Grand Lake, we were visiting North Fork Fish Creek and came upon a very deep water entry from a large rock. Before Grand Lake, Rudy would have cautiously descended from the rocks into the deep creek. After Grand Lake, Rudy simply looked at the deep water and proclaimed, "I can swin! Cowabunga! Cannonball Red!' Rudy then jumped and did a classic cannonball into the deep water. He almost pulled Jack & I off the rock with him (it was that far of a jump) - what a loon!

What was our favorited named water entity? Well, that had to be Oh-be-joyful Creek near Crested Butte. How can you say "oh be joyful" without cracking a smile on your face :)

Smiling Jack & Rudy in Oh-be-joyful Creek near Crested Butte.

As for me, I loved all the waterfalls we encountered during the summer. As for Rudy, he LOVED standing in the waterfall spray. As for Jack, he loved dipping his toes at the edge of the falls and keeping us all safe from going in too deep!

Happy Rudy in the spray from Bridal Veil Falls
near Telluride.

Cool shot of Coors Falls near Berthoud Pass.
Rudy taking in the cool spray and Jack starting to
turnaround so we don't go too deep and get caught
in the waterfall flow :)

Beautiful shot of the impressive Bear Creek Falls near Telluride.

We also tracked our water visits by the nearest locale for each entity. While the vast majority were in Colorado, we did take one trip into Arizona and touched water in the Sedona to Flagstaff corridor. I expected to touch 3 waters in Arizona: Rio de Flag, Oak Creek and Wet Beaver Creek. But, it turns out it was a very wet monsoon season in northern Arizona and, as a result, we found ourselves touching 12 water entities on this journey into Arizona! Wow! My favorite on this stretch were the Seven Sacred Pools near mystic Sedona. So fun to find the 7 pools filled in early October!

Back to the water locales. We had 143 water entities in Colorado and 12 in Arizona. Here's a cool histogram of the different locales we ventured to and the number of water entities touched at each:

  1. Steamboat Springs: 20.
  2. Winter Park: 18.
  3. Breckenridge: 17.
  4. Crested Butte/Gunnison: 14.
  5. Sedona/Flagstaff (Arizona): 12.
  6. Telluride: 9.
  7. Durango: 8.
  8. Dillon/Silverthorne/Keystone: 8.
  9. Berthoud Pass to Loveland Pass: 8.
  10. Grand Lake: 7.
  11. Buena Vista: 7.
  12. Pagosa Springs: 5.
  13. Granby: 5.
  14. Frisco/Copper: 4.
  15. Rabbit Ears Pass: 4.
  16. South Fork: 4.
  17. Hot Sulphur Springs/Kremmling: 3.
  18. Montrose: 1.
  19. Lakewood: 1.

A summer of water with our toes in 155 different named water entities. Jack & Rudy sure know how to make the most out of any & every endeavor!

"Give us a challenge and we'll exceed expectations!" declares proud Jack.
"Woooo! I can top any & all expectations!' announces wooing River Rat Red.
Nice shot of Lake Grant near Crested Butte behind us.

That's a wrap. Our summer of water with 155 targets is in the books. Snow is starting to appear on the high mountain peaks in Colorado and we'll be skijoring again very, very soon! Stay tuned and....

Pray for Snow!