Thursday, March 30, 2023


NOT what you want to see in the middle of the trail after rounding a corner at 20+ MPH!

 MOOSE! Yes, it's hard to see in this shot, but I wanted to show how hard I'm
driving left ski and right pole into the trail to try and come to a stop. The light
brown you see ahead in the middle of the trail are the bottom of the moose's
legs (better photos below once I got stopped :)

This was moments before the moose encounter. We alway take this corner at the nordic center fast, little did I know what we'd find around the corner!

Innocently zooming as usual, so I thought.

Okay, now I've got Jack & Rudy stopped. Here's the moose...

Dead ahead of Jack. 

Such deceivingly camouflaged creatures... Here's as zoomed as I can get in the prior photo without it getting too blurry:


This was a juvenile moose. I started backing Jack & Rudy up and it started to come our way! So, I stopped for what seemed like forever and the moose stopped too. Rudy was, of course, screaming at the moose; but it just stood there. I tried to backup a second time and it came forward again! So, we just stood there for a while (okay, I stood, Rudy screamed and Jack kept trying to lunge forward). I've seen juvenile moose alone before when the mother is trying to wean them off being dependent. In the past, the mother had always been nearby, just trying to let the kid mature on its own. But, after Rudy screams, the mother usually shows up quickly - not today, though! I was starting to worry this was an orphan moose and was worried that it kept coming forward whenever I tried to back up. Well, FINALLY the mother showed up! I guess she decided the kid needed some advice on how to deal with Rudy screams (don't we all need advice on Rudy ;) The mother and kid started to go the other direction, yay! Once they got out of sight, I proceeded forward cautiously with Jack & Rudy until just around the bend in the trail and they were stopped again. This time Rudy screamed and the mother took a step forward. That was ENOUGH, I collected Jack & Rudy and retreated the other direction!

Hard to see the mom & kid; but this was as close as I was going to get!

A little context on the section of trail. We were at Gold Run Nordic Center and you can consider the nordic center as consisting of two independent networks of trails connected by a single trail. Just behind us was the upper network which would have given us lots of trail options to get around the moose. Just behind the moose was the lower network which could again have given us lots of trail options to get around the moose. But, we were in the single connector with no options but to use this trail. Anyway, we retreated for about 20 minutes before attempting to come back through this "only option" stretch of trail...

So, come along for today's video with some "cautious skijoring" from me as I scan the trail for moose. At about 20 seconds into the clip, you'll see all my "ski marks" from when I had to stop and reverse Jack & Rudy when the encounter happened. About 32 seconds in and all you see are moose tracks on the trail (we had turned around before here) - notice Jack & Rudy inspecting the tracks as as we go. About 44 seconds in and the tracks disappear - yay, the moose left the trail! Then around a corner and there's another skier coming up trail so we know the moose are clear and off we go.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Safely back to the trailhead and let's climb snow walls for end of run treats :)

"That was fun, but why did we retreat?" asks the happy kids.

We had a great 10ish mile skijor on groomed trails then an interesting 2 mile addition while we waited for the moose to leave: 12 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 122 days on the trails covering 1084.8 miles with 98,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, March 29, 2023


What is that ahead of us in the middle of the trail (where I've placed a red arrow)?

Yikes! That is a coyote in the middle of the trail!
Note Jack & Rudy have noticed the coyote too! Eek!

No, I do not have a better picture of the coyote. I put on the brakes as soon as I saw it and turned us around (with some complaints from my pals :) Only 4 things scare me on the trails and cause us to abort the path we are going: moose, coyote, mountain lion and bear. Nicely, bears are hibernating most of the skijor season; but we have encountered bear tracks often in April & May as they are waking up. But, luckily, we've never had an actual bear sighting on the trails. We've seen mountain lion tracks only once (phew) and never an actual lion itself (double phew). We encounter moose frequently; but these are the least scary of the scary animals - moose want nothing to do with humans (or dogs) and they are not a danger if you simply keep your distance. Coyotes, well they bother me! So, it was abort this trail and turn around as soon as I realized this was a coyote on the trail ahead of us!

Before the coyote, we found ourselves on a wonderful, recently groomed trail along the shores of Dumont Lake. Jack & Rudy know what to do with a groomed trail: pedal to the metal and catch some air:

The hover huskies catching air. Wheeee!

Notice anything different about the following photo? Well, we are skijoring on the left hand side of the wide trail. Normally, we skijor the "right side of the road" on wide, multi-use trails as basic rules of the road apply to snow as well. But, today the left side was a pristine corduroy groom while the right side was snowmobile tracks. Who wouldn't ski a corduroy over a snowmobile track if you have the chance? Note that this is a wide open stretch of trail and I would be able to see any snowmobile well in advance and move back to the right side of the road :)

Riding the left side of the road. Rebels :)

Come along for today's video counterpart to the prior photo. We start out on the right; but once I see the "left corduroy" I only need to say "over the the left" for Jack & Rudy to slide over with me. We drift left twice (both times I ask) and then eventually drift back to the right side of the road once the corduroy appears over there as well. Great listening from my perfect partners and great understanding to automatically drift back to the right when the conditions warrant it!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

With our initial planned route aborted due to a coyote encounter, what to do now? I know, let's go skijor over Dumont Lake! The lake is, of course, frozen in the winter. A couple of times a year, I'll route us onto the lake when I see fresh/recent snowmobile tracks crossing the lake too. The total weight of our combined team is only about 250 pounds; if the ice can hold a snowmobile, it can hold us!

We skijored out to the middle of the lake before turning around to come back the same way. Did I say "turn around"? You bet...

Our first ever "snow angels on a frozen lake" from the goofballs.

Done rolling snow angels and time to really turn around. Fun shot of us cruising over a frozen lake:

No trees anywhere near us because we are on frozen Dumont Lake! Wheeee!

Finally, back to the trailhead with my fun pals:

"Ready for end of run treats!" declares my cute little pals!

Some nice wide, partially groomed trail skijoring and then a trip over the lake after the coyote abort: 8.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 121 days on the trails covering 1072.8 miles with 97,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Track Follow

Fun shot from the front as the happy kids tow me to the finish of this morning's skijor outing!

Smiles all around from the fun sled dogs (I'm sure I was smiling too,
you just can't tell :)

We started this morning's skijor on the Walton Peak Trail at Rabbit Ears Pass. My original plan was for us to skijor out & back on this wide, frequently used trail. But, a little ways into the outing and I got the vibe from Jack & Rudy that they wanted to go exploring. After a super fun day on new trails yesterday, the kids wanted another day of new explorations. The Walton Peak Trail did not offer this as we have skijored this trail a lot over the years. So, what to do? Well, we came upon a solo snowmobile track leaving the main trail and going off into the distance. I directed Jack & Rudy left onto this track and off we went!

We just turned off trail onto this solo snowmobile track.
Look at the ears & heads up as the kids were very excited to abandon set
trails and go exploring!

This snowmobile track went on for miles and miles, taking us places we've never been before. Jack & Rudy were in a real groove going exploring! Come along for today's video highlight showing us galloping along a "trail to who knows where" :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Eventually I had to turn us around as I had no idea where this snowmobile track was going to lead us. No problem for Jack & Rudy, they just swapped positions and we continued galloping back the way we came. Fun kids.

On the return. What a fun path less traveled.

Once we got back to the main trail, it was time to roll snow angels and cool off from physical and mental explorations :)

"That was fun, but we've got to 'stop, drop & roll' now!" declares the
snow rolling sillies.

Of course we had to use the main trail to get back to the trailhead as I had no idea where that snowmobiler was going. After miles of off trail exploration, the kids welcomed the main trail to zoom back to the trailhead.

"Thanks for the exploring dad, now we'll floor it back!" goes the fast
running fun kids.

Finally, you guessed it, the kids climbing a snow wall for end of run treats as has become their new game to end almost every outing. 

"Just making it easy for you to hand them out!" declares the polite pair
coming up to my level for end of run treats.

A very exploratory outing: 9.6 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 120 days on the trails covering 1064.4 miles with 97,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Powder Play

Boo to the camera operator (me) for  blurred footage on what was an INCREDIBLE skijor this morning  :(

Oops, unknown to me, the camera was covered in water smudges
and ice to start our outing. But, look closely and you can make out the
deep powder Jack & Rudy are plowing through!

We had a unique and really fun outing this morning. We started from the Dry Lake Trailhead to skijor up and down Buffalo Pass Road. The beginning of this route is shared by skiers, snowmobiles and snowcats. Jack & Rudy love flirting with the snowcats (who are transporting backcountry skiers to deep powder on Buffalo Pass). This is a steep route, so we can only keep pace with the snowcats for short distances, but we certainly hold our own :)

Still blurry, sorry... Jack & Rudy chasing the snowcat and entertaining
the occupants taking pictures of us out the back window.

So, the first 1.5 miles or so is shared by skiers, snowcats and snowmobiles. But, at the 1.5 mile point, the snowcat (and most snowmobiles) turn left for an incredibly steep climb up Buffalo Pass. It is too steep for us to skijor (well, we could, but I'd have to help :) So, we always continue going straight to skijor along what is the summer road which switchbacks up Buffalo Pass. Today was the first time we've ever been on this route in deep snow (we only do it a handful of times a year). On all past outings we have gone up, up, up Buffalo Pass and then sprinted back down. 

Today, I got the great idea to change it up with all the fresh powder. There is a network of trails known as Spring Creek that intersect the Buffalo Pass Road. We've never skijored this side trails as they are pretty steep in areas. But, today, with fresh powder, we had our first ever skijor on the Spring Creek network of trails. What fun!

I have great news too. I fell once!!!! Normally a fall is not to be celebrated. But, I do know to wipe my camera clear after any fall. So, we have clear footage for the last 1/3 of our outing. Yay! Don't worry, it was just a minor slip in soft powder. But it caused me to clear the camera.

Here is today's powder highlight of impressive Jack & Rudy:

Powder Plows! POW!

What great shots I got from the last 1/3, just imagine what I would have had from the entire outing! Here we are hopping through powder on another one of the Spring Creek trails. Wheeee!

Breaking trail! Wheeee!

Now come along for today's video highlight. We start with some impressive powder plowing by Jack & Rudy. Then, I almost lose it at a trail junction due to bumpy terrain hidden by the fresh snow. Still upright after the near debacle and Jack & Rudy decide to put me in our "out tracks" to continue on with the clumsy human :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After a wonderful powder day, it was time to return to the trailhead. Back to the shared 1.5 miles near the trailhead and time to floor it in fresh snowcat and snowmobile tracks.


Finally, here it is again, the silly kids climbing a snow wall at the trailhead to get end of run treats from the standing human. I guess after one fall and one near fall, they didn't trust me to kneel down with the treats :)

"We'll come up to you, you big klutz!" declares the happy kids.

What a unique and fun powder day on some new trails: 8.6 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 119 days on the trails covering 1054.8 miles with 96,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

This to That

Oops!!!! :)

"I triple dog dare you to play back!" Rudy challenges to Jack.
"Cannot turn down a 'triple dog dare'!" responds Jack.
Oh sweet, mellow Jack, you fell for wild Rudy's antics :)

Unauthorized trail play from the kids aside, we had a very entertaining skijor at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. We started with the intent of going out/back the Buffalo Park Trail. While the trail looked well used at the trailhead, we were surprised to find all signs of trail disappeared quickly and only solo snowmobile tracks going every which direction remained. A TON of snow has fallen on Rabbit Ears the past week which explains why the actual trail was missing and only random snowmobile tracks existed!

Following a snowmobile track through this vast meadow.
The actual Buffalo Park Trail is far to our left but buried and unseeable
under feet of snow!

While skijoring in snowmobile tracks is no problem, I did not like that the tracks were no where near the actual trail. We then found a track leading us away from Buffalo Park and towards the Harrison Creek Trail. I redirected us this way to use the track to get to Harrison Creek. I could see the track went far, so, even if it eventually turned, we'd be able to break trail and complete our reroute to Harrison Creek.

The Harrison Creek Trail gets a lot of snowmobile traffic, so my goal was simply to get on more established trails instead of the haphazard tracks in Buffalo Park. What did find? Holy moly, Harrison Creek had been freshly groomed! We were first tracks on a groomie zoomie for the rest of the outing! Sweet!

First tracks on the fresh groom. What a surprise find!

For all our skijor outings I have a "default plan" which I share with Nancy so she knows where & when to pick us up. But, occasionally, I change the plan and send her a text to report the new plan and wait for her reply to know she got the text. Well, once we found the fresh groom on Harrison Creek, I stopped to text her a new plan as we had to use the fresh groomie zoomie. Some little red boy was less than impressed with the speed of texting technology :)

"WOOOOO! Come on, let's GOOOO!" booms impatient Rudy.
"I'm ok waiting until we confirm our new plan." declares cool, happy Jack.

It was well worth that "forever slow text exchange" to make use of the fresh groom. Come along for a glimpse into the fun. We start out gliding along a freshly groomed flat trail. Then, eventually, the trail takes a downward angle and ZOOM go Jack & Rudy knowing they have gravity's help to propel the human along :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead for end of run treats and, yep, you guessed it, the kids found a snow wall to climb to elevated treats!

"We'll climb so you can hand them out faster!" says the fun kids.
Apparently I am slow at kneeling when I have to come to their level,
so they've fixed the glitch :)

From haphazard snowmobile tracks to a groomie zoomie. What a "from this to that" outing! 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 118 days on the trails covering 1046.2 miles with 95,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Fresh to First

Starting the morning laying fresh tracks in a light layer of new snow in the backcountry. Wheeee!

Just enough new snow to safely open the skijoring throttle
on single track backcountry trails!

After starting the day touring backcountry trails, we dropped into Gold Run Nordic Center to enjoy some groomed trails too. The plan was to do two laps on the upper nordic loop and then finish on the main nordic trail to the trailhead. We were peacefully gliding along lap 1 when the kids' moose alarms went off!

"Moose went THIS WAY!" declares the moose inspectors.
Rudy is standing in a moose trough from long moose legs.
Jack is following the moose trail into the trees.

Despite some very excited sniffing and looking from Jack & Rudy, we failed to spot the moose. But I knew it was nearby given their intensity!

If you cannot find the moose, you might as well make use of being first tracks on the recently groomed nordic trail! Come along for today's video highlight as we are first tracks on the groomie zoomie and topped 24 MPH skijoring along this fast stretch of trail.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Here's a fun action shot take from the prior video clip:

Fast running cannonball Jack & missile Rudy!

As I mentioned, the plan was to do 2 laps on the upper nordic loop. As we completed the first lap, Jack & Rudy insisted on a "stop, drop and roll" event to cool off before lap number 2 :)

"Wait, we need to roll and cool the jets before lap #2!" declares the snow
rolling sillies. The center of this photo above Jack & Rudy shows the backcountry
trail we used to enter the nordic center to begin our two upper loops.

Snow angels done, time for lap #2. As they typically do, Jack & Rudy swapped sides for the second pass. It's a different trail (or at least a different feel) being on one side versus the other each pass :)

Roughly the same location as the action shot above from lap 1 with the
kids swapped positions to enjoy lap 2.

Finally, once done with the two upper loops and it was on to the main trail where they kids almost always catch some air:

Zooming & catching air!

Back to the trailhead and the kids' new activity this season: find a snow wall to climb to get end of run treats from me in a standing position.

Not the highest snow wall they've scaled this season, but still high enough
for me to stand and hand out treats.

Fresh tracks in the backcountry to first tracks on the nordic center, fun day: 9.0 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 117 days on the trails covering 1037.8 miles with 94,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Fresh to Cat Tracks

What a beautiful "just after sunrise" shot of Jack & Rudy at Vail Pass this morning!

Catching air as we lay fresh tracks in an inch or so of fresh snow! 
What a great shot! :)

We skijored Wilder Gulch at Vail Pass this morning. As you see above, we started the day laying fresh tracks in a light layer of fresh snow. But, Vail Pass is very popular for both snowmobiles and snowcats that transport skiers to backcountry powder caches. Partway into our skijor to and up Ptarmigan Peak, we came across a snowcat transporting skiers to Ptarmigan Peak as well. We paused to let the snowcat go in front of us. I love this particular snowcat as it always cracks me up when we meet it...

"Cool paint job!" says impressed Jack.
I love this Scooby Doo themed snowcat!
Rudy was impressed too, he's just at my side watching the cat so not
in view of the camera.

But, letting the snowcat pass means Jack & Rudy get to play chase. They want to catch anything in front of them and they were very impatient waiting for me to give them "the release" so we could start the chase :)

"You don't pass us and get away with it!" declares the 'must catch anything
in front of us' brothers.

The final climb on Ptarmigan Peak to what is known as Ptarmigan Pass is very steep. As a result, the snowcat eventually outran us on steep, steep terrain. Today's "view shot" is us starting back down Ptarmigan after a very aerobic climb. Jack & Rudy really took off to enjoy the fast down after their hard work climb :)

Pretty views, zooming kids. Wheeee!

Once we turned around, we got to enjoy the fresh & soft snowcat tracks to run in. A couple of snowmobiles had also come up the same way. So today's video highlight is having a great time skijoring in soft/fresh snowmobile and snowcat tracks in Wilder Gulch. Come along and watch Jack & Rudy having a great time running and towing me in the soft tracks. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The turnaround guarantee: Jack will roll snow angels. The turnaround question of the day, will Rudy woo or roll angels? Angels won today!

"Ah, rub a dub dub!" goes the silly snow rolling kids.
The Scooby snowcat had turned right to Ptarmigan Peak while we continued
straight for a little ways longer. Thus, the kids got to roll snow angels in fresh
snow instead of in snowcat tracks (as they would prefer :)

The other guarantee of the day at Vail Pass? Well Jack & Rudy will climb the snow wall in the parking lot to get end of run treats from me in a standing position. This is their new trick this season. Silly kids :)

Nice that I can stand and hand out treats (instead of kneeling) as Jack & Rudy
prop themselves on a high snow wall.

A really beautiful morning with tons of fun action for Jack & Rudy: 9.6 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 116 days on the trails covering 1028.8 miles and 93,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Caution, Go

Cruising by the historic Sallie Barber Mine on this wonderful, snowy March morning!

Zooming on by the old mine.

We start today's blog with a great video clip showing Jack & Rudy's "understanding of the trail". We are at the beginning of our skijor on the Sallie Barber Mine Trail and we have to pass through a narrow gate opening before really starting the run. Come along and watch as Jack & Rudy understand the human on skis needs to get through this narrow gate opening BEFORE we all can start running hard. This takes a lot of composure from the great kids as they so want to RUN at the start of every outing, but understand they need to get me through the opening first. :) Oh, nice active snowfall in this clip too!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

This morning's skijor was what has become our usual at Sallie Barber Mine this season. We skijor up the frontside, down the backside, up the backside and finally down the frontside. With a shallow layer of fresh snow, we were able to safely open the skijoring throttle on all sides of the mine.

It was zooming on the backside:


It was zooming on the frontside:


It was zooming by the mine as shown in the first photo. But, with two passes by the mine, Jack & Rudy took a chance to do one of their comedy skits on one pass. Today's skit was "woos and angels" :)

"WOOOOOO!" booms Rudy who REALLY wanted to be heard today :)
"Rolling!!!" goes Jack rolling snow angels in the background.

While the video above showed great composure and trail understanding, we have more talent from Jack for end of run treats. Jack is known for his adorable "swooshing tail" that is always going/wagging when he's happy. So, check out this talent:

Sitting, focusing, smiling AND swooshing your tail at the same time!

Fun, quick run as we watch the snow fall for more fun tomorrow: 7.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 115 days on the trails covering 1019.2 miles with 92,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Another 26 MPH Day

Our second time this season topping 26 MPH skijoring. Zoom!

Cool shot of cannonball Jack and missile Rudy FLYING along the trail.
I've overlaid the top speed from the GPS here. 26.1 MPH - Zoom!

With a light layer of new snow, we started the day laying fresh tracks on backcountry trails. Whenever there is fresh snow this time of year (Spring), we must use it! The trails melt and ice up within hours on warm spring days. So, fresh snow this morning meant starting on fun backcountry trails:

Laying fresh tracks in an inch or so of new snow on backcountry trails.

Eventually we dropped out of the backcountry and onto the groomed trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. We were THRILLED to see the upper nordic loop freshly groomed and we were first tracks on the trail!

Come along for today's video highlight as the GPS registered our top speed at 26.1 MPH in this stretch of trail. The kids were in a fast mood today!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I am convinced that Jack & Rudy can feel the freshness of a groomed trail. Why? Well, today they were in extra overdrive. They always run fast on groomie zoomie, but they were at another level today. The two of them LOVE to play "catch the groomer" out on the trails. I am convinced they knew the trail was very recently groomed and, thus, there was a groomer ahead of us to catch. Sure enough, a couple of corners from the prior video clip and.... We caught the groomer!

"Whee! The groomer! We caught the groomer!" says fast running Jack
and Rudy hurrying to flirt with the groomer driver.

Once the driver saw us in his rearview mirror, he paused when he got to a safe section to less us pass on by. He always waves and smiles and I wave and smile back. Jack & Rudy love passing on by :)

When you catch the groomer, you then get to pass the groomer!

Done playing catch & pass the groomer, let's go find mom at the trailhead for one of our other favoritate activities: run on by mom with her camera on the side of the trail :)

"Hi mom, bye mom!" says the happy kids flying on by Nancy.

26 MPH, catch & pass the groomer and fresh tracks on backcountry trails. What a day!

"I think we earned those end of run treats!" declares the happy kids.

A zooming day! 10.3 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 114 days on the trails covering 1011.8 miles with 91,900 feet of elevation climbed.