Thursday, December 17, 2009

Trip to the Mountain!

Happy December 17th! The dogs are checking out their blog and Heffner would like to thank everyone for their well wishes even though he doesn't understand why anyone is concerned since he certainly isn't!

Today I took the day off and took the dogs up to Mt. Hood as I had said I was going to yesterday. Unfortunately we didn't have the best snow, but we did have a really great time up there!! They've had temperatures above freezing during the day and then right around freezing at night so I was a little worried that there would be icy snow when we got there, but it wasn't bad at all. Definitely not powder, but a little heavier. And it was warm enough that I didn't even bother putting coats on the dogs, though I did put them in my back pack just in case. It had been raining up until the point that we parked, and I wanted to have something along just in case it started up again. It was actually warm enough that I left a few of my different layers back at the truck as well.

Once I got my skis in place on the trail, I got the dogs out of the truck. Once onto the trail I let them both off leash so that they could get the initial "OMG we're FINALLY out of the truck" zoomies out of the way as well as all the pottying. Unfortunately, there hadn't been any snow mobiles on the trail in at least the past 24 hours, so the trail wasn't groomed at all and my skis were sinking a good 4-5 inches into the snow with each step. This meant that skijoring was going to be a lot of work for Bess. Additionally, the trail that I had chosen had a gradual incline for about the first mile out.

I got Bess hooked up and we were off. I have to say, she has improved immensely from the one and only time last winter that I ran her by herself. At that time I couldn't get her to stop at all unless I fell over and she dragged me for a ways. When you combine her lack of stopping with over abundance of enthusiasm, you end up with one black and blue handler who had a lot of ground work to cover with her dog! I was understandably a little worried taking her out this time, but hooking her up with Heffner just wasn't an option. And I really do need to get her and I used to her running solo. Our first race is Jan. 9th and 10th.

Holy cow is it ever easier starting out one dog than it is to start out with two dogs! There's no crossing of lines, no playing with each other while I get settled into my skis, no circling around behind me, and the list goes on and on. Bess just got right down to business and started trucking right along. Heffner was apparently over joyed that he was the one left free and was frolicking around in front of Bess. I could almost swear that at times he seemed to be taunting her with his freedom. She did seem a little bit peeved, but set to work never-the-less. And work it was. I helped her out as much as I could, but the snow was slow and deep and a lot of work. And up hill. I only ran her for a mile because of the conditions. I also wanted her to end on a happy note with still plenty of energy to run around off leash. I managed to get a little video clip when we were about 3/4 of the way through her run.

Shortly after that I took her harness off and then the games began! Here are a few shots from our little jaunt!

This picture particularly shows you the bare spots off to the sides of the trail. Ideally those patches would be under 2-3 feet of snow.

I also discovered the loveliness of rose colored goggles today! I couldn't for the life of me find my normal goggles that have a yellowish tint to them and I definitely wanted to have something to protect my eyes. The dogs are capable of kicking up quite a bit of snow into my face when they get going while we're skijoring and it's unpleasant, to say the least, when that gets flung directly into your eye. I have never tried the rose coloring before and when I was picking up my skis this morning and asked the owner about what she would recommend as far as goggles go because I wasn't willing to drop over $100 on sunglasses. She had me try out the rose colored ones just to see, and I really prefer them to the yellow tinting!

I do have to say, if you've never been cross country skiing before, you really MUST try it! It's just the most relaxing and enjoyable sport around! And a total body workout to boot! You're obviously working your legs with the skis. You're engaging all your core muscles to maintain your balance and keep moving. And finally you're using your upper body when you manipulate the poles. And there's just nothing like being out in the woods on a mountain shushing along with the dogs.

I was also able to get a better understanding of why cross country skiers can get so peeved when people mess up their specifically groomed trails (for the record, I have never actually been on a trail groomed for that purpose, but have only heard people gripe). On the way out, I was breaking my own trail. On the way back I had the pleasure of using my own tracks to ski back in! You can go so much faster when you have those tracks to glide along in. That is, unless you have a couple of giant dogs along with you who think it's great that you broke a trail for THEM. Yeah, they had lots of fun criss crossing or just outright walking directly along my back trail. Therefore my trek back wasn't quite as smooth, but still very enjoyable. I definitely got a really nice work out and obviously the dogs had a total blast! Heffner is still acting his usual self. Didn't act lame while we were out and hasn't acted lame since. So we'll see how tomorrow goes. Our appointment is at 11:3oam and I have to work tomorrow as well, therefore there won't be an immediate update on how it went until the evening (unless we're friends on Facebook, in which case I'll probably post a status update as soon as I drop him off and get back to work). I'll bring my camera along just in case they do something interesting, but otherwise, I probably won't be taking any pictures. We'll see!


Emma Rose said...

Great action shots! Those are some happy kiddos :)

Tucker said...

Ha Ha I love the zoomie action shots!

woof- Tucker

The PR Gang said...

Looks like so much fun. Bess is doing great! It seems like she pulls you with no effort at all.

Kennedy said...

Great video - love the oration. :) Bess did really well! It looked like you were moving at a pretty good pace there! Heffner was happy - sounds like it was a good plan to "retire" him.