I know that it's only Sunday morning and kind of "early" to be wrapping up the weekend, but that's just how I roll.;o) Mostly I'm not sure of how much time I will have this evening to catch up on everything so I'm taking advantage of the time that I have right now!
Yesterday we went out for an awesome day of snowshoeing with some friends! Originally Adam wasn't going to go because he was going to stay home and do some house cleaning and other odds and ends to get ready for Super Bowl Sunday and the people that we have coming over. Kind of a tall task since we seriously suck at maintaining the house in the state of cleanliness that we would like. Other more fun activities have a way of taking precedence over floor cleaning and things of that nature.;) Since the weather was supposed to be fairly nice and David and Brei have plenty of experience taking newbies out for some fun, Adam decided to come along. Sadly, Heffner had to stay behind because he is still not completely off of his restricted exercise and he most certainly hasn't built the muscle mass and stamina back that he would have needed for this trip. I felt absolutely horrible leaving him at home all alone, but it really was for the better. Plus, there were quite a few dogs out and about along the trail and I'm sure that in his pent up state he inevitably would have taken issue with at least one of them. So Adam, Bess, and I set off for Mt. Hood to do some snowshoeing!!
Along the way I was noting the snow levels, or lack thereof, at roughly the elevation that our skijoring race will be happening at at the end of the month. Unfortunately things are really not looking good and I'm not sure if it's even worth while for me to sending in my registration form because I'm almost certain that the race will get cancelled yet again due to lack of snow. We just have had a crummy winter at that elevation level. The temps have been to warm and there has been more rain than snow. We'll see.
Once we pulled into the parking lot, got ourselves suited up and ready to go, I decided that we needed some couple's shots before heading out (that's what happens when you bring along an slightly obsessive picture taker).:) Here's David and Brei:
And Adam, Bess, and I ready to hit the trail!!
Thankfully, at this snow park there was plenty of snow. It was still too crunchy for me to let Bess on it without booties though. Everyone thought it was absolutely hilarious how upset she looked when I first put the booties on. Then she did her funny little walking across the parking lot. Once she hit the snow, she completely forgot that she even had them on!
I also have to mention that these booties from DogBooties.com are fabulous!! While it took me a few times to get the fit on Bess' feet just right so that they wouldn't slide down, she didn't lose a single bootie even once! There aren't any holes worn in any of the feet either. This was an almost three hour trek that we did and they just held up fabulously. I do really like that the Velcro that they use is stretchy. It definitely allows for a snugger fit without cutting off circulation. And her hot pink footsies were commented on by most of the people along the trail! One couple even wanted her to stop so that they could get a picture of her with her hot pink booties!LOL Many of the kids who were sledding thought it was cute that not only did Bess have a coat, but she also had mittens on!:o)
Okay, so I'm going off topic a wee bit. That does tend to happen with me! Back to the snowshoeing! The area was just beautiful! After going on this trip I realized that I've never been snowshoeing along a trail that hadn't been all ready beaten down by snowmobiles. Granted I've gone off the beaten trail many times to do little side forays in the snow, but I generally go where snow mobiles have paved the way. This was a new experience and a lot of fun. And I was also quite impressed with the fact that Adam was keeping up with the pace that was set. For someone who doesn't work out at all and who's job is to sit behind a computer all day, he really did great! Here are some shots from along the trail.
There was a whole lot of Bess running amok all over the trail. And especially a lot of her running ahead, only to run screaming back towards momma. I think she particularly enjoyed doing that!!
We took a little break for some snacks and a little rest at almost the half way point. Bess got to have some of the people snacks and I also brought a few dog cookies for her to snack on. She was definitely burning some bucko calories yesterday!!
She voluntarily sat in the snow while I was digging out her cookies. I guess it's just one of those automatic responses that in order to get a treat she should sit. Even though I'm sure her little hiney was quite cold! Naturally, I took advantage of her good behavior to take some pictures.:)
After we got going, we came across an interesting spot where there were snowshoe tracks leading down into a slight ravine and up and over into the wild white yonder. David wanted to go check it out. I thought that Bess was going to follow him for a second, but I think she realized how much work that would be to chase after him in the deep snow and then have to come all the way back to the rest of us!
Once he came back to us, we headed out a little further to The Hill. From further back, it looked deceptively doable by most people. I even thought that Adam would be able to manage it as long as he took frequent breaks and didn't push his pace too much. However, the closer we got, the steeper we realized it was. It was slightly daunting when we got to the base of it. At the time, we didn't know what the elevation gain was. David later looked it up and it's 350 feet up.
The pictures seriously do NOT do it justice! We stood at the base for a bit hemming and hawing about whether or not we should try it and who would try it. The general consensus was that since this was Adam's first time out and we didn't want to push it so much that he didn't want to go back, that he definitely should not do it. However, I really wanted to at least attempt it. If I only made it half way up, then so be it. David wanted to go for it as well. And apparently, Bess was totally game for the climb!
I have to take a moment here and really brag about my dog. That girl has got so much heart!! Without hesitation, as David and I started hoofing it up that hill, she was bounding ahead. She REALLY wanted to go wherever I was going and gave it her all! This was also not an easy climb by any means. Let along for a dog who didn't have the advantage of having snow shoes with teeth on. When we were about 2/3 of the way up, the footing was just too tricky and the incline just to steep for her to be able to maintain her footing. I called down to Adam to call her down to him and hang onto her. Thankfully she went back to daddy and hung out there waiting for us to return. I think she realized that the route we were going just wasn't meant for dogs.:(
I left the camera with Adam to capture our ascent.:) He we are on the "easy" part of the climb.
This is about the point that I sent Bess back down.
At that point, the looser snow that I was using my toe picks to really dig into and get a good foothold, was getting shallower and the footing just wasn't as great over all. It was also so steep that essentially I was leaning into the hill so much that my face was only a foot or two away from the snow in front of me. Yes, that's steep. Cramp-ons would have been more appropriate than snowshoes at that point. The route that we picked was purposefully a more direct route to the top. We didn't pick it because it was easiest and the most dog appropriate route. If I went back there again, I think I could pick a route that would have worked better for Bess, but it would have been a fair bit longer.
Adam and Brei waited at the bottom for us. Unfortunately when we hit the summit, they were too close to the base of the climb to be able to see clear up to where we were at and I don't have any pictures of our triumphant moment. I gotta tell you though, that was a seriously huge sense of accomplishment when we got all the way up there! And what a view!! I caught myself almost wishing that I had kept the camera with me so that I could snap some pictures from up there. It was a total rush!
We took a little break while we were up there to revel in the moment and to plot out our trek down. Going down seems easy enough, but if you don't want to tumble head first the whole way down, you need to pick an appropriate route. Going down the exact way we came up was NOT an option. That was far to steep to chance it. And my snowshoes were longer than David's so I would have bitten it for sure! We skirted the ridge and went to the far left as you're facing the hill. The slope was gentler and we had already watched another couple come down that way and it seemed pretty safe. Going down was initially a LOT harder than going up. You essentially have to side step going down. And that can get tricky. David was leading on the way down and he found out that the descent was steep enough and the trail "groomed" enough that we could actually slide down on our butts for most of the way! OMG, it was soooooooooooo much fun!! Imagine all the fun you had as a kid tubing or sledding down a hill and then imagine that type of fun as an adult, sliding down a huge hill on your butt with reckless abandon!:) Yes, it was great! And thankfully it wasn't a rough ride down either. No sore buttocks here!
Bess was very happy to see me safe and sound and back on the ground! Apparently she had been a little worried about me while staying with Adam and was wimpering a bit. On the treck back, she wasn't quite as prone to bounding through the deeper snow. I think we had actually managed to take the edge off of her energy level!LOL
Random people along the trail who wanted to love on Bess!:)
After we got de-layered, we decided to head down to the Zig Zag (yes, that is in fact a town!) Inn for some late lunch. They have such yummy delicious food!! We probably ate more than we necessarily had room for, but it was all so good! I highly recommend stopping there if you get the chance and are going up to Mt. Hood.
After we got back, we had lots of house cleaning and other things to do to get the house ready for the people that we're having over today to watch the Super Bowl. That took up a larger chunk of time than I had originally expected. I had grand plans for a little photo shoot with Heffner, but I think I'll just save those plans for next week. Yesterday he was just looking so adorably forlorn at being left behind for such a large chunk of the day that I couldn't help but snap pictures of him! Here's the picture that I submitted for week 5 of the 52 Weeks for Dogs challenge (and yes, I did realize that there was a challenge, I just didn't end up going with it).
And last but not least, we got an award from Darwin!!
The rules of the Sweet Friends Award:
1. Copy the image and paste it to your blog.
2. List 10 things that make you happy, do one of them today.
3. Select 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
10 things that make me happy:
1) Hiking, with the dogs!
3) Snowshoeing with friends and the dogs!
5) Training with the dogs
6) Dressing the dogs up in ridiculous costumes
7) Reading, especially the awesome blogs that I get to read!
9) Talking about my dogs ;)
10) Pretty much anything to do with my dogs.:)
10 blogs that brighten our day (this was hard because there are many that I enjoy reading for various reasons!). Here they are in no particular order:
1) Assistance Dog for Autism
2) Blogging Dante
3) Chihuahuas Are Not Sheep
4) Danes Can Q
5) Dig-it, Fetch-it, Herd-it
6) Exercise Finished
7) Fun With Falkor
8) Jackson's Quest
9) Life With Dogs
10) Many Muddy Paws
11) Romping and Rolling in the Rockies
12) The Adventures of Two Urban Border Collies
13) The Life Story of Miss Layla
14) Two Pitties in the City
15) Wild Dingo
I realize that I went over 10, but I couldn't help it!!