Today we hit up White River West snow park. I like this snow park because I don't often go to it. The first 0.75-1 mile of the trail has heavier traffic with lots of families sledding and just hanging out by the trailhead. Once you get past that though there's a lot less traffic. The trail culminates in a bad ass hill that's a heck of a climb and even more fun to come back down. Sort of!
Bess got to run amok once we were past the higher traffic areas. I was pretty surprised that the snow park wasn't busier than it was considering the time that we were there, but then again, snow conditions on the mountain have been less than stellar lately with warm temperatures and way too much rain. If this keeps up, our skijoring race at the end of February has a good chance of getting cancelled.Once off leash Bess was more than thrilled to run around. Lots of open space and small critters to chase after kept her quite happily busy. We passed quite a few cross country skiers who were on their way down the trail. I was really quite surprised because the trail isn't exactly what I would consider fun to ski on. Challenging yes, and maybe these people were seeking a challenge. The trail is up hill the whole way out and narrow for a lot of that. With the snow conditions being rather fast, going up hill can be a bit of a b***h. And going back down entails evading a whole lot of trees at often uncontrollable speeds. I know this because Bess almost ran me into a tree.:0)
Our trek uphill ended with the infamous "the hill." It's a hill that is deceptively okay looking until you actually start climbing it. I did this same hill last year when we went with some other friends. If you compare how this hill looks now with how it looked roughly this same time last year, you'll see that the snow pack is unpleasantly worse this year. I thought last winter was crappy, but this year is shaping up to be even worse. There were no exposed areas on this hill last year and now there definitely is. This time around there were three of us that ended up climbing the hill. It was a little trickier with less snow. I had a few moments where my snowshoes weren't gripping as well and I started to slip a bit. This is a very unpleasant feeling considering what a painful fall backwards it would be. Once again, when we reached the top, it totally felt like an accomplishment.:)
I had left Bess at the base of the hill with Adam because this climb was definitely out of the question for her. I didn't need both dogs injured! Apparently she was NOT happy at being left behind. While she can be a pretty chatty dog with her back talk and the random amusing noises that she makes, she's not an overly vocal dog or prone to out right whining. Adam said that she was actually whimpering while I was climbing up and she was forced to stay at the bottom. Once we got the down the hill she was VERY happy to see me again!
Our downhill trek was probably more painful than climbing back up. The last time I did this, David and I had a great time sliding down on our butts. Again, the snow pack was way better and it was a more cushioned and enjoyable time sliding down hill on my butt. This time, that was not the case. Attack number 2 on my derriere commenced by me sitting at the top with the intent to wait my turn and NOT be the first one to go down. I had to make sure that I avoided the first tree and somehow try to steer myself down. Remember how I said the snow conditions were fast? Yeah, that goes for going down hill as well. I had no intention of actually being the first one down, but once I sat I started to slide and it was steep enough that I couldn't stop myself and I ended up just sliding right down the first section. And into the tree. And over the very uncomfortable bump. Finally stopping by using the next tree to sort of slow me down. From there it was just a free for all of me trying feebly to control my speed while still sliding. After a bit I seemed to have found a means that was mostly comfortable to slide down. I think one of the people in our group actually took video of us all sliding down and I will definitely try to post that if she did! Thankfully we all made it down in one piece, albeit rather butt sore.
From there it was literally all down hill. The advantage to a hike out that's all up hill is that when you're most likely to be tired on the way back, you have a nice down ward stroll.:) Bess enjoyed some more frolicking about chasing after random birds and other critters and was pretty pleased with herself by the time we got back to the truck. She was happy to get rid of the booties and clamber into the truck cab with us where she could stay nice and toasty. We warmed up a bit with some yummy hot chocolate that Andrea and Mike brought along, complete with "adult" mixers for those not driving. I had some of the adult version and the peppermint patty was delicious!
On our way out we stopped at the Zig Zag Inn (I definitely recommend this place if you're ever on the west side of Mt. Hood) for a late lunch and stuffed our faces with some delicious food. After much stomach patting and drowsy looks from some, we headed for home.
Heffner was very happy to see us and was sure to let me know how bored he was by incessantly squeaking his cherished ball while I took care of a few things. Interestingly enough, I apparently have to watch how much time I let him squeak it. When he saw the chiropractor on Friday, she mentioned that his jaw was a little out of wack. I thought that was weird and couldn't fathom what would have caused that. After listening to the non-stop squeaking when we got home, a little light bulb went off. He killed the other ball a couple weeks ago and just got the new one last Sunday. He's definitely been ball happy since then and apparently been over working his jaw a bit. Looooovely! It's a good thing he's so cute!
I hope everyone had a great weekend!!