Winter Hikes…A Perfect Day

“Wide, sparkling fields snow-vestured lie
Beneath a blue, unshadowed sky;
A glistening splendor crowns the woods
And bosky, whistling solitudes;”
A Winter Day
by Lucy Maud Montgomery

This week has been cold, colder, and coldest…a little snow last weekend, for some snowshoeing, but frigid temps and dangerous wind chills restricted our access to winter fun!

So we pause, as we reach the half-way point of this winter, and publish a photo display of our hikes so far…here’s hoping for more snow, warmer temps, and sweet,smooth trails for skijoring and sledding…..

Whoop-de-do …we got some ( sort-of) snow!

Well, the snow gods may not have smiled on us, but they gave us a little smirk…3 inches of light snow. This snow was barely enough for us to get out the kicksled….we were anxious to try out a new harness for Gryphon, and new waterproof boots for me! A local field that had avoided the recent grey, frozen ice-ups of the trails would have to serve.

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Griff is “nose to the grindstone” style, and Edgar is a bit more of the pogo-stick style!

The new harness, a Howling Dog Alaska Wheel Dog Ultra ( fancy name!) is designed to prevent pressure on the dogs hips, and is reportedly good for kicksled use.  Interestingly, the day after I ordered it, Kev Roberts of Skijor OxfordDogs posted a review of this harness.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9gohWZD4jo&list=UUPcAn5czIA_phE4qtwm_PhA&feature=share

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Working on commands, and turns….

 At first Griff did not know what to do…the longer harness sits longer and lower over his back end, and he seemed to think it meant he was supposed to sit down! Once we got him all hooked up with Edgar by his side, he seemed to catch on…oh yeah, run and pull! The new harness also brings the connection to the bridle a bit lower, so that it is the same height as Edgar’s connection.

It will be nice to be able to skijor and kicksled on the trails again…all we need is a foot of snow!

(Next blog post has video of today’s adventures)

If you don’t like the weather…well, just wait a minute!

sun shine is delicious quote

Well, we have been on quite a weather roller coaster here lately. It has presented some challenges in terms of getting out with the dogs. It has been tough even for northern Vermont!

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Precipitation..has included rain, freezing rain, graupel, snow…but chart does not show the amount of ice buildup, nor the unpleasant snow loss.

The dogs have been suffering from cabin fever, since our outings this past week have been sporadic. Today,we go out…no matter what the environment presents us with, we will be ready!

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Delightful temperature swings!

So here is documentation of our hike today…some hiking in “mashed potatoes”, some on shiny, wet, ice…and all while the skies were grey,and the wind was whistling. Didn’t matter…the dogs had a great time!

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No skijoring or sledding on this trail today!

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What’s a little water and ice?…it’s warm out! (35 degrees)

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Soft landings!

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The river was running fast and cold…carrying large chunks of ice downstream.

Essential for today:

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Kahtoola Microspikes

Pet Blogger Challenge 2014

So, I am a small-scale blogger….but having a great deal of fun giving it a whirl! Connections I have made with other bloggers,K9 folks, and outdoors lovers has been one of the unexpected consequences of this endeavor.  Here is my contribution to the GoPetFriendly.com Blogger Challenge of 2014!

And now, without further ado, here are the questions for Pet Blogger Challenge 2014:

1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

I started the blog in March of 2013; my clever daughter has a wonderful blog about her weaving exploits, and she said that even a computer-dunce such as I am, could develop a good blog.

I had previously used my facebook page to post pictures and updates about our outdoor adventures with Gryphon,  my yellow lab mutt. Folks seemed interested in our canoeing activities, so when we had Edgar join our family last winter, I thought it may be fun to document our efforts to train him as a paddle pup, too. I also thought that via a blog, I could keep family and friends updated, without inflicting a multitude of information on my facebook page…if people want to read or see more, they can link to the blog. We named it “Ed-Ventures in Dog Paddling ( for Edgar),

The blog was great fun to write, and when canoeing season ended, my family encouraged me to expand it, to include our skijor, kicksled, and snowshoe activities.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.

I essentially taught myself, and learned as I went along…I am not inherently technologically gifted, so being able to write,  illustrate, and maintain my blog was a feat for me.

3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?

I have had a great time writing; unexpectedly, the more entries I wrote, the more fun the blog became.…recognizing that your narratives can allow for creativity and fun.

4. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?

I would say “ Less is More”….long rambling narratives are not usually necessary—short, concise, informative and entertaining write-ups are more readable.

I also learned about blogging networks…such as the Outdoor Bloggers Network.

If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Deciding on frequency of posts? I tried for one post per week in canoe season, and aim for 2 per month in the winter…too much? Not enough?

I had originally intended to end the blog at conclusion of paddling season…then I could not decide of I should start a new Winter Adventures blog, or just amend the existing one…I don’t think I did a good job on the transition to the new area of focus.

 5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Facebook links, and Outdoor Blogger Network.  I have not really pursued an increase in traffic.

6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year? 

I don’t really publicize it much…it was designed for family and friends initially, and I am only gradually expanding beyond that.

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?

I am not sure…probably comments ( though I do not get many)

How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?

Hmmm..if it bores me, it certainly bores others. I trust my “family editor”to let me know.

8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?

If I agree with the post, I am more likely to comment….generally, I do not follow blogs that are not reflective of our interests, and usually our philosphies.

9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?

No

If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?

Maybe product reviews? Not in this for commercial or financial gain, but might be fun to do this. Not sure how to go about it.

 10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?

Go for a hike, paddle, swim, ski, etc….I usually will not start to write until I have a specific idea in mind..and photos to go along with it!

11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?

A week weeks off or so, not really planning on doing blog in the winter, but picked it up again after a few weeks.

Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?

It’s fun to write the blog, and my small circle of target audience seems to enjoy it.

12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?

Improved photography and video

More links to others’ great blogs and websites

Guest writers

 

Bitter Cold…booties all around!

ImageThe new year has begun with record cold…in terms of multiple days with the temps never going above zero (f). In addition to the cold temps, a recent ice storm has left trails and sledding tracks as firm as concrete, and a bit too slippery for safe skijoring or sledding. So off we went for some cold weather hiking and snowshoeing.

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Just before the ice storm hit, we took the dogs out for a Gryphon birthday hike

I have found that Kahtoola Microspikes are essential for hiking in these conditions. I previously tried IceSpikes ( screw in spikes), and they worked well, but did tend to fall out when kicksledding, and were a bit pricey to replace.

Gryphon has a tender foot, so he is quite appreciative of booties , when temps are below 12-15 degrees. He keeps them on, and ignores them…we use basic cordura musher booties, from Nooksack racing Supply. I have just ordered him a pair of fleece booties from there, so we can double them up, in extreme cold such as we had last night ( negative 24 degrees f.).

Edgar, on the other hand, would absolutely not, no way,  tolerate the boots last winter. We have lovely fleece boots from Eromit K9, which match his harnesses…but he refused to let us even get them on. However, this year, maybe he is more mature ( age 2), he let us put them on the first try. He did a little of the classic “hi-step”, but then forgot they were on. He loves the snow, and we feel he is safer having a layer of protection on his feet…even if it merely to go out to the dogs’ play yard.

 

We also carry either “Paw-tect”, Bag Balm, or Musher’s Secret  paw wax with us on all winter adventures…even if we do not use booties, we may encounter changing conditions, or need the extra layer for the dogs’ feet.

 

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The forecast is for snow, turning to sleet, turning to rain overnight. Not sure what that will mean for our activities in the upcoming week, but as usual here in northern New England,  we can’t change it, so we learn to live with it!