A small taste of Spring…and of the Sea!

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever” ( Cousteau)

Well, I know the dogs were in awe at all the smells, sounds, and sights, as they visited the ocean for the first time! The dismal spring weather ( 6 inches of snow yesterday, and 6 inches of freezing rain,snow,and ice predicted for tomorrow)  has driven us to the point where we just had to find some spring somewhere!  So we headed out to southern NH, to take in the New England Paddlesports show.  We met lots of nice folks, heard interesting presentation about kayaking in the arctic , saw some fantasy canoes and kayaks,  confirmed that we are really not interested in SUPs, and generally began to get real antsy for the upcoming paddle season!  It would be pretty cool to win the GoPro camera in the raffle!

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At the UNH Field House…lots of interesting paddling gear

 

Since the dogs were so well behaved while waiting for us in the car, they received a nice treat…a trip to the ocean! A “lovely”, but thankfully short,  trip through suburban traffic and strip malls ( quite foreign to us), was the price we paid to get to the NH coast, where we found a beach in Rye,NH that was being used by surfers, runners,walkers, and lots of dogs!  Our dogs, the mountain pups, were faced with miles of beach, crashing waves, and water that chased them…they had a ball!

 

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The dogs were very interested in the sea gulls, and piles of seaweed on the beach. Edgar did not really understand why we would not let him drink from all that water! Gryphon is field-testing some boots for a dog gear manufacturer; they were a good safety feature in some of the more rugged, rocky parts of the beach.  We did let him feel the soft,cool, wet sand on his bare feet, though, and he left some awesome paw prints, that will be gone when the tide comes in….

 

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Gryphon says  “now this is terrain I am familiar with!”

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I think Edgar would like to return to the sea….

So now we are all excited for canoeing season. In theory, in 2 months we will be paddling . However, we have to wait for quite a bit of snow to melt, before we can even access our canoe storage!

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG!! ( Well, sort of….)

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So after a winter marked by 36 days with temperatures below zero, and many days of dangerous wind chill levels…..does this magical equinox mean all is fair? Not in Vermont, where spring snows, cold, and storms are not uncommon. This has not been a record breaking winter, just the coldest since 2007 ( 41 days with below zero temps!). On Memorial Day weekend 2013, we had snow, so maybe we still have some strange weather in the offing!

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A sloggy snowshoe, in 47 degree temps, just before the rain arrived….

The March 13 storm dumped 2 feet of snow, making for fun playing, and challenging snowshoeing. Thoughts of green grass, fresh,warm breezes, and cool summer nights are invading our thoughts.

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The snow was so heavy and deep, it collapsed the old sugarhouse on this trail network.

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Edgar hoots at the snow..he loves it!

The dogs were able to both get out skijoring…in the sun and in one of our snowstorms.

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Snowy and blowy!

                       

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Edgar really into the pulling!

We head off to a PaddleSports show in a few weeks…the sight of canoes and kayaks in water (even if it is a pool!) will certainly be welcome!

 In 2014, spring began with the vernal equinox on March 20 at 12:57 P.M. Edgar greeted the new season with a regal stance, overlooking the water where we’ll be paddling in less than two months!

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Last moments of winter…..

Reconnaissance in Rangeley !

Yes, most folks around here head south to escape the temperatures below zero, blowing snow and brutal winds. This winter has seen a plethora of days with such conditions, so we have been optimistically thinking of warmer days ahead, and planning for summer canoe camping excursions. Recently we left behind the cold of Vermont….for the even colder conditions in the mountains of Western Maine.  We brought along X-C skis, the kicksled, snowshoes, micro-spikes, and lots of warm technical clothing.  Our plan—have fun with the dogs while we scope out Cupsuptic Lake, Aziscohos Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and many other prospective summer sites .  We found the lakes ( very frozen,snow covered, and tracked by snow-machines…perfect for kick-sledding), some really nice hiking spots, a lovely dog friendly X-C center, and a waterfront hotel that welcomes dogs! So, despite the bitter temperatures that restricted some of our activities, we had a successful excursion. Next time we head over, the Swift Kipawa will be on the roof!

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We had hot cocoa at Picnic Point, on Saddleback Lake–a beautiful and peaceful spot!

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Beautiful trails…but a bit too firm for skijoring, at an unfamiliar area. ( The staff made us wear snowshoes on the groomed trails). We had the place to ourselves!

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Gryphon is waiting for his trailside lunch..no hot chili for him, just Buddy Biscuits!

Outside our motel room..a lovely , hardy, Cedar Waxwing enjoying the sun.

 

 

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Edgar could really run, across the frozen snow on Rangeley Lake.

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We stopped for a hike on the way home..NorthWoods Stewardship Center. Sunny , but still cold.

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On the way home, we saw a pair of Bald Eagles…one was munching on his lunch, about 75 yards from the road.

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Dixville Notch,NH…”First in the nation”

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So many lakes, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, mountains, islands…really looking forward to a return visit!