Today the wind chill is well below zero, which is actually quite typical January weather in Vermont. This winter, however, we have had a myriad of different weather conditions, from high winds and snow squalls, to pouring rain and 50 degree temperatures. We have hiked on grey sheer ice, but have also snowshoed through 8 inches of powder. We have seen bluebird skies, but also have had some of the dreariest, grey, overcast days imaginable. Through it all, we persevere, and keep ourselves busy and active. In fact, the only day this month that I have not headed out with the dogs was the one day when it was pouring buckets of rain….a good excuse to give me, and the dogs, a day off.
We have been out snowshoeing at least 10 times, and even encountered enough snow for me to try the Tubbs Wilderness 30’s I was given as an ambassador. They have great flotation, so they are my “powder shoes”, while my Tubbs Flex Alps provide the traction and maneuverability often needed on our narrow, wooded, and often icy trails.
We got out kicksledding, and tried out the Ruffwear Omnijore harness on Griff, while he was in sled-pulling mode. The harness worked wonderfully, and the dogs had a great first run of the season.
We also finally received enough snow that some xc-skiing training loops could be groomed. It was nice to actually have a few days of skijoring! We had a great time getting out, and the dogs seemed to pick it right up, as if they had never been away.
I have been testing out my new camera, a Canon Powershot sx60 HS, which definitely takes a nice photograph. I am still familiarizing myself with the various settings, but we have already noted improved quality of my photos, especially in low light conditions.
Griff and I continue to monitor the local trail network as part of the Land Trust “Poo Crew”, and may have actually noted an improvement in trail conditions….we keep the bag dispenser filled, and speak with other dog hikers about the importance of Leave No Trace. I am getting frustrated, however, with the people who hike with their dogs off-leash…not the folks who have trained their dogs to NOT run right up to other dogs, NOT the folks who have trained their dogs with a solid recall…but the people who thinks all dogs want to be “buddies” and see nothing wrong with letting their dogs speedily approach our dogs. Edgar was nearly attacked by one such dog, whose owner provided a very weak “sorry” after the incident was over. I would react strongly if a stranger ran up to me on the trail, and started to hug me….I think our dogs feel the same way!
We get along great with other dogs, who are well behaved, and who are under their owner’s control!
We continue to try new hiking and skiing destinations, my snowshoeing journal is getting more full, and the kicksled is awaiting the grooming of the local golf course trails. We have an upcoming weekend at the remote cabin at Wheeler Pond, and we are bringing some family with us this time. We are also planning our annual winter snowshoe/skijor trip, and may head to the Adirondacks this season for that adventure.
Activity Locations so far this month.…
Smugglers’ Notch State Park, Smugglers’ Notch , Kirchner Woods trails, Mill Trail, Millstone trails, Clark Overlook, Taylor Lodge Trail, Waterbury Center State Park, Elephant Rock Trail, Catamount Trail section 22, Alex’s trail, Cricket Hill Trails, Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, Perry Hill Trails,Beaver Meadows Trail, Sterling Valley trails
Be sure to check us out on Instagram ( @dogsaboard ), or twitter @VTPaddlePups , or on our blog through our new domain vermontpaddlepups.com
Also, I have updated my “What’s In Your Pack” page on this blog….
And for a moment of Optimism…In 4 months, we’ll be paddling on the lakes, instead of skiing on them!