“Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever….” (GRRM)

Well, this winter would certainly tax anyone’s friendship….unusually warm weather, low snowfall, LOTS of ice, rain, and a few very cold days. January into February has seen the fading away of the token snows we received in January. Some downhill ski areas have closed, Cross-Country ski areas are bare, and the wooded trails are either frozen solid grey ice, or a mess of frozen mud. Just lovely! But living in Vermont has taught us to go with the flow…we deal with whatever nature provides for us, and we make the best of it. If the snow conditions and weather offer a window of opportunity for an activity ( i.e. skijoring), we better take advantage!

Our great Tubbs snowshoes and our MicroSpikes have allowed us to get out on the trails nearly every day, even if not in ideal conditions. We have had a few really fine days recently, though….

We hiked when the dogs required booties and parkas, due to the cold…we snowshoed up a black diamond trail in deep snow, we visited one of our our canoe camping spots, and utilized our local trails when conditions were “iffy”….

 

And yes, we encountered some “iffy conditions”…..

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Windy, icy, nearly bare….

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Solid grey ice….

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And shiny frozen crust…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But we did actually get some good conditions for kicksledding and skijoring…these conditions were fleeting, but we definitely had a great time ( and so did the dogs!)

 

One of our most awe-inspiring trips recently has been a hike up Laraway Mountain, where incredible walls, veils, and columns of ice form each winter….

 

And just this past weekend,we had the third of our winter trips to Wheeler Pond camps in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont….

We had no snow for our November trip…but we though that we would have snow for our December trip, most certainly. No, no snow on our December trip,either. When we scheduled our February trip we felt confident we would be able to get out snowshoeing during that weekend. Nope! We did have snow, and frozen crust, and ice..so it did feel like a winter cabin camping trip, but no suitable snow for snowshoeing. The dogs’ Aunt Jackie came along with us, which made it an extra special adventure! We hiked local trails, kept warm by the wood stove, and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the Kingdom….

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Griff checks the trip planning checklist…

 

Organizing and packing all the gear and supplies…..

 

We arrive at our cabin on frozen Wheeler Pond, unload our gear, and head out for some ice-hiking…..

 

After hiking, we return to the cabin, fire up the wood stove, and take a brief nap….then dinner time! This time, no freeze-dried meals, but a real luxury. Jackie brought along fondue, and with all the fixins’, we had quite a feast!

 

After dinner, we had a small fire outside…so great to sit by the fire, flurries falling, and the frozen lake just barely visible….

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The dogs love sleeping in the tent when we are canoe camping…but they also are quite fond of the wooden bunks in the cabin,especially when sleeping bags are piled upon them….

After a cozy night’s sleep, and a hot breakfast, we head out in the flurries for more hiking….before heading home after a lovely little trip.

 

Hmmm…what adventures can we plan next? We are planning some hiking in the Upper Valley of NH, but the forecast for weather is not great. We are also helping out an organization called Kids on Top, leading some snowshoe tours for parents of kids who are undergoing cancer treatment. I certainly hope we get some more snow before those events happen! We also have our annual winter snowshoe/kicksled/skijor trip, where for 3 mid-week days, we get to play tourist. The past few years we have gone to western Maine, but this year, we are going to the Adirondacks. We are no longer confident in the certainty that THEY will have snow…but I am sure we will have a great time anyway. The dogs love to travel,and we can scope out some summer paddling destinations.

Summer! Paddling! Yes, we are really starting to look forward to getting out on the water again. The Vermont Paddle Pups have some amazing, awesome, exciting news to share….but I think it will have to wait until the next blog post!

Keep warm, keep dry, keep safe…have fun on whatever winter adventures you have!

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