Yes, Mud Season. In Vermont, that is the period between winter ( or what passed as winter this year!) and spring…or, the time when you risk going out on dirt roads, since your vehicle may sink in mud up to the axles, and you may be stuck until the Fourth of July. Since our snow pack is minimal this year, we are hoping that mud season is briefer than normal. The road conditions restrict access to many hiking trails, and the higher elevation trails are closed until Memorial Day, per order of the Green Mountain Club. So, we get creative!
We have spent many days hiking on rail trails, closed ski area trails, state park areas, and local low elevation trail networks. On the same hike,we may encounter dry ground, muck, ice, slush, slippery leaves. Our MicroSpikes have been essential to allow us to continue to hike during this strange season. I did get out on my Tubbs snowshoes 24 days…about half of my average. I am really enjoying my role as a Tubbs Ambassador,and hope that next winter will see a return to more suitable conditions! Our favorite late-season snowshoeing trail, the Notch road, will probably open to cars much earlier than the average date, since even up there the snow cover is minimal. We definitely are getting the itch to go paddling, since may of our expeditions have taken us to some our our favorite canoeing locales…though there is still quite a bit of ice, our warming temperatures and rain are helping thaw the lakes. However, it will be at least mid to late April before the water temperature is high enough to safely paddle.
We have some new gear to test for Backcountryk9.com. Each dog has a new Headwater waterproof collar, by Ruffwear…you may notice them in the photos above ( Griff’s is blue,and Edgar’s is lime green). So far I am really impressed with the collars, and the Headwater leash as well. Mud Season is a great time to test them, since our dogs are constantly getting wet from rain, muddy trails, and slush falling from the sky! Of course, when paddling, the dogs often get their gear wet, too.
We also purchased a Ruffwear Web master harness for Edgar, from our friends at Backcountryk9.com…in his favorite color, red, of course. The harness is quite substantial, and has a solid handle, which may come in very handy.
I also splurged on my annual “silly item”, using my REI.com dividend ( I have been a member of REI since 1979). I now have a cool Seattle Sports Firewater bottle…I think the illumination will be a nice touch on those canoe campsites.
Paddling is on our brains….We are getting quite excited for the upcoming New England Paddlesports Show! We certainly hope that the attendees enjoy our tales of adventure and misadventure while paddling with our dogs. Our summer plans are developing as I write…probably at least a week in the Adirondacks canoe camping, and another week in a Quebec location TBD. I have begun transitioning the gear room from snowshoeing and winter camping gear to Paddling Gear. The old Necky Sky 2 kayak will be posted For Sale on Craigslist, as we reduce our fleet to 2 canoes and one kayak. I am also having our local paddle shop, Umiak Outfitters, replace the carry handles on our Swift 16’6″ Kipawa. We were able to fabricate a makeshift remedy last fall, and as much as I love hockey, I would rather have official carry handles in my boat!
So off we go to the ocean, as we head to Maine and Southeastern NH for the Paddlesports Show. Our dogs will get to run on an ocean beach, and be reminded once more that they cannot drink that water! We are hoping for a respectable turnout for our seminars, and we are grateful to Kittery Trading Post staff for allowing us to share our love of canoeing and kayaking with dogs.