Five inches of new fluffy snow, on top of a deep, weather-resistant (we had a few days of rain) snowpack…but with the temperatures at 5 below zero, we will wait until later today to get the dogs out for their hike. We will utilize dog booties, paw wax, dog coats…all the necessary accoutrements , plus these are the final days of having to wear orange for hunting season safety. If it becomes a short snowshoe outing, no matter, since the dogs have been busily taking advantage of all our early season snow and we have over 20 days snowshoeing already!
Snowvember. That is what they were calling it. November 2018. It began as a pretty typical month, with drizzly, grey, wet weather ,with maybe an occasional dusting of short-lasting snow. Our stick season hikes were tolerable (the dogs just enjoy getting out in any weather), but not particularly noteworthy.
We paddled until November 13th (our 131st day on the water), and had to stop paddling once the snow made access to the launch sites impassible. The water had begun to show some icing in, but this year we did not have to actually break through ice to paddle.
Some late season paddling ( safely ensconced in dry suit, neoprene booties, and the dogs in neoprene vests under their life jackets)
There were a few days overlap between paddling and snowshoeing seasons…paddle one day, snowshoe the next, then paddle again. However, early snowshoeing required heading up to the mountain and higher elevations. However, by November 16th, we were back snowshoeing our regular winter trails! And in the most amazing conditions! Deep snow! Heavy snow! Soft snow! We have been working hard, plowing through the beautiful white stuff, dealing with a few very cold days, and a few rainy days, but so far the season seems to be one for the record books. Once hunting season is over, and the XC ski trails are groomed, we hope to have epic skijoring conditions, too. The quick onslaught of winter really resulted in an abbreviated bikejor season, but the dogs should be in great shape from all their hard work in the snow so far.
We are once again serving as Tubbs Snowshoe Ambassadors! We love our selection of Tubbs snowshoes, and they carry us through whatever conditions we may face. Check out our information, and lots of other helpful snowshoe tips, on the tubbssnowshoes.com site! We are also going to be testing out and reviewing some new dog gear for trailspace.com, the best site for honest and helpful gear reviews for all outdoor activities!
One of the really cool things we monitor each winter is the development of the ice falls on one of our favorite local trails….This is what we have so far. Since we hit up this trail a few times a month, check our facebook page ( Vermont Paddle Pups) for the ongoing photo report!
#1 Gryphon and Edgar were both brought to Vermont from South Carolina kill shelters, by our local animal shelter the North Country Animal League. Last summer, NCAL asked if we could share our story for a PETCO company Holiday Wishes Contest, in hopes of winning a financial grant for NCAL. Well, proud to announce that Gryphon was selected, and we earned a $5000.00 grant for NCAL! Gryphon also was able to go to the local PETCO store to receive his own shopping spree, and get lots of the publicity photos taken. He was initially a bit unnerved by all the attention, bright lights, and slippery floor in the store…but walking all the treat aisles, with all the accompanying odors, really made him happy! Here is a link to the PETCO site and Gryphon’s contribution.
#2 Edgar and Gryphon are featured as the “Dogs of August” in the fund-raising calendar for our Veterinary Clinic. They proudly grace the calendar, which is sold to raise money for a veterinary care assistance fund. And, our former Agility instructor has her dog in the calendar too!
So, our winter begins in earnest. We will once again spend the New Year celebrating in an off-grid cabin in the wilds of the Northeast Kingdom, snowshoeing right out the door. This year, we certainly are hoping for temperatures a bit more welcoming that we had last year (over 20 below). We are also planning on trying out a different remote hut in the Kingdom, later in the winter, with access to some of our favorite trails in the more northeastern part of the state.
We are so fortunate to live in a part of the country that provides us with endless recreational opportunities. Winter here can be very looooong, and if we did not go out and play in the weather, it would be an intolerable wait for spring. So while the canoes and kayaks hibernate, and the paddles decorate our walls, we hit the trails and mountains for a Vermonters ideal winter!
Merry Chrismas and Happy New Year…On to 2019!