Saturday, January 9, 2010

freezing rain and other stuff

Woke up today to a dusting of snow and freezing rain, sigh, welcome to the Northwest.  Sometimes it just seems like "mother nature" can't decide what to do.   First it will be cold, with wondrous fluffy dry snow, the next minute it is raining, the next it is foggy, then cold, then raining.....My least favorite would be freezing rain though!

Nonetheless because of the wonders of modern weather forecasting, knowing that this day might be a good day to stay put, we enjoyed two wonderful days on the trails in brisk cold temps and fresh snow.  Thursday Bob and I drove up to Fernan Saddle, which is above Fernan lake, and a very popular take off point for local snowmobilers on the weekends.  During the week, it is quiet and a wonderful place to snowshoe, ski or dog sled.  We've lived here and trained our dogs for almost 10 years before we discovered how nice this place was.  I think I always assumed it would be so crowded since it is close to town.   Finally last year we drove up with our snow machine and toured some of the trails.  The views were absolutely spectacular.  This year, with snow confined to higher elevations or very favored locations we have come back, this time with our dogs.

What a treat we were in for.  The skies were crystal clear and the views, well incredible.  From the Fernan Saddle area one can see in all directions, west to Spokane, Mt Spokane, Rathdrum Mountain, south and west towards Coeur d'Alene Lake, east towards Montana.  The snow was cold and dry.  The temperatures were brisk, in the low twenties, warm enough for our comfort but still cold enough for the dogs.

On thursday Bob and I both took sleds out and on our first run we ended up doing about 8 miles round trip.  It was one of those trips where it was just so beautiful I didn't want to turn around so I kept going....even though I realized that the dogs and I might regret this on the way back.  Most years 8 miles wouldn't be a big deal at all for this time of year, but we have not put that many miles on the dogs this year.  They seemed to have the same feeling we did as we were out, and were not eager to turn around.

It was so beautiful thursday, we drove back and repeated our adventure on friday.  Once again the temperatures were perfect, the sun was shining and we were treated to views in all directions.  Best yet the trail groomer left us with a track of perfect powder.  I took out two teams once again, first 6 samoyeds and second a mixed team of siberian and alaskan huskies.  Friday I started out with Rose and Donner at lead.  Donner had ended up in lead on thurs and I wanted to see how he might do right from the start.  Well, he let me know just exactly what he thought, not much!  So we stopped and Miss Willow took his place in the place of honor (I try to convince all of the dogs that but somehow they just don't seem to believe me....).  Willow led with Rose to our turnaround spot, at which point I decided to switch her out with Blizzard, Donner's brother.  Blizzard is one of my most rock solid workers.  I have not had him in lead much at all.  When he was younger, he was clearly uncomfortable with this position; however as he has run for several years, his confidence has grown along with his tremendous physical capabilities.  Blizzard was clearly quite comfortable with his new role this day!

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