Archive for the ‘Skijoring & Sledding’ Categoryby Northernmost on March 5, 2012 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Leia, Skijoring & Sledding, Thunder, Tuisku with No Comments
After a couple of days with cold temps the trails are hard again and Thunder, Tuisku and Leia have been out sledding during the weekend. This winter we try to avoid lakes and rivers as much as possible as ice conditions remain extremely unsafe due to the mild weather we had in the beginning of the season. Instead we have been exploring the forests near the coast, searching the map for long, uninterrupted stretches with few road crossings. So far we have been trying out a new trail almost every week, which is great for the dogs who get extra energetic when exploring new territories. We hope the weather will stay cold during the 4 weeks before we travel up to Lapland for our spring vacation. Would be great if we could get in top form for the big trails.
March has arrived with southern winds and above zero temperatures. There’s no risk our snow will disappear completely as we have plenty of it, but the trails are mushy and wet and we need a couple of days of cold weather before we can hit the trail again. I’ve added some mixed photos from the last few days; before the mild weather arrived we went on a skijoring excursion with Titan and Gem, exploring the trails of a neighbouring village. There are also a few pics of Hilary and Lyra hanging out in their playarea. The pups play outside for a few hours each day and then we bring them inside for the night. The original plan was to let them move outdoors permanently around this age but we’ve become so used to having them in our kitchen that I’m not sure we’re ready to let them move outdoors just yet. Are we spoiling them??? Nooooooo….
We introduced our puppies to sledding today and they did great! The sun was shining from a clear blue sky and the trail was hard-packed and frozen so the conditions were perfect for hooking up Hilary and Lyra in front of the sled. Tuisku worked in single lead and did a good job of keeping the gangline tight and showing the girls how it’s done. We only let the pups run a tiny distance since they are still young, instead the purpose of training right now is to get them accustomed to the set up and make sure they look forward to their next time in harness. Lyra and Hilary showed they are natural sled dogs by keeping their tuglines tight and staying focused on the trail ahead. Well done pups!!
Mild weather and punchy snow – not ideal conditions for sledding but Tuisku, Leia and Thunder nevertheless had a nice day out on the trail today.
Our Big Bear, Leia, will be seven years old next week (February 27th) while Tuisku and Thunder have their birthdays in July; Tuisku will be seven while Thunder will be eight. Where have the years gone??
I hope they will stay healthy and be able to work in harness for many years to come.
Today it was time for Lyra and Hilary’s second run in harness and they did amazingly well. I tried to keep them at a steady trot but it was hard as they were eager to run. Below are some mixed pics from today, it was a beautiful Sunday!
You can view a short clip of the pups on YouTube:
We usually prefer skijoring to sledding but when the temperature drops below -30C it’s quite nice to dress up in heavy winter gear and stand on the runners in warm boots instead. Today I hooked up Leia, Tuisku and Thunder and went for a trip along the Lake Trail. The pale winter sun accompanied us for a while before sinking behind the treetops. This time of the year, everywhere you look is white and blue and beautiful…
This week’s cold spell has finally made the ice on the lake thick enough for safe skijoring. We had -34C (-29F) this morning but it didn’t feel that bad when I got out in the sunshine with Thunder and Leia. I love the open expanses of the lake, it’s a great sense of freedom being able to skijor in any direction. We’ll probably make another trip tomorrow.
Winter weekends are all about getting out on the trail, no matter the weather. Today we took Leia, Thunder and Tuisku out for a nice 10-mile ride (16km) along the forest trail. A couple of village kids passed us by on snowmobiles and wanted to say hello to the dogs, something which Thunder in particular really enjoyed. We also encountered two elk cows on the track – I had to hold on to Tuisku with both hands and unfortunately couldn’t take any pictures but they are BIG animals! We’re soon going out to feed the dogs their supper and then we’ll spend some time in the playarea before it’s time to call it a day. Feels like the dogs have had a good mix of work and play this weekend and we’ve had plenty of exercise. Now we’re hoping next week will bring clear blue skies and sunshine!
Nordiclight’s Thunder, WTD, WPD & Snowhow Shade of Raven, WTD
We have had lots of now lately and the groomed trails of last week are all gone. This didn’t stop us from going on a skijoring ride through the forest this morning. The big trees were blanketed heavily with snow, branches bending under the weight, creating a fairytale world in white. It was so still and quiet that we could hear birds sing deep into the woods. I wish everyone could experience a morning like this as it was true magic. Of course it was hard, sweaty work getting anywhere in the deep snow but that’s part of the fun. We had a warm cup of tea when we got back home and watched the Tour de Ski on television. Can’t get enough of winter!
We put on our skis today and worked our way through the snow clad forest in search of new trails for our working activities. So far this winter the local snowmobile club hasn’t been out preparing any trails so our Mals had to plough through heavy snow while we followed behind on our backcountry skis. It was hard work and we didn’t travel very fast but this kind of “discovery skijoring” is good fun and a great way of training commands, as the dogs have to collaborate well to pass trees without getting tangled (we didn’t use any necklines today) and when there is no trail to follow one quickly finds out if they REALLY know their left from their right. The weather was mostly cloudy and grey but we were welcomed by a beautiful pink sky as we reached the ocean.
Fun in the snow, followed by dinner at Grandma’s – what better way to celebrate Epiphany?
Well done to our hardworking buddies Keikewabic’s Tundra Tuisku and Mtn Home’s Northernmost Gem for completing the requirements for their AMCA Working Team Dog Excellent Titles!!! During our two most recent trips Titan (Sledog Mountainous Peak) came along to support his friends and accumulate miles for his own future title – a big well done also to Titan for his excellent work on the trail! We had a fantastic Easter in the mountains, skijoring the Kebnekaise-loop during four days. We entered the mountains from Nikkaluokta via the Vistas River Valley, and passed Vistas, Nallo, Sälka, Singi and Keb during our trip, before returning to Nikkaluokta via the Laddju River Valley.
The first night on the trail – camping in Vistas.
Our second day – with the magnificent Stuor Reaiddávággi in the background.
Visit our KEBNEKAISE EXPEDITION GALLERY to see more photos from this fantastic trip!
We picked the right day for our Torne River excursion; brilliant sunshine and just a couple of degrees below zero – April at its best! The Torne River is a major highway for dog teams and snowmobiles travelling from the interior of Swedish Lapland to the mountains of the north. The river runs through the village of Jukasjärvi (home to the famous Icehotel) before reaching the village of Kurravaara, which was the starting point of our trip. We had brought Tuisku and Thunder along and they did great in harness. We skijored up to the Alajaure Nature Reserve and had a truly wonderful day out on the ice!
This was one of my favourite skijoring trips of the season – so far!