Thursday, January 31, 2013

Laid Back January

Not many blog posts this month as we laid pretty low on the weekends without any major adventures.  After Leo’s first backcountry experience we took him back up to Timberline with us for a day of bluebird skiing while he chilled in the car.  Emily and I found some great snow out of bounds and took a couple fun runs until I lost her and she ended up skiing far off down the mountain.  She called me and I told her to backtrack up her tracks.  

She then spent the next 2 hours on a spirit quest in the woods making her way out while I was lucky enough to meet up with Rob and Kate from Corvallis randomly and get a bunch more laps in.   Poor Emily.  When we were getting ready to leave we let Leo runaround the snow by the parking lot plenty before we met up with Chris, Arley and her roomates at Charlies in Government Camp for some dinner.  The bar tender was a complete ass so I didn’t tip him or order food while we were there.  Arley’s roomates were totally stoked to meet Leo and he was excited to see Chris again too.  

The following weekend was a surprise 3 day MLK weekend for me and Emily as WSI let us know we could have the day off last minute.  This worked out good for us as Leo got snipped on Friday morning so we needed to stay with him all weekend while he wore his “cone of shame”.  It was so sad to see him banging around the house with that awful plastic around his neck that they called “an elizabethan collar”.... He couldn’t hold any of his toys down with his paws and I think he was depressed with it.  We took him for a walk and every time he sniffed the ground the damn thing acted like a shovel scooping everything right up with it into his neck.  He didn’t seem in much pain and we made sure he got his medicines as he needed them and we picked up a bunch of treats to spoil him with during his recovery.  On Monday night, 4 days prior to when we were told to take the cone off we couldn’t take it any more and removed it keeping an eye on him.  He didn’t bother his stitches so I left it off when I went to work on Tuesday and he was just fine.

On Friday the 25th we headed down to the Dixie outside of Shedd, OR near Corvallis for Sarah’s big 30th birthday bash.  They had tons of food prepared and a whole gang of her friends were there.  We went to the Dixie for some beers and to sing karaoke.  Holm sang Jimi Hendrix if I remember right and Sarah and Adam’s friend Bill was a big hit as karaoke appeared to be his favorite thing in live.  At around midnight Emily and said our goodbyes and headed into town to stay at Kevin and Alexa’s who ironically were actually staying at our place in Ridgefield for the night.  It was a convenient house trade.   

When we got back to our place on Saturday they stayed over again to look for tattoo artists.  Emily and I met with Videographer on our way back to Ridgefield on Saturday so we all decided to get some Sushi in town and chill back at the house for a great relaxing night with our old housemates.  Leo and Dromi got along great together although I think Dromi wanted him to play a bit more with her.  On Sunday Emily and I got up and had a fun afternoon skiing at Timberline again in good weather, this time without her getting lost :).

Finally, to end the month, my friends Logan and Eric headed to Ski Bowl on a Tuesday night after what was supposed to be an epic storm on Mount Hood.  We were hoping for some deep powder but what we found was about a foot and a half of white cake frosting all over the mountain.  So thick and heavy that skiing through it was almost like skiing bumps.  We did find a few fun drops off a cliff band but even with a slope under them we all came to nearly dead stops due to how thick it was.  Instead of skiing the whole time we found ourselves at the base enjoying a couple pitchers of good beer and chatting.  Before the lifts closed we got a couple more runs in while it rained on us.  Regardless of the weather and crazy thick snow we had a great time skiing together.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Leo's First Backcountry Ski Trip

Today we took Leo with us to Skibowl.  We met Holm at the resort around 11am and took some Upper Bowl runs with him until about 2pm when we headed down for some sandwiches and to take Leo for his first trip on snow.  The conditions weren’t that great at the resort so we didn’t hesitate to put our energy towards testing out Leo rather than continuing to ride the lifts.

We left from the parking lot at Skibowl and headed down the trail along the road around 2:45pm.  We kept him on leash just because we didn’t dare risk the chance of him darting out into traffic.  We quickly found out that he was better off behind Emily chasing her and in front of me.  Otherwise he preferred to walk alongside us and our skis which was awkward on the narrow path.  I kept a close eye on him and made sure my skis didn’t run into his back legs in front of me as he pulled me along.  When we got to the trailhead we put on our skins and headed across a narrow bridge over a stream that clearly made Leo very nervous.  

Once over the bridge we let him off leash to test him out on a trail and as usual for Leo he did great!  Not only did he keep an eye on us and stay with us but he also came directly back to us on every call!  As before, he did very well with all the other dogs he encountered on the trail.  What he didn’t do so well with, at least initially, was his footing in the snow he wasn’t used to.  He would often sink in and later while running would faceplant hard with each misstep.  

When we got to mirror lake he learned to his delight that he could eat the snow he was running on and started chompin down mouthfuls until I brought some water over for him.  That was when he also learned the joy of chomping snowballs I threw at him!  After resting for a bit we pulled off our skins and headed down the trail with our heels locked down in alpine mode.  I took the lead as I was faster and to my disbelief Leo kept up with me the entire way down the trail, often at a full run behind me with tongue hanging out and looking extremely happy.  At the bottom he showed no sign of a limp, was free of snow in his fur and actually didn’t look too tired.  This dog IS AMAZING IN SNOW,  We are so happy that he liked it, stayed with us, and kept up with us easily.  Next test: Mountain Biking.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Leo at Oswald West State Park

After being couped up in the car all the previous night we wanted to make it up to Leo by taking him to the beach to romp around for a bit on our drive back home.  After a great breakfast of crab bisque that Megan and Lindsay had made Kevin suggested we check out Oswald West on our way out.  It took some driving up north from Oceanside to get to the park but it was well worth it.  I don’t think Leo had been to the ocean before as he was confused upon licking the water and was definitely scared of the sea foam in the waves.  With some encouragement he followed me out with the waves and then ran back with me when they came crashing in.  

We hesitated taking him off leash but then decided to give it a go and were happily surprised that he both played well with the other dogs on the beach and came back to us on first call every time.  We also found out that he occasionally likes to chase sticks and bring them back to us.  He was certainly concerned more with where we were than the other dogs on the beach which was also a plus.  This dog just seems to get better and better with everything we test him with.

Instead of heading back across the coast range we decided to head north to Astoria to check out the Goonie house and head over the very cool bridge there.  Emily hadn’t been to Astoria yet so it was new to her.  Over the bridge we had a great view back towards Astoria with Saddle Mountain looming over it.  We had no idea how prevalent Saddle Mountain was in the view from Astoria.  If it had been better weather when we climbed it last December we would have had spectacular views.  The Goonie house wasn’t anything to write home about so we didn’t even get out of the car.  We followed the Columbia back from Astoria and I got to briefly see the lights of Emily’s mill in the darkness as we passed by it on the same route she takes home every day.... it is definitely a long commute for her.