Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Report!

Even Sobo is not sure what to do with all of the snow?

As many of you already know, over the course of 72 hours last week, Baltimore received over 50 inches of snow. While the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures sled dogs love snow as do I, I have to admit that I am a little tired of shoveling the white stuff.

The snow began in earnest, I am told, on Saturday, February 6, 2010 and continued depositing, officially, 28 inches of snow in Baltimore. Eric and I did not experience this first "snow event" firsthand since we were still blissfully ensconced in our cabin up in Maine.

Snow on the patio before the Tuesday storm

On Monday morning bright and early, Eric and I departed Maine for Baltimore. Driving south we encountered few problems and arrived in Baltimore, on time, by about 6:30 pm and then the fun really started.

Climbing up our hill was challenging and required four wheel drive since the City of Baltimore had not yet plowed our street. Thankfully, several of our neighbors had private plow services plow them out so the lower portion of our street was at least passable with 4WD. Past our house, the only access was via snow shoes. Our wonderful neighbor, Ethel, allowed us to park on her plowed driveway until we could shovel out a pad on our driveway for the truck to pull into. So at 6:30 pm, Eric and I began carrying gear from a week's worth of dog sledding adventures from the dog truck (aka the Expedition) into the house through nearly 30 inches of un-tracked snow. Thankfully, we had loaded our snow shoes on top of all of the gear in the truck. After bringing in the sled dogs, the cat, Chloe, and any gear that would freeze overnight, Eric and I shoveled the driveway until nearly 1:00 am just to clear a pad long enough (barely) for the truck to park on. After shoveling for what seemed like an eternity, we moved the truck up to our driveway and fell into bed too exhausted to even speak.

At about 4 am the next morning, the City of Baltimore plow arrived to plow a portion of our street. Having left the steepest section of the street un-plowed during the storm, the City plow (a plow tinier than the private plow of the guy who plows our driveway in Maine) could only clear the lower half of the street. Result: You still needed snow shoes to go up Poplar Hill Road past our house. In the process of plowing Poplar Hill and Terrace Glen, the City plow somehow managed to wipe out our mail box.

Awakening bright and early on Tuesday morning, more shoveling was in store for us as I ran to the grocery store to stock up on necessities before the next big storm while Eric began attempting to shovel a path to the Jetta. At about noon on Tuesday, Eric managed to flag down one of our neighbor's plow services and six guys made short work of shoveling out the Jetta, plowing the driveway, and shoveling out from behind the garage (and area that can't be plowed). After clearing the driveway, we spent some time shoveling snow off the gutters which by this time were hanging onto the house by a precipitous thread. All of this occurred just in time for the next big storm.

The house after the Saturday storm and before the Tuesday storm

Beginning of the Tuesday storm

As blizzard warnings buzzed over the airways and yet another big nor'easter took aim at the mid-atlantic, Eric and I hunkered down to wait out the next big storm. Due to the high (50 MPH) winds that would accompany this storm, we also prepared to be without power.

At about 1 pm on Tuesday it began snowing and did not stop until late Wednesday night. During that time, we picked up another 23 inches of snow. During this time, Eric and I would go outside every 2-3 hours and shovel another four, five or six inches of snow off the driveway. Who thought taking the snow blower up to Maine was a good idea? As the snow tapered off, the winds accelerated. Snow laden trees waved back and forth threateningly. While we lost several branches during the Saturday and Tuesday storms, a couple of small trees, and one 20 foot cedar, thankfully, we did not have any big trees come down in the storm as many of our neighbors did. We also did not lose power during the Tuesday storm and, according to our neighbor, were only without power after the Saturday storm for about three hours.

The giant snow bank at the end of both storms

For those of you who are math challenged: 28 inches + 23 inches = 51 inches of 72 hours. After the Tuesday blizzard wrapped up, on the year, Baltimore had received more snow than Buffalo, NY, Caribou, ME, Chicago, IL, and a host of other traditionally snowy east coast and midwest cities.

The tunnel of snow we must drive through to go down our driveway

Thursday and Friday, we finally ventured out to check out the trails for our dog sledding programs that were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Arriving at the Monkton station on the NCR trail, we discovered that there were no tracks on the trail. Breaking out the snow shoes once again, Eric and I strapped in and headed up trail. Anyone who has snowshoed, knows that snowshoeing, especially in deep snow, is insanely hard. Up and down the trail we went for about 4 hours, packing the trail. On Friday morning, we returned for another 4 hours of trail packing.

Just in case, 51 inches of snow was not enough, we are presently (as of 5 pm on Monday, February 15th) under a winter weather advisory and are getting hit with an Alberta Clipper. Unlike a nor'easter, however, clippers usually only deliver several inches of snow and this one is forecast to deliver anywhere from 1-3 inches of snow in our area.

On a happier note, the abundance of snow has meant that we have been running our dog sledding tours, rides and programs using our dog sleds and on snow instead of dryland, using our wheeled dog sleds (called "rigs" or "gigs"). Stay tuned for more photos and stories from our recent dog sledding adventures.