Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Maine Dog Sledding Adventures: Exploring New Trails.

Eric and the Maryland Sled Dog Adventures team head down the Lemon Stream trail.

Continuing our Maine adventures, on Thursday, Eric headed out to run the newly discovered Lemon Stream trail with the whole sled dog team.

Another twisty, turning trail that the sled dogs LOVE.

Lemon Stream Trail

The first issue we faced was how to cross the plowed road that the cabin sits on since this particular trail picks up on the opposite side of the road from the cabin. One option was to head down the Tie trail directly from the cabin, take a "haw" (left) at the end of the tie trail, make a diagonal road crossing, and pick up the Lemon Stream trail. After discussing it, Eric and I discarded this option in favor of the safer albeit more cumbersome and time consuming option of loading the dogs onto the dog truck and taking the truck the couple of hundred feet or so down the cabin road, and parking it directly adjacent to the trail. Since this was our first run, we decided to play it safe.

After positioning the truck adjacent to the trail, Eric hooked up a five dog team of Acadia and Gypsy in lead, Luke in team, and Okemo and Sobo in wheel and headed out for what was to ultimately end up being a 15 mile run with 1800 feet of elevation gain! Along the way, Eric even drew a rough map of the trails and kept track of distances on the interconnecting trails. No easy feat when driving five raring to go sled dogs.

Hooking up the dogs on the Lemon Stream trail. Luke, as always, is raring to go.

There they go!

On Friday, we picked up approximately a foot of new snow at the cabin followed by 20-30 MPH winds. Remarkably, we did not lose power during any portion of the storm. As a result, most of Friday was spent shoveling, snow blowing (until the snow blower died. Note: never purchase a Troy Bilt (Tecumseh) snow blower), and hanging out with the sled dogs who were all cuddled up nice and warm inside the cabin.

The offending Tecumseh snow blowing machine is only about five years old and has only blown snow about ten times and now appears to have a broken connecting rod (which is apparently quite common on Troy Bilt/Tecumseh snow blowers)

Blazing fire in the wood stove kept the cabin toasty throughout the storm

T-Bone hangs out in the cabin during the storm

Acadia decides a nap is in order.

Saturday morning, dawned clear and very cold with temperatures slightly below zero. After it warmed up a bit, Eric headed out on the newly fallen snow for a four mile run up the Power Line trail and down the other side of the Power Line trail in the deep powder. Along for this run, was puppy monster, Sammi, who Eric reported pulled hard the whole time while breaking trail though the deep snow. Acadia and Gypsy ran lead, Sammi and Okemo ran in team, and Sobo and Luke ran in wheel. The remainder of Saturday was spent cleaning and packing up the cabin so that we could head home early Sunday morning.

Post run, Sammi had plenty of energy left over for mischief. Just look at that face!

We even cleaned the ceiling fan!

More Maine Dog Sledding Adventures: Sammi's first run.

Sammamish's first dog sled run

After our wonderful Maine Winter Cabin Adventure, Eric and I spent another week in Maine enjoying spending time with our wonderful sled dogs.

Kicking the week off, on Tuesday, Eric headed out with Sobo for a 12 mile skijor and some trail exploration on what we now call the Lemon Stream trail. Last year, due to poor snow conditions, the Lemon Stream trail was unrunnable. This year, however, the snow conditions have been good with consistently low temperatures, and we discovered this awesome new trail with unique challenges (including crossing a frozen Lemon Stream) which the dogs just love.

After discovering the Lemon Stream trail, we decided to head over to Mt. Blue State Park in Weld, Maine on Wednesday, for what we planned as Sammamish's (Kiana's Sammamish) first run in harness. Typically, we start puppies in harness, with very short fun runs at approximately six to eight months of age. It just so happened that the day we headed over to Mt. Blue was Sammi's six month birthday! Happy Birthday, Sammi-doodle.

When we tried on our smallest dogbooties.com harness (our teal harness) on Sammi it was a near perfect fit for the not so little, little guy. As we harnessed all of the dogs and hooked the team up, Sammi became progressively more excited. He wasn't even interested in the loop on the harness back by his tail which is very unusual for most new pups in harness. In fact, as soon as we hooked Sammi to the line, he began is trademark screaming (to go). And as soon as we pulled the snow hook, screamin' Sammi was all business. Nary a look back at Mom or an attempt to mess with any of the other dogs. He was ready to go!

Sammi being a puppy. Now just look where he has chased the cat, Chloe. (yes, that is one of the beams that runs the width of the cabin and is over two stories above the ground).

Screaming Sammamish

Since this was Sammi's first run, the plan was for me to take the team about one mile down the trail, take Sammi off the team, and meet up with Eric who would then continue on with the veteran sled dogs on a 20 mile loop through the scenic western Maine woods. At just a little over one mile on the GPS, I pulled the team over, hooked them down, and set out water bowls for the sled dogs to get a drink. Shortly thereafter, Eric arrived and headed out with the rest of the team on a challenging 20 mile loop while I walked back to the trail head with Sammi.

Here they come: Eric heads out with the veteran dogs for the rest of the 20 miler.

And there they go!

Scenic views right from the trail head parking lot.

Just one of the gorgeous trails at Mt. Blue

Sammi after his very first run in harness

More views right from the parking lot: Snow-capped Maine peaks

Eric and I are both very proud of how Maryland Sled Dog Adventures' newest member did in harness this first time out.