I’m sure many of you will agree that February was a cold,
cold month. At least it sure was on the west side of the continent. Even the
low elevation parts of Arizona, the places we normally spend the winter, had cold
and snow. And February’s cold extended into March and is just now, finally,
looking like it’s going to let us be.
The cold weather did ground us a few times, when the wind-chill
was just too nasty. We’d go out for a little while to tend to horses but then
come right back to the house instead of heading out for a walk or a snowshoe.
But, sprinkled very sparingly into the long cold stretch, were a few days that sneaked into the single digit temperatures (still below zero Celsius, of course.) On those days, we went skiing!
I’ve skied with T many times across the prairie. When there’s
enough snow to cover the rocks and stubble, it’s her favourite way to get
around in winter. Logan used to come too, back when he was better able to
manage the deep snow, and T would sometimes attach one of us or other to a
strap around her waist so that we’d stay close. Now that was entertaining! I
may be a Heeler but I’m not much for heeling.
Anyway, the skiing this year hasn’t been on the flat of the prairie but out in the foothills of the Rockies. The biggest difference? Man, do they go fast as soon as there’s even a slight downhill section of the trail. I can’t remember the last time I did so much running. Lucky for me, the peeps aren’t in great skiing shape so we didn’t tackle any steep or lengthy trails, but I was still exhausted by the end.
The first ski day, a couple of weeks ago, was my big test.
They told me if I didn’t wander off the trail, bother other skiers, or cause
any wipeouts, they’d bring me again. I almost blew it early on, trotted across
the trail in front of T when I smelled something in the woods. If we’d been on
a flat section it would have been fine but we were on a downhill and she was
going pretty fast. It was more of a side-swipe than a dead hit so we both stayed
on our feet, and I learned my lesson. Don’t cross in front of the skier. In the
end, I passed with flying colours, got a bunch of praise and treats. It was a
We went out to the Bragg Creek Trails again this past Tuesday. The trail was a little tougher, more work going up for all of us, and I had to really hustle on the downhill section. What makes it possible for me to keep up is that the trails are all very well packed so it’s almost like running on bare earth. In the deep snow I’d be done for.
Again, I stayed on the trail, out of the way, and with the skiers. Another gold-star day! This is a good thing because I hear we’re headed out for a bigger ski trip next week, to the Cypress Hills, and I don’t want to be left behind in the trailer or the truck every day.
Yesterday made five months since Logan died. In some ways, life without him has become normal but there’s still this empty place in our lives, the place he used to occupy.
That he left at the end of September was good planning on
his part, if he had any kind of plan. Winter would have been a struggle,
especially this past month of colder than normal temperatures. I imagine him
somewhere warm and sunny with soft, green grass, plenty of shady spots, and
loose soil easy for digging dens.
One of the things I miss most about my old pal is his way of
seeing the world around us, not always accurate but regularly entertaining.
Our first experience with an ocean beach was on the coast of
California north of San Diego. Wide open space to run, plenty of other dogs,
Cold, noisy, salty water that chases you — not my idea of a good time. To me, the beach didn’t seem so different from the desert, except that there were more people and it was a lot noisier. These big waves were crashing in on the shore and the water would race right up at me! Very unsettling.
We were still on the coast for New Year’s Eve that trip and
the peeps took us for a walk on the beach, early to avoid the fireworks … or so
they thought …
The sky lit up and started to explode in all directions with the loudest popping and banging I’ve ever heard! I tried to head for the houses that were all along the beach, thinking someone would take pity on a poor, frightened dog, but Teresa and Nollind kept pulling me back to them, out there in the open, exposed to the terror! It felt like the longest walk of my life and I was never happier to see our trailer. I don’t see how terrifying dogs is a good way to celebrate anything — I may never understand the human species.
I love to lie in the sun (Nollind sometimes calls me Sunny
D), soak it up through my red and white coat. But hot, sunny days were a
different deal for my buddy Logan …
Have you ever tried wearing a black fur coat on a hot, sunny day? Yeah, well, I don’t recommend it. When I was young it seemed like a smart idea to be well-dressed for any occasion, but that was before we started spending winters in the south.
Logan was pretty much impervious to snow for the first five
years I knew him, but when he got older …
I’ve been stuck in the snow more than once so I mostly tend to stay on the road and driveway. I actually got stuck head first in the yard when I tried to get to one of my caragana dens. Teresa had to put her boots on and come pull me out. I used to love the snow, but that was before it became my enemy.