Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hooper Bay 2010 OOOOO

Now that the weather is reasonable again, we're having our own Olympics up here! And the medals go to those of us who can have the most fun. It's a fun fest! :)

 It's been fun experimenting how to best combine kids, dogs, skis, and sled -- the girls have had fun and Esther has felt very official giving me feedback on the different methods.
Our breakthrough e-bay buy has been giving Esther a headstart into the world of ice dancing (she likes that way better than the term "figure skating"!):  double-bladed skates!
 They are perfect training-wheels, as they are much more stable than one blade. Usually by this time of year, there are high drifts of snow everywhere, but we have had such a sparse year of snow that I was able to scrape the snow off the frozen pond right behind our house and clear an ice patch just the right size for her.
 She is working on learning the "push-glide" movement and giggling a lot in the meantime. And when she falls, she gets back up and tries again.  Makes a momma proud. :)
I wish there were double-bladed skates for adults.  Believe me, I've googled it; the sizes go from 8-13 in toddler. *sigh* -- Re-learning to skate is a lot harder when you're bigger and have more to balance -- and more weight to hit when you fall!
 But the good thing about re-learning something alongside your kindergartener is that you show her that it's never too late to learn a new skill.  And by practicing with her, I remembered that figure-8 trick that we used to do before we knew how to push-glide that really improves your balance.  Yay for wholesome outdoor family activities.

However, my big focus for the spring is to learn how to "ski-jior", which is basically hooking up your dog to your belt while you're on skis.  First, I thought, I'd better get practiced up in skiing once again -- I haven't skiied in ten years -- but turns out it's much easier than remembering how to ice skate, that's for sure!
 Also, Jill & Jeremy gave me some advice on how to get the dogs prepped for this venture -- although the dogs pulled the sled last winter some, they never really got much into it because as I was working with them, poor Draco had his second mange outbreak and so I focused on getting him healthy first (supposedly he will now be healthy for good as he has grown into adulthood by now).  So a few Sundays ago, I hooked them up to some light logs, just for some nice weight for them to pull.  Fancy took to it like it was nothing, but Draco felt he was being punished -- poor pitiful thing!

So after practicing that a bit, I just decided to take the plunge and see how Fancy and I did together -- I always thought Draco, loyal, trustworthy, calm Draco would be the one I'd ski-jior with, but if he thinks he's in trouble while doing it, it's no fun!  So I decided to try Fancy.  She was not exactly thrilled at first:

 But soon she got into it -- enough -- and it was a great first experiment.  She was a little trepidatious when she felt my weight on the other end of the rope, and would stop trotting forward -- but that was OK, because it made a slow and steady first try.  There was one time she totally forgot she was hooked to me and veered drastically to the left to smell something exciting and knocked me down.  But it worked out fine -- she saw me fall and took the opportunity to lick me to death.  We also had a few tangle incidents, but I predict that we will have the hang of it soon.  And then the snow will melt! :)

 I'll end with some beautiful shots of our recent gorgeous sky (made even more beautiful with two gorgeous girls!):
 And I'll leave you to ponder this last one -- a great celestial arrow, or the heavens flipping us the bird?


~Kim~ said...

I enjoyed reading about your Olympics and outdoor fun!! We have been hit with a lot of snow here in Virginia, and I've told everyone that it feels and like Alaska!! I guess this is where your snow is! :-) Stay warm!!

Anonymous said...

We've had more snow here in Oklahoma than you have had in your part of Alaska, but the good thing is our snow is already gone and our high temp today was about 52! Enjoyed reading about your outdoor fun, but I gotta ask...weren't your feet cold in those skates? There doesn't look like much room for thick socks!


flying fish said...

My old lady dog would think she was being punished if I asked her to pull me. That picture of the dog laying down next to the stick...that's my dog too! Have you seen the blog Yukon Yahoos? It's a woman in Whitehorse with a dog team, lots of fun skijoring there!

TwoYaks said...

Poor Draco! He looks like you've gone and done something awful to him! Maybe seeing Fancy have fun will convince him? A lot of dogs learn from watching other dogs...

Bev said...

I just love reading about your Alaskan life and seeing your photos. We've had a lot of snow here in Chicago this winter but so has much of the country.

Thanks for taking time to share!

Finnskimo said...

Oh my gosh, I have been ski-joring with our lab for a couple of years. We loves it! haha. I do exactly what you do, hook the dog up to a loooooong rope, then hook the sled up to a looong rope and hook myself up in the middle! Kaisa loves to ride on a caribou skin in the sled!

P.S. we haven't had much snow either, so we have a great big "rink" across the street!

Safire said...

Looks like a lot of fun! We've had a ton of snow here...but no room to do fun things like you are. :)

*mary* said...

Hi Cate, awesome post as usual. ;)

Oh- I am sending out the sketchbook to the first person who responded and I'm including a list of all the bloggers who wanted to participate, so yours is on there. That means that at some point someone will be coming here to your blog and asking for your address so they can send it to you!

Cate said...

Thanks everyone for commenting!

Mary -- totally psyched about the book, and looking forward to hearing from who is before me and sending it to who is next! :)

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