The John Wayne Trail at Hyak still has a heavy cover of snow, 5 feet at least. The spring skiing season is going to last a long time. The road to the Kechelus boat landing is plowed, offering another place to park with quicker access to the cold creek trail. I saw people on the lake bed kite-skiing, using parasails to pull them along on skis. That's a new one for me. Official grooming of the JWT has ended and the nordic center is closed. I assume that rules for trail usage are now relaxed, meaning for example that you can take dogs out on the trails now. Sno-park permits are no longer needed to park, and passes are not needed to used the x-c trail system above Hyak. Sno-park permit haters, go crazy!
The reason I mentioned dogs is because I bought Lex the dog a skijoring harness and was anxious to try it out. The "Northstar" sledding harness came from Black Ice Dogsledding Equipment. This store seems like a good outfit; they sent the harness promptly after I ordered it. You can also buy other skijoring stuff like the towline and waistbelt, but I rigged up my own towline using a leash and bungee cord. My backpack served as the waist belt.
The flat JWT seemed a good place to try out skijoring. Lex did o.k. on his first outing, pulling hard enough to add some speed but not hard enough that I could get a free ride. There were some exciting moments when Lex suddenly veered off the trail to chase a squirrel. I had a length of bungee cord on the leash to take up some of the shock, but sometime it was all I could do to avoid a spill. Other times he would halt suddenly--right in my path--to smell some animal droppings or hoof prints. Oh well, maybe I should get an eskimo dog (lex is a shepherd lab mix).
I too tried skijoring this year for the first time. I got a Malamute-Mutt mix late last summer. I had a similar experience. He made the glide last longer but no free ride. We went to the mtn loop. The snowmobile tracks were excellent for it. I found communication to be our major short-coming. I need to work on some basic commands to smooth it out a bit.
The spring skiing season is going to last a long time.
It'll be interesting to see this spring what the snow quality will be like. The quantity is sure there. Hopefully, there will not be just a lot of piles of crud laying around caked with pollen, twigs, soot, etc.. Maybe it'll be like spring and early summer of 1999.
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