Let me tell you the story of snow in my piece of Vermont, mostly through photos with brief descriptions.
January was frigid. Trust me, it was cold. Temperatures dipping close to -30F a couple of nights, well below zero most nights, and some days not making it above zero. Add wind gusts of 15-30 mph and wind chills kept my dogs and me huddling inside most of most days. It snowed off and on, and when the weather allowed, we enjoyed getting out in the fields and woods across the road.
Then, in a 24-hour period starting the night of February 3rd, it snowed. And snowed. When it finally stopped there was 18 inches of new snow. On top of the 9-12 inches that was already there.
Prior to the storm, the snow was manageable and fun. By the end of January there was maybe a foot of snow on the ground. The boys and I enjoyed our walks through the fields and woods across the road, me on snowshoes. Some hilltops were scoured bare of snow from the strong winds, other places held deep drifts, but it was never so deep that we couldn’t navigate our way through. Conall would willingly break trail, me following his meandering route (often following critter tracks). Always, Conall’s routes eventually took us right over the trails we follow the rest of the year when snow isn’t blanketing the landscape. Finn followed in my snowshoe tracks for better footing on his aging legs and joints.
Then the storm arrived. And dumped lots and lots of snow.
The next few days were either too cold, too windy, too snowy, or a combination of those things for the boys and I to want to venture out into the fields and woods. Conall and I ran on the plowed roads, but otherwise, we all just played in the yard until finally, on February 9th, the sun reappeared and the temperatures were tolerable (for me). I strapped on my snowshoes and we headed out.
I have now learned that in addition to Conall’s keen sense of direction and place, he has the ability to suss where the snow is least deep. So, I let him set our course, and follow his tracks, even when it doesn’t seem he’s going the right direction. This makes for meandering routes, but we always eventually get where I want us to go (the usual trails when there isn’t snow) with the least amount of floundering.
As we neared the tree line I stopped to take a couple photos. Conall followed critter tracks a few yards, then came back to me. Rather than resuming the lead toward the break through the trees, he positioned himself behind me and sat down on the backs of my snowshoes, looking back the way we’d come. He’s never done this before.
It was obvious to me Conall was making a statement: “Let’s go home.”
So, we did.
But it was such a gorgeous day! Sunny! Not too cold! Not too windy!
I figured Conall and I, without Finn, could set additional tracks so that in coming days Finn could enjoy longer walks. That afternoon, we headed out again. Conall was dubious but happy following our earlier tracks. Then, we arrived at the break in the trees and ventured into the next field.
Conall valiantly tried to set tracks, virtually swimming through the deep, soft snow, until he finally just sat/laid in the snow.
I couldn’t argue with Conall’s assessment. We turned back.
Two days later, another gorgeous sunny morning greeted us. The three of us set out once again into the snow-covered fields.
Conall once again made it clear, when we reached the end of the tracks set on the 9th, that he didn’t care to break more trail. Who am I to argue?
So, after a short romp with the boys, I took them home. I then headed back out on my own to set more trail. I looked forward to working up a sweat, and I did.
My goal, over the next couple of days, is to re-set tracks on a loop of about two miles that includes wooded sections as well as the open fields. I want Finn to be able to enjoy nice long walks in the snow he loves so much while his legs and joints are still able.
This is winter. I love winter! But I do prefer for the snow to arrive in smaller increments.