We got out for another snowshoeing trip up at Carson Pass a couple weekends ago. Kristy wanted to bring the dogs. While I was reluctant to bring them due to the terrain and conditions, I couldn’t say no after looking into their eyes. They wanted to go play outside so bad (can you blame them?), but they also had that look on their faces that said they would trash the house if they didn’t get to go.
The Carson Pass and Meiss Meadow trailhead were both packed when we arrived at the pass on an apparently busy Presidents Day weekend. We drove a bit further to look at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead, but it was snowed in with no parking. We returned to the Meiss Meadow SNO-PARK, and grabbed one of the last spots. As we got ready to start our hike though, we noticed that most of the people in this lot were headed south in the opposite direction for a snow camping expedition. Maybe it wouldn’t be so crowded after all.
Before heading out, we applied Vaseline to the dogs paws. We had heard that this may help protect the paws from cold and abrasion; however, it really didn’t seem to do much for our dainty little dogs except help attract dirt and other debris.
The snow was packed and icy, and allowed our dogs to freely explore the snowy landscape. This is a big deal when you legs are only 5-6 inches long. These dogs would disappear in powder conditions. They were loving it.
The Chihuahua was the first to fizzle out. Remarkably, she wasn’t frozen yet, but her pace slowed to a crawl. It was obvious the ice was too rough on her paws. She was the first to be scooped up and put inside a jacket.
Our other dog, a Brussels Griffon, is built a little better for the snow. Her paws are wide, almost like little snowshoes.
We snowshoed north on the Pacific Crest Trail for a bit, then climbed to the ridge above Red Lake. The wind on the ridge dropped the temperature considerably, and appeared to sap the rest of the other dog’s energy. She looked freezing, despite her silly pink fleece jacket. She walked a bit past the windy ridge, but then it appeared that she too succumbed to sore paws. Into Kristy’s jacket she went. I took the Chihuahua.
For the remainder of the hike, a little over 2 miles, the dogs were perfectly content to ride in our jackets, only coming out briefly to have a snack at lunch. In spite of the busy parking lot, we didn’t see one other person the entire hike. It turned out to be a great day.
When it comes to outdoor recreation, it’s a tough time of year for our dogs. They’re much better suited to the warm hiking trips of summer. But even though they had to be carried for half of this outing, I don’t think they’d have it any other way.