There have been plenty of stories in the months since I last wrote a blog, no doubt, but not nearly enough time to write them. The stars have aligned, and today I have both a story and the time! With having our busiest winter on-record, I’ve only been blessed enough to clip into my skis a few times this year. Grooming the trails with our new PB100 trail groomer has left me longing to fly down the pristine track myself, but time has not allowed on many occasions. Yesterday, a guest caught me taking a 5-minute power nap on the couch in the lodge with Whiskey – all I remember is completely freaking out as I came out of my deep sleep and searching all my pockets and between the couch cushions for my MIA mask. Oh! The horror! Finally, I found it, slapped it on, and went to the counter. Luckily, this was a long-time guest, who rather than being horrified by catching me snoozing, (and maskeless), just laughed.

Earlier in the day we had spoken of my hope to get out skiing… if time allowed. In her thoughtfulness, she stopped by to offer to go on a quick ski with me. Zach gave me the thumbs up, so we started debating about where to go. We decided, given the vet’s recent recommendation that Whiskey “is getting a little gray and needs to lose some weight,” (me too, Whiskey, me, too), we should take him out skijoring on our skijoring trail.  Whiskey perked up the second I grabbed his harness off the coat rack in the lodge. I donned my gear, and we headed down to the lake, where the skijoring trail, and adventure, begin.

As is usual for the first couple runs of the year, Whiskey and I were a complete disaster. My harness was tangled, he wrapped me up in the line… you get the picture. Finally, we got situated, and with the word, “HIKE!”, we were off! Whiskey was enthusiastic, but decidedly distracted for the first kilometer. Several occasions he went flying off the track after some (literal) rabbit trail, and I nearly flew off with him. By kilometer number two, he trotted along in front of me, while the line hung limply between us. Finally, with half a kilometer to go, he was dragging beside, and then behind me. “It’s OK, Whiskey,” I thought. “You did a lot more work than I did. After all, you are aging and out of shape.” I decided to let Whiskey run back along the lake, free and unburdened. The three of us paused as I fumbled to un-hook him (they really should make skijoring clips more glove-friendly, in my humble opinion), and at last, he was free. PSYCH! Whiskey wasn’t tired! He immediately bounded off the trail, dove into a snow bank, and frolicked for joy in the deep snow off the groomed track. Suddenly, he dashed back towards the track, zeroing in on… one of Roxy’s meticulously placed balsam branch trail markers! These markers are the only thing that tells me where the packed base is vs. where the groomer and I could drown in slush after a big snowfall. “NO! Leave it!” I tried to be commanding, but I was laughing too hard. The last half kilometer consisted of Whiskey frolicking, then zeroing in on a trail marker and trying to yank them out before I could tell him “Leave it!”, “Knock it off!”, or “Whiskey, SPIT IT OUT!”, if he got one before I could get to him.

Finally, as we rounded the bend towards the lodge, he sighted Roxy shoveling off the ice rink and prepping it for flooding. He was off like a rocket, launching himself over the snowbank and sliding across the ice and coming to a halt right in front of her, looking for attention. And here we thought he was tired! Joke’s on us! He even had the energy to rile up the other neighborhood pups on our evening walk out the road, teaching them that a great food source, especially on a diet, (high in fiber) is freshly harvested, tossed in the air, dressed with dog slobber, stick salad. For the past couple of days I’ve struggled with the thought of Whiskey graying and “getting old.” But today, I realized, Whiskey isn’t getting old, he’s just getting wise, and really dang good at acting along with that! From here on out, we shall not only call him “Whiskey Wallace,” but “Whiskey the Wise.” (…and maybe also… “Whiskey the Lazy”).