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I just couldn't resist playing in the snow again today, and Finn didn't quarrel. This time I brought my YakTrax. I felt like I was flying, not worrying about foot placement. Finn always flies. Lucky him, born with 4 wheel drive.

I asked Finn to pose on this beautiful bench built of native wood by a Boy Scout troop and placed near an old mine pit about a year ago. (I'm told they use trees from Cougar, downed in storms.) Finn slurped the snow off the arm rest while waiting for me to finish taking photos.

This is the grill placed over the open mine pit so people and dogs won't fall in. I enjoyed the pattern of the snow on the crossbars.

We spent two and a half hours romping through the woods in the snow. It snowed on us briefly, but mostly it was overcast and breezy. Delightful.

We met a hiker with three dogs - an old yellow lab and two Weimaraners, one just four months old. The puppy woofed when he saw Finn, part fear and part bravado, knowing he had his mom and the old lab for protection. The bravado disappeared when Finn started to play; the pup dived for the protection of the bigger dogs. The pup and his mom were very friendly toward me, and I thought how nice that such a sweet disposition is being passed along. I know a woman who used to breed Weims, and her females were very aggressive.

We also met a hiker with a cattle dog/Aussie mix, a girl named Sydney who is bigger and sturdier than Finn. As I chatted with the hiker, the dogs played in the snow and underbrush. Sydney was even pushier than Finn in her play, and bumped him hard a couple of times, causing Finn to come up short and stand his ground. "Now you know what it feels like, Finn!" I said to him.

Just after towling Finn off and getting him into my car, I saw Luna the shy Swiss Mountain Dog (aka Bernese) coming out of the woods with her human. Always fun to see them. Luna even let me scratch her chin! But she still wouldn't take a treat from me. I refuse to give up - I will keep trying.

All of these encounters on the trails over the weekend reminded me that we humans, and our dogs, respond very differently to meeting a single human and/or dog versus a pack. When Finn and I saw the hiker with three dogs, Finn immediately stopped and stood as tall as he could, much more wary than he ever is when we meet a single dog. Instead of being the initiator of the greeting, he waited for the pack of three to approach him. Similarly, I have significantly more enjoyable encounters with people out on the trail when I'm running or hiking without other humans; I'm more approachable, and since I'm on my own schedule, I can stop and talk for as long as I like without worrying that my companion is eager to move on. Going on trips, alone, has been the same; often much more enjoyable than traveling with others because I meet so many new people. We're simply easier to talk to one-on-one than in a group. I'll be asked to join people for dinner, or get invitations to their homes, when traveling alone. That never happens when traveling with others. It seems the same meet-and-greet dynamics apply to dogs as well.

We humans and dogs are more alike than we know.