The Gift of February Snow

Bird! Snow! Bird!!!

The Seattle area is hit with a late-winter snow. Seattle itself is been mostly untouched, but the foothills get a few inches. Temperatures are very cold, in the teens or low twenties, with steady breezes. This morning, Finn and I head out to Cougar to play and are delighted to find just enough snow to cover the ground, but not too deep for running. I'm wearing the same layers I used to wear in Idaho when running in winter! I forget my YakTrax, but the footing is good enough that I don't slip or fall if I'm careful.

Finn and I haven't run in three days (attending a seminar Wednesday through Friday) so we both have lots of excess energy to burn off. Not sure I've ever seen Finn chase so many birds! He also sees two of his newer canine friends, Casey at the start of our run, and Pickels the Rhodesian Ridgeback toward the end. Lots of chasing and romping with both.

The snow is wet enough that occasionally Finn has to stop to extract an ice ball from his toes. He's very adept at it, which saves me from getting my gloves wet or my fingers cold doing it for him. In Idaho, the girls would just start limping until I removed the ice balls for them.

The snow-covered branches give a sense of running through a fairyland full of lacework.

Ice whiskers! Finn loves to bury his face in snow. When I stop to chat with a couple of other trail runners, Finn entertains them by rolling in the snow and coming up with his face covered in white. When I tell the woman I found Finn through she says, "Oh! You met online!" I mention that his only quirk is a fear of toddlers and young children, but since I have none, we're a good match. "I always say, dogs before kids!" the woman replies, tossing a look to her male companion, one I find hard to interpret. He smiles and says how Finn's the perfect size. Maybe they're thinking of getting a dog.

Which way, mom?

For Finn, the best answer is "That way!" And that way should always be away from the car. He never wants to head back. With Finn for a training partner, I'm allowed no excuses; he's always ready and eager to go out and run! He makes it so much fun, I don't want to go home, either.

I've taken many photos of dogs on this bridge over the years, marking the seasons. This is the first time the stream underneath has been frozen!

Finn cools his jets beside the bridge while I snap photos with my iPhone.

Finn tests the ice on the stream. Twice. I hold my breath, assuming the ice will be too thin to hold his weight. Yet it does. I rather wish he had broken through so that he might learn to avoid ice. The stream is shallow and he would have been fine, but the surprise of the shattering ice would have been a good lesson for him.

Here's Finn on that same log bridge, November 21, 2010. Very different, eh?

I love the forest. I love dogs. I love running. Most of all, I love running forest trails with dogs.