August 16, 2015

Hiking At A Ski Resort

Ron: "What do you want to do for your birthday?"
Me, a few days later with internet info at the ready: "Let's take Rufus to Northstar and go hiking."
Ron: "Sounds great!"

Northstar Ski Resort is located just outside of Truckee, CA and is a 2 hour drive from our home through the Sierras and Tahoe National Forest.  It's a great place to go for winter activities like skiing, snow boarding and ice skating.  I had no idea it was also famous for summer time fun too.  Some of the more popular fair weather activities include golfing, mountain biking and hiking.

I had read on another website that there was a free gondola ride to the mid mountain lodge and from there we could hike many trails.  That's not entirely true.  Let me explain.  The Northstar pass for hiking is $13 per person and includes the gondola ride to the mid mountain lodge and also another lift (Tahoe Zephyr Express) located at the lodge to get hikers to the top of the mountain.  We went to what we thought was the Northstar gondola only to find out it is owned by the neighboring Ritz-Carlton properties.  THIS is the free ride I had read about :-)  However, it limited us a bit because we couldn't ride to the top of the mountain.

looking back down to where we started our ride
The gondola dropped us off at a very posh resort where the rich go to soak up sun and sit by the tepid waters of the resorts over-crowded pools.  We weren't ready to shell out $18 for a pulled pork sandwich however, so we made our way over to the nearby Lodge at Big Springs (owned by Northstar).   Once at the lodge we picked up a trail map and choose our route.  We'd hike to Sawmill Lake.  It's a quick 1.1 mile long trail with 530 feet of elevation gain.  After we satisified our hungry bellies with a tasty and filling lunch ($26 for a big burger, an even bigger chicken sandwich and a gatorade) we were off.

FREE charging station, one of two that I saw in the lodge

bikers on the left, hikers on the right

your bike goes up the mountain ahead of you, a worker at the top takes them off the lift
Before we left for our hike we put on Rufus's Ruffwear booties.  When we had Apollo he once nearly tore off a toenail simply trying to get up the embankment and out of the river.  It was quite painful for him to walk back to the car.  His toenail was removed and he had a bandage on his foot for 2-3 weeks while it healed.  That experience is not something we wanted to repeat!

found a big enough rock to sit on while putting on his booties

he practiced with them at home a few times, now for the real test...
follow the leader...

I feel like a dwarf among these giants

our trail went right past these fun slalom turns meant for the bikers
At first, I was in the lead with Rufus by my side.  We quickly discovered that Rufus would rather follow the leader so Ron went ahead of us.  The day was perfect: mid 80's, shady trail among the giant pine trees, a light breeze, quiet all around (we only saw three other people on the trail) and a beautiful mountain lake at the end of our journey.

Rufus ponders the lake water to decide if he wants to take a dip
Ron tosses in a few rocks to entice Rufus into the water
contrails from the planes working on putting out nearby fires

Rufus did go in the water for a brief moment-too quick for the camera! 

After a small snack we headed back to the lodge.  Funny how the trip back seems to pass by quicker than the trip out.  Back at the lodge we needed to decide how we'd get down the mountain.  We could either walk down to the car or walk back over to the posh resort with the free gondola ride down the hill.  We decided to walk the short 3/4 mile trail down to the base.

not a sound was heard from this little hiker on the ride home

All in all we ended up hiking nearly 5 miles.  Rufus was a tired pup!

What a great way to spend my birthday!!

August 1, 2015

He's Not A Rottweiler

A random thought that we had one day as we worked was: he's not a rottweiler.

Rufus is the exact opposite of our many beloved Rottweilers.  Here's a few fun examples, in no particular order:

1.  He eats a LOT less food!
     When it was just Apollo, he would eat a huge bag of food in about 3 1/2 weeks.  Many years ago we had two rottweilers and a black lab, three big dogs.  I can't even remember how often we had to buy dog food.  Rufus gets about 3/4C twice per day.  His large bag of food lasts 6 weeks.

2.  People want to pet him when we take him on outings.
    Most people would shy away or walk on the other side of the street when we took our rotties out in public.  Just the opposite with this little guy.  Kids and grown ups alike want to give him hugs and pats on the head.

3.  He gets our attention in a different manner.
     Apollo, our large huge 140 pound Rottweiler, would gently lay his head on our lap when he wanted our attention.  Rufus, our much smaller 20 pound Schnauzer mix, gets our attention by ramming his nose into our legs!  Sometimes he does it when I'm not expecting it.  I get the feeling I may just end up with a bruise if he rams me one more time...

4.  He won't run out of play toys for awhile.
     Apollo had only a few toys, a tennis ball and two large chew toys.  Rufus really likes the squeaky toys and he has a big tub full of them at the house and more at the shop.  We even have some out of sight so we can switch them up from time to time.

they all have squeakers in them :-)

5.  He doesn't shed!
     I had to vacuum the entire house once a week just to keep up with maintaining a decently clean floor when we had our rotties.  The white tile in the kitchen consistently showed a layer of dark dog hair around the edges.  Although I still vacuum the same, the canister now has hardly any dog hair in it after my vacuuming session.

 6.  He's small enough to carry.
     Ever try carrying a 140 pound dog??  It's such a delight to be able to pick him up when needed or simply to give him a hug and kiss.  He likes to lay on the couch or in our laps at the end of a busy day.  The big dogs weren't allowed on the couch because they'd take up enough room for two people.

7.  He has a way of entertaining us during the work day.
     Apollo came to the shop with us often.  He would usually nap while we worked, although he did occasionally chase after a ball if we threw it for him.  Rufus is constantly doing something funny and makes us laugh, which is a great way to pass the time away.  He'll bring us his tennis ball (yes, it squeaks too) so we can throw it across the shop.  He'll run after it, sliding on the slick cement floor at the end of his run to avoid hitting anything in his path.

8.  He crawls around, in and on top of the craziest things.
     Apollo was too big to fit in some of the places where Rufus goes, like under the tables (yes, he really does this). There's about a 6" gap at the bottom and he'll chase his ball under there to retrieve it.  Again, he's quite entertaining.  He also likes to take a break and chew on his toys while laying on the lower level of our carts.  It's never a dull moment with Rufus around! 

he decided this looked like a good resting spot...  for about 5 minutes
We're happy we have Rufus in our family.  He can be stubborn at times, but he makes up for it with his cuteness and his fun loving personality!