For the last dozen, or so, years, my wife, Bethany, and I, have been blessed to live with Bodhi, Cecil & Cowboy. Bodhi and Cecil are both gone now but Cowboy is still around. All three of our boys are what they call Bernese Mountain Dogs. They’re like little bears and they have a thick double-coat that makes them very fond of snow.
Every spring they would find the shadiest spot in the yard, where the sun’s power has less umph to melt the precious last pile of snow. They would play and lounge on that spot until it was gone. They say that dogs and their human pets become like one another and after living with our pack for over a decade, I think that theory might actually carry a degree of validity.
Somewhat like Bodhi, Cecil & Cowboy, over the last two weeks, I’ve been milking the last bit of winter snow riding that I could find here in South Central Sconny. Last week began with a nice fluffy three inches of snow. I got to hit that nice fluffy accumulation early the next morning. March snow tends to fall and then melt fairly quickly.
The next day’s high temperature was forecast to be in the mid-forties, so I hit my local twisties early in the morning before it got above freezing, The precious snow cover was still intact, but had melted back by about a third.
The third day was when I started to realize that I was attempting to milk every last bit of snow riding out of this latest bit of Winter. I rode the Glacial Drumlin to Lake Mills, where I could still find pretty good snow in the shaded areas, but out in the sunny areas, the snow had melted away.
On the fourth day, I rode at Camrock for an early morning frozen dirt and snow ride. I wanted to get some photos of trail damage for an article that I was working on about Freeze/Thaw and Mud Season. During that ride, I made the decision to head up to the Northwoods as soon as I could to get one last bit of five-star groomed snow riding in before it was too late.
For the fifth ride after the snow fell, I went back to my local singletrack and got a short ride in before the trails thawed. I stopped and cleared some branches and still found a little snow in the deepest darkest corners on the north side of the Drumlin.
The next day, I drove up to Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, and rode at the WinMan trail system. There was an inch or two of fresh snow that had been tracked in by previous riders over beautifully groomed flow-trail. It took me a mile or so to get my tire pressure dialed, but I had a glorious ride. My inner Bernese Mountain Dog was wagging its tail and smiling a toothy grin.
For the last ride of this little saga, I returned to WinMan and experienced one of the best snow rides in recent memory. The trail tread had melted back just slightly and then had refrozen into a light crust, consisting of the previous day’s tire tracks. It was such a spectacular ride that I didn’t even stop to take a photo (kind of rare for me) I just went out (emptied my head) and had an absolute ball!
If our dog Cowboy had a truck and knew how to drive, he’d probably spend his weekends away up north looking for the last great pile of snow, and who could blame him? Berners wear fur coats all of the time and like to stay cool. I know that it snows here in Wisconsin, just about every April so there’ll be more snow riding before snow season is truly over. Till then, I’ll be on the lookout for the last bit of ridable snow and ice like a quasai Bernese Sconsin Ape (some might say gnome).
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