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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

A girl, 2 dogs and a quest for SNOW in Southern California.

For the past 9 years, I have wanted nothing more than to take Beowolf to the snow. He’s a Wolfdog for crying out loud, the snow is where he thrives! Over the years as every opportunity that arisen to take Beowolf up to the snow something always came up. Car trouble, work obligation, lack of money, etc. Not to mention driving up to the snow alone is not ideal, I never felt like risking it, the Jeep although durable was no young buck and the heat was out! So I often tried to rely on friends, who all pretty much had the same excuses as me.

For the past 4 years since moving back down to SoCal, and living in view of mountains, I haven’t wanted to take a trip to the snow so badly! Every winter after a good rain at home, the next morning I look out my windshield on my way to work and can see the beautiful snow-capped mountains that surrounded my valley. I kept planning trips to go but again the same old excuses, on repeat.

As of recent (6 months or so) I have adopted a new attitude… a Fuck It attitude, no longer being too cautious to say or do something and that includes solo adventure trips. After all, the one thing I envy is travel and getting out of the everyday scene. Coming from someone who moves on faster than a butterfly migration, since childhood, staying in one place too long gives me an itch only I can scratch. I soon realized I can no longer rely on someone else to take me on an adventure. So I threw away the excuses and said, Fuck it, pack your boots Beowolf and Valentine we’re going to the snow!

The first trip: Mountain High Resort, Wrightwood, CA.

I heard of this place from a co-worker and when I asked around I got pretty good feedback. It’s only 38 miles from where I live, and GPS said it was a 1.5-hour drive. DEAL! A friend was even going with me, so it was gonna be a great day trip! I rush ordered a jacket for Valentine and gathered up all my snow gear and awaited the weekend, I have a new (to me) Rav4 and just got a fresh oil change with a full tank so I felt good about the drive.

Saturday morning arrives and I jump out of bed blasting music as I get showered and ready for the day, hinting to Beowolf about what awaits him! Just as I finish my makeup and load everything into the Rav4, my phone dings. It’s my friend giving me the same excuse she always gives me but in the end, she cancels. The old me would be pissed, the old me would cancel the day and try and salvage doing something here, but that was the old me. The new me already knew my friend was going to flake because it was her habit, so I told myself no matter what I was making that drive. I text a few family members where I was going and loaded the dogs up. I stopped for snacks and then we were on our way, Mountain High here we come!

The first leg was mostly the 14 North going along Palmdale and it was a drive I made many times before, so I was used to it. Then it took me up toward Devil’s Punch Bowl, another place I’ve taken the dogs a few times. Then it took me down a new road, which after the recent rains it was flooded and so I got detoured only to find out that was Private Property. So I speed off hoping to force GPS to link me to one of the alternate routes I saw earlier, of course, it works.

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So I’m back on track, the Rav4 is feeling good, I’m excellent on gas and my music is on MAX! The rest of the drive was not only fun at some points, but beautiful, the dry desert suddenly became green lush mountains. The redwoods grew brighter the deeper we drove, it was breathtaking. As we entered the tourist housing section I rolled down the windows letting the crisp air in and the dogs stuck their heads out, Beowolf is so excited he can’t decide where to look. He’s used to hikes and trips, but he doesn’t really know what I have in store for him.

I pass through the small town and head into the mountain, as I start seeing large areas of snow we start easing into traffic. Blah. But you know what I didn’t care about it; the dogs were happy with their heads out the window, my tank is still almost full and I had my music on so I was fine. Eventually, we crawled by the resort that was packed and so it was time to find a parking spot further up the mountain. I drive maybe a mile from the resort and find a secluded area with loads of space to park and play, so I pull in and park it.

Excited beowolf

As I finish getting ready like 5 cars pull in behind me, really? Just as I was about to pull out the dogs and let them run, but no, so I leash them up and get them out. Beowolf doesn’t even know what to do! He’s so excited and poor Valentine is like whoa WTF. With nowhere for them to play safely, we must walk back down where the designated area is, the walk to the park was no picnic at all. Beowolf pulled as much as he could and Valentine pulled in the opposite way, I decided against putting on their pinchers, they had been doing so good with training I didn’t think I needed them. Big mistake, I hadn’t had to walk in the snow for years and the edge of the road was so crowded with people. I already had too much to carry and thanks to Beowolf I had a big bag of doo-doo dangling from me as well, I eventually led us along the crest of the hill where I can relax and give Beowolf some slack, I could finally walk and eventually fell into a groove.

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When we got to the area to play there was a nice big space where nobody was, so I decided that was the perfect place to let the dogs off leash, well not Valentine.

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She was not having a good time at all, she was shivering despite the coat and I never factored in the way people would look to her in their big coats, not to mention the snow was deep and it was hard for her to move so she felt trapped. I kept her with me by my side while Beowolf ran around and sniffed and played.

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He was so happy and so was I, it was so fulfilling getting over my own anxieties going places alone and driving in the snow to reach that place. Beowolf is already a sight when he runs loose, but against the beautiful backdrop, it made my heart so warm! I decided, in the end, it was worth going alone and I was going to take them out more. The walk back to the car was so much better, I decided to walk in the street, there was little traffic and my dogs have the training to heel alongside me so when a car came we just moved over and waited for them to pass. Took us 5 minutes to get back to the car.

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Upon our arrival, every car that was parked around us before was gone! So I put Valentine away and let Beowolf run some more. Then we packed in the car and headed down the mountain, stopping once more to take some more pictures.

The drive home was even more spectacular. A very winding road leads Big Pine down the mountain which gives you captivating views with each turn, I don’t know about you, but I always loved driving and wanted to be a stunt driver for commercials. I felt like I was in a Rav4 commercial, listening to soothing music driving down the mountain and at sunset no less! All in all, it was a great day, I would totally go up for more trips, I saw more isolated areas that would be great places to stop next time too! I got amazing photos and Beowolf got to finally experience snow! We made it home at 5pm.

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Overall I would rate my experience a 4.5/5.

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Pet Friendly- I’m not sure about the actual resort location but further down the mountain there are a lot of places to get out and let them run, but it’s a steep mountain and it’s close to the roads, so keep em on leashes or long leads, or consider training so they have a reliable recall. Beowolf was able to run and he doesn’t wander so I’m not worried about him, but Valentine can panic and bolt into traffic.

Roads- Well maintained. There were lots of signs for chains and I saw a couple of cars with chains, but nobody was enforcing it at that time. There were thousands of parked cars I was checking their tires for chains but barely anyone had any. I didn’t have any for this trip, so I was relying on my 4-wheel drive and if that wasn’t enough then I would just turn around and find another spot. Go as far as I can safely go, that was my motivation. **I bought chains later and keep them in the car**

Snow- Clean. Except for edges of the road. The place needs a trash can for disposing of trash and dog poop properly. Don’t worry, my tree-hugging ass doesn’t litter so I took the 2 bags home and disposed of them there. Thank goodness for scented bags.

Gear- For my dogs, Beowolf has a double coat and I keep him as natural as I can, so nothing for him and he didn’t care. I do carry boots in case of injuries or for the summer. Valentine wore a Mogoko Reflective Reversible Dog Jacket from Amazon. It fits her great, she is 55 pounds and it keeps her chest warm. It is also inexpensive to just keep on hand regardless so I keep it in a winter adventure container.

For MY gear I wore a Wantdo Waterproof jacket I also got on Amazon. It is super warm! And comfy with lots of pockets for me to keep all my things, and bags and treats, etc. You can find it here

I also had on a pair of thermal socks and a pair of women’s snow boots  I bought a long time ago for just being around the ranch. Clothing I just wore a long sleeve top and a pair of leggings and was fine. **If you plan on doing more playing in the snow I would recommend something waterproof but it’s up to you**

Hope this blog was insightful,

See my experience driving up to Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA. 

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15 Responses to “A girl, 2 dogs and a quest for SNOW in Southern California.”

  1. Jane

    Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working
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    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask! I couldn’t resist commenting.
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    Reply
    • Wanderlust Wolves

      Hey there sorry about the late response. I have been trying to get my site underway. I am currently using the Business plan after having so much trouble monetizing with the premium and Free plan. Monetizing, though easy for some, apparently is difficult for me to do. I am one of those people who nothing goes “according to plan” like it does for everyone else in the world.
      As for my theme, I just picked one I like from the selection they give you. I update the colors here and there but I am NOT computer savvy so I don’t get all crazy.
      I appreciate your feedback on my writing, I love writing and love hearing it brings people joy! If you have any other questions I’ll be happy to answer, or if you have tips for me I’d love to hear them because I am so lost!

      Reply
  2. April

    Awe… two dogs are better than one! Smooches little Ms. Valentine! 😘💋🐶💋💕💋 Big hugs Wolfie! 😘💋🐶💕💞💋

    Reply
  3. Paul Handover

    Came here to thank you for your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. But I was drawn in to the story! Well done! Furthermore, would you like to post from time to time on Learning from Dogs? It would be lovely to share your stories. Your dogs are just gorgeous!

    Reply
  4. Paul Handover

    Well I would prefer something a little longer. Your post above is a delightful example. I have no problem at all with you posting something that you have already published on your blog. But what anecdote did you have in mind? 🙂

    Reply
  5. Paul Handover

    It’s just crossed my mind. Are you able to give me permission to reproduce the above post over on Learning from Dogs? I can copy it from this end.

    Reply

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