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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts tagged ‘snowman’

A girl, 2 dogs, and an adventure to Mount Pinos.

After our last trip to Mountain High a couple weekends ago, I was more than excited to take Beowolf out again.

For those of you who haven’t read that yet, you can check it out here

I decided that handling both dogs was just a lot for me in the conditions we were in last time and Valentine really didn’t enjoy the snow so I felt leaving her home would be better for her. However there were plenty of setbacks, I needed to get my Rav4 a tune-up, just to make sure my wheels are in tip-top shape, especially if I’m going to be driving alone and it’s been raining a lot lately. Unfortunately, the mechanic was only available after 1pm and by the time he was finished I wasn’t going to have time for a trip up the mountain, so I put it off for the next weekend. The following Saturday was a bust too, it rained and rained all week and didn’t let up in time. We had much better luck the next weekend, I decided to try and broaden my horizons and not just go to Mountain High, not to mention I was informed of more open flat areas where my dog can really run and that was more incentive than facing traffic and difficulty parking.

Mount Pinos was recommended via a social app. Mount Pinos, Frazier Park, CA.

From my house it was a 1-hour 45-minute drive, I took the 14 South to the 5 North toward Sacramento. The drive was equally as beautiful as the previous one, the mountains were all covered in green and the poppies were beginning to bloom! Once I made my exit I drove up the mountain for about 7 miles, I made a few stops along the way to let the dogs out. Yes, I caved and took Valentine with us, I figured she can either get out and play if we were isolated enough and if not she would be equally happy staying in the warm car but enjoying the road trip.

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At the first stop, there wasn’t much snow until you get out to look around and then down the side of the mountain there was lots of snow. The scene was gorgeous, and the fresh morning wasn’t too cold. A couple miles further up there was a small space where I could park and there was much more snow, I parked with ease and got ready. I let the dogs out and off they went down the side of the hill, it was easy to walk down and around the hillside where Valentine and Beowolf charged through the snow with such excitement. I was instantly grateful I brought Valentine, this time around she loved the snow, it wasn’t too cold for her at all and she didn’t even need her jacket. I let the dogs do their business far into the hills and trees where nobody could walk anyways, and likely wild animals did the same too.

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After I got my fill of pictures and videos we packed back into the car and drove for another few miles, the snow really got lush further up the mountain and it was amazing! As I came around a bend I saw a very big space of untouched snow with only a slight slope to get down, I parked by another car where a family was playing just off the road on their own. I left them alone and took the dogs down the slope, they ran and I slid, going back up was tricky but worth it. As we reached the bottom, the snow was slightly more hard packed making it easier for them to run full speed, but it was perfectly soft to sit in.

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I got excellent footage of the dogs running and playing through the snow, there was a small stream that wasn’t frozen, and it added to the sounds of nature. My dogs aren’t afraid of water and so they were happiest trying to play and splash in it. There was so much space for them to run that Valentine was able to pick up serious speed and flew as high as I’ve ever seen her as she lept over trees and over the stream! We stayed down there for about 30 minutes and then climbed up the hill, it was tricky as parts of the snow were unpacked and slipped from under me, being a self-proclaimed problem solver we figured it out and we’re back to the car in no time. Needless to say, I need to start working out if I’m gonna be going on more adventures because I got so winded in the high elevation!

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When we got to the Rav4 I saw the family that was there before had left, and so I put the dogs away for a break while I charged my phone (it died) for a little. Then I let them out to run there again, I got plenty of pictures for a couple projects I’m working on and when the dogs started panting and looking tired I decided to call it the day. We loaded in the car for the last time and headed down the mountain. It was really easy getting back to the freeway and it was a quiet drive home but so worth it! I was eager to get home and look at the images I got on my phones (yes I used 2 different phones). My timing was great too as I was just ahead of traffic and made it home in no time!

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I would rate this trip 5/5.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

Pet-Friendly- It’s pretty much first to come first serve, you can go to one of the campsites or just stop on the side of the road where it’s safe to park. I didn’t visit a campsite, so I don’t have feedback for you regarding the pet policy, however, I was not disappointed and had plenty of space for them to run free. Next winter season I’m going to take snowboarding lessons so I can utilize slopes and take better action shots.

Roads- The roads are clean and dry from any ice and debris. It was also pretty isolated, not much traffic and there were plenty of places to park and get out for some quality snow time. I did, however, buy chains for this trip.

**These are the ones I got but all chains should be specific to your vehicles tires so do you research first**

Snow- Snow is very clean and there are lots of spaces to get off close to your car and do some sledding or just to play.

Gear- Beowolf, of course, goes naked. Valentine also didn’t need her jacket at all, she was so warm from all the running and she’s far from a delicate flower so a little snow can’t stop her. As for myself, I used the same

Wantgo waterproof jacket

Thermal socks

Snow boots

There were even points in the day where I didn’t even wear my jacket for the sunny spots.

Hope you all enjoy this blog.

Check out my next blog when I take the dogs and my family to see the California Poppy Fields.

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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.

Affiliate Disclosure

Attention! This post contains Affiliate Links.

An affiliate link is a special link I use from a company to advertise the items I personally believe in and use or mention in my blogs. They are there to help you find similar or the same items through a direct link taking you to the buyer’s site. The best part about this is that everyone wins! You are NOT being charged by clicking on the link, there is no obligation to purchase anything. However, by using these links, if you were to purchase an item then I get a percentage of that sale because I brought you to the website where you can buy it. Affiliate links are safe and easy to use and like I said, it’s no charge to you! Win… win… win!

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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