Andrea is out racing in North Pole and had plenty of handlers, so I decided to stay home. Instead of taking Nika for a regular walk, I waxed my skis and tried skijoring. Andrea taught her to do it almost ten years ago, but Nika hasn’t done it since, and she wasn’t very good at it back then anyway. Today I took her down to the Creek, put on my skis and hooked her up. She knew right away what was going on and she ran straight ahead and pulled like a champion dog. I have a two mile trail that starts on the Creek and then crosses up to the mushing trail in the forest for the return trip home, and Nika was hooked up for about two-thirds of it. On the mushing trail, she was pulling me fast enough that the wind was whistling in my hair and I was worried about what would happen if I fell down (I haven’t been skiing in ten years either…). Luckily, I managed to keep my balance, and except for dipping for poops, she kept up the pace the whole way.
I’m very proud of her. She did a very good job, and both of us had a good time.
I took Nika out on the Creek today to see how far we could get on the ice. All of the open water on our property had frozen more than a week ago and we’d noticed bicycle tracks and footprints in the snow, so I figured it was probably safe to walk on. Plus I wanted to see where the bicyclist was coming from. The photo on the right shows our bridge and the house from down on the Creek, and the photo at the bottom of the post is a Google Earth view of the GPS track we walked. The red dot is our house, and the blue dot is where we got off the Creek.
I would have kept going on the frozen Creek, but there was a small dam at that point and I could hear running water just below the surface. Just past the dam was a hole in the ice with water running underneath and I didn’t want to take a chance of falling in or having Nika break through the ice. It turns out that were we went back up onto land is a section of trail between two roads that were originally supposed to intersect. At least that’s how it looks on the map.
The bicyclist is using this trail, the Creek, and our road to travel between the two roads that don’t intersect, which is pretty clever and is probably several miles shorter than where they’d have to go to get around the break.
Garmin hasn’t come up with the software for my GPS for Linux or OS X, but gpsbabel lets me download the data from the GPS and will also convert it into a KML file I can view in Google Earth. It works really well, except that in our area Google Earth isn’t perfectly geolocated, so the GPS track isn’t lined up with the satellite topography shown. The commands are:
$ gpsbabel -t -w -i garmin -f usb: \ -o garmin_txt,date="YYYY-MM-DD",datum="WGS84",dist=s,prec=6,time="HH:mm:ss" \ -F out.txt $ gpsbabel -t -w \ -i garmin_txt,date="YYYY-MM-DD",datum="WGS84",dist=s,prec=6,time="HH:mm:ss" \ -f out.txt -o kml -F out.kml
You could take the GPS data directly to KML format but it’s handy to have the text version first so it can be edited before generating the KML file. The -w flag to gpsbabel causes it to download all the waypoints from the GPS, and I usually want just the waypoints relevant to the current track (the -t flag). The text file makes it easy to remove the waypoints you don’t need.