"Sunny with a few clouds" described life pretty well when I wrote my last post. We'd just found out that R had pancreatitis and K's recurring urinary tract infection was very nasty. We had planned to head out of town but weren't sure if taking two sick dogs far away from their fabulous vet was smart. So, we hung out at home and waited to see if the dogs' health seemed to go north or south. Fortunately, it seemed to go due north for both (more tests this week will hopefully confirm our impression). So, with a long list of every vet hospital on our route, we headed out in our LabMobile, the high clearance 4WD camper van that lets us "car camp" while sleeping on a comfortable mattress that keeps my finicky spine happy.
We traveled through tumultuous weather into the high mountains of central Colorado. Although I felt confident that the Duo was mending, I hoped that the ominous skies didn't have hidden meaning.
As we approached our destination, blue sky opened over our heads and a rainbow dove into the valley below us. It was close to our dog S's birthday so I thought of it as his rainbow bridge to us.
We camped in a Subalpine meadow surrounded by 13-14,000' peaks in the distance. It's one of my favorite campsites on Earth - peaceful, filled with wildlife and flowers, and close to beautiful trails. K expresses joy by wriggling on her back. As soon as we set foot in the meadow, she dove into the grass.
The tumultuous weather followed us to our oasis, and stormy skies loomed as we took the first short hike of our trip. K perched on a rocky pinnacle to survey our meadow.
R scanned the meadow's edge for wild animals. We always keep our dogs on leash in this lush meadow because it seems so obvious that we are visiting the home of the deer, elk, marmots, bear, and lions.
During our trip, we took lots of mountain bike rides and hikes, although very carefully. Both of our dogs are wild mushroom addicts, and the never-ending rainfall this summer has produced a spectacular mushroom crop. We can't trust the Duo to roam even the slightest bit during rides or hikes without sampling the local fare. In fact, when K was 2 yrs old, she suffered severe mushroom poisoning, sending us careening down a mountain from our remote campsite in the Elk Mountains. Fortunately, we found an emergency vet who saved her life. So, we know that the risks are real, and thus, the Duo spent more time on leash or in "heel position" than usual. Sometimes, we even muzzle them to prevent mushroom grazing but that has the bad side effect of making people very afraid of them. There's nothing more mortifying to gregarious Labradors than to have people shy away from them!
These mushrooms grew out of the side of a live tree next to a tumbling stream!
The sun set on our first evening in our favorite meadow with a faint rainbow arcing up out of a fiery mountain.
I plan to write more about our trip in coming days but that's all for now. We gradually made our way to the San Juan Mountains, including the peaks, passes, and lush valleys above Silverton and Ouray. It's the wildest part of Colorado, and we loved it!
When we arrived home, I checked the wildlife cameras that are within 100 yards of my house. Whew - there was a flurry of action on the tiny trail that leaves our house to go into the forest. Coyotes marched past at 6AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM on various days. In the dark of night, a deer fled from something so fast that the camera caught only his hind end. On his next passage past the camera, he posed with his velvet antlers in the camera lens.
Then, just last night, a bobcat sauntered past the camera with dinner in his jaws. I believe that the rabbit who I frequently see on this camera nourished a bobcat last night. It's sad for the rabbit but it is the Year of the Bobcat.
This morning, K and I triggered the camera as we finished our bike ride. I have so few "action" photos of my girl and me that I'll treasure this one!
Notice how closely she's "heeling" next to my bike. I trained her to heel on the right of my bike when she was a puppy. It's very useful on busy trails or when mushrooms seem to be sprouting everywhere!