Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2014.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

K and I had a happy but stinging cold walk this morning. We both felt happy. K's stitches were taken out yesterday, and I'm starting to feel hopeful that we'll be walking further soon. We're still waiting for the new pathology report on her toe that will tell us a lot about our future.

She implored me to walk a little further with those mesmerizing eyes. I cannot say no to those glittering pools of gold.
I tried to say no - but then she fixed this look upon me. Okay, okay, I said... but don't tell our wonderful vet.
We strolled to a new boulder with a nice gradual ramp on its back side that K could easily walk up onto it and then survey her kingdom.
After taking a few photos of her, my fingers were frozen - so no more photo taking. I stuffed them into my pockets with chemical handwarmers cradled next to my white fingertips. I sat on the boulder, briefly, with K, feeling thankful that she's getting stronger.

If K's healing from her toe amputation goes as I hope and the pathology report is good, I think that she'll be gazing from far more dramatic vistas this winter. This photo is from last winter - at my favorite rock viewpoint that is well beyond K's walking range right now.
And, if we're really lucky, K will be romping with her brother through piles of powdery snow late this winter. This photo is from last winter.
After our short walk this morning, I procrastinated and procrastinated, hoping that the temperature would hit double digits before I started my snowbike ride. Alas, I finally gave up on that goal. It was 7°F when I headed out the door, wearing so many layers that I looked twice my normal size.

The sky glowed in eggshell blue, so crisp and clear that I felt like clapping my hands would shatter the gorgeous landscape into a jumble of glass shards. I missed my K. The last time that I visited the viewpoint below, none of the bad luck had hit yet, and she was by my side. She'll be back, I kept telling myself.
As I rode, I found that I was warm, even toasty, at times. I've learned the layering game over the past few winters. I was alone in the forest, aside from the wildlife. At one point, I glimpsed our elk herd on the other side of a hulking boulder outcropping. I dropped my bike, climbed partway up the boulders, and spied on them. I imagined a mountain lion doing exactly the same thing, waiting for one elk to wander too close to his hiding place. This is a small faction from our more than 100-strong herd.
As I rode, my mind danced over the past year and the amazing things that have befallen me. A year ago, I dreamed of getting one photo of a bobcat with a wildlife camera. Now, I have a couple of bobcats who visit my house regularly. This bobcat sauntered out of our clearing as dusk fell last night. In fact, I was quite nearby at the time taking a short walk with K.
Perhaps the most magical thing that happened to me over the past year was that I stumbled upon an occupied bear den just weeks after my neck fusion surgery.
What exactly made me peek in the dark cavern behind the hole in the snow? I don't know but I am still thankful that I did - although my heart rate went through the roof when I realized that I was gazing at a family of groggy bears.

My good luck led to a sneak peek into the secret family life of bears. Here, the two cubs played together. I think that the big one was a male and the smaller one was a female. The male has probably found his own home range far away from here. However, to my delight, the female probably still wanders our forest, having been gifted part of her mother's home range.
 Their mother was never far away, watching and protecting.
Visions of bears in that den accompanied me for most of my snowbike ride today. I think that I had a grin permanently fixed on my face.

I have a camera pointed at that den but I haven't visited it since June. I feared that my scent would scare away potential den inhabitants because bears apparently check out potential dens all summer long. Here, a male who I've dubbed "Scarface" visited the den in early spring. 
He even went into the cave and stayed for a couple of minutes before departing. You can see his rump disappearing into the den in the photo below.
Before Scarface's visit, two other bears had checked out the empty den. After seeing these bears surveying the den real estate, I did my homework and found out that I needed to promise to stay away from the den until the coldest and darkest days of winter so that my scent wouldn't scare away the bears. I've kept my word and will continue to do so. The bears gave me a gift by showing me their den, and I see it as a covenant between us.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

21 comments:

Mango said...

You are living a magical life. How wonderful to be close to nature and see so many things like those bears and the bob cat. Your dogs are very happy pups. I know that K will be racing through the snow soon. All my best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving.

Mango Momma

Kristin G. said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you too! I am thankful for finding you and your lovely blog this year. I enjoy checking in just before bed because your photos and commentary are so interesting, it's like ready a bedtime story. I wish you and K lots of good luck in the weeks and months ahead. Continue to take one day at a time, and I hope you'll have K right beside you for longer walks and bike adventures before you know it. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Benny and Lily said...

Beautiful pictures and great news for K.
Happee Thanksgiving
Benny & Lily

Tweedles -- that's me said...

We also feel like checking in just before bed. It's like were saying,,,tell me another story.
These bears just "swooped us away", into your world.
We were there with you,,, and then the story was over,,,,
why must it end?
thank you as always
Happy Thanksgiving
xoxox
tweedles

Stella said...

Stella and I have been cheering on K since the beginning of what you call her "bad luck" (I call it life) and we aren't going to settle for anything less than quick and complete healing! Thats it!

We love the pics, remembering the fun with the bears and todays 6th picture of the mountain view with such astounding colors.

Cheers and hugs,

Jo and Stella

Mr. Pip said...

I know K will be back with you soon, just like last year.

I still just can't believe you live so close to all these beautiful animals. It must incredible. I love your pictures and stories!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pip & Mom

Pepsi Bum said...

I'm sure K will be romping around with you and R very soon!

I love your peektures of the wildlife and the stories. It's all sooo magicial!

(Thanks for popping by my blog! I do have pretty big jumps for a dog my size, I must say! BOL.)

Woofs,
Pepsi

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh yes: how could you ever deny K a walk with THOSE eyes!

I so know the power of the look and the stare here!

Once again, thanks for sharing your world!

Ms. ~K said...

I couldn't resist those eyes either...thank goodness she wants to walk...
Happy Thanksgiving indeed!
~K

houndstooth said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Here I thought in the last year of reading your blog that all these cool things just happen to you all the time! lol It really has been fun to see what you've seen every day. I always come to it wondering what you guys have seen and done today!

K, you look fabulous on that boulder, and I'm pretty sure you'll be scaling new heights soon!

K-9 Katastrophe said...

I am thankful for a furend like you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

ForPetsSake said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I love the pic of K and R romping in the snow! I learned the layering secret while living in Maine...my Tx friends laugh at me when I shiver at the cold temps here. "But you're from Maine!" They say. Yeah, but we KNEW we had to layer there. In Tx, we never know what the weather will hold...

Angus said...

Don't know which photo made me laugh more - K on guard in her boot on top of the rock - or the bears.

3 doxies said...

Uh, my mum kinda got lost in K's eyes there fur a few minutes and I had to gets her back on track!
Goodness, ya'll lives in da most beautiful place I has evers seen...I wanna MOVE! But, I'll haves to remember to layer...hehehe...I ain't got a lot of fur.

Puddles

Samantha said...

You are a most gifted writer and photographer - oh my gosh; that sentence about clapping your hands could break the day into shards... - WOW!!! And that beautiful, very frigid place where you live is just so full of life, despite the cold. So glad K wants to go further... she's such a trooper -- love the photos from last winter and look forward to more!
Hugs xoxoxo
Sammie and Avalon and Mom
Hope you had a great T-day!

Pup Fan said...

Oh man... I could never say no to those eyes! :)

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Piappies World said...

One look from K and we would grant her every wish. The photo on the boulder is really great. It is truly amazing how you can be in a place that is so full of great sights.

We are cheering for K to get back to going zoomies soon.

Love,
Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

Tom, Tama-Chan, Sei-Chan and Bibi-Chan said...

Yet again, amazing photos! But our favourite is the one from last winter of K and R romping together. My we see many more like that in the future!

rottrover said...

Happy Thanksgiving, KB, K, R and Runner! Keep up the good work Miss K. I'm a sucker for "the Look" as well.

Maery Rose said...

I have found that it's good to look back and remind myself of the unexpected positive things that have happened to put the difficulties into perspective. Some of those past difficulties have led to the best stuff. You have had so much going on. I'm glad you have let us into your world.

browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,
What great bear pictures. They hunt and trap them here so it is indeed a very special thing to catch sight of one or more.
My Humans can't refuse my looks either. :)
Hawk aka BrownDog