The temperature was plummeting during our hike, starting at about zero and falling lower as we walked. Within minutes in the humid air, the dogs had frosty faces.
The photo above was from the Duo's sit-stay before I called them. When I called, R zigged across K's path and sprinted into the meadow. I guess that I should have anticipated his detour given his straying attention during the sit-stay.
By the end of those ten minutes, R had a classic frosty face!
This morning, we awakened to a thermometer that read -16°F which gave me plenty of cause to procrastinate before heading outside. I found mindless chores to complete and rechecked the thermometer: -18°F. After more fiddling with household stuff, it had reached -19.6°F, and I decided that procrastinating wasn't helping our cause. So, I headed out on my coldest snow bike ride ever, with K by my side.
Riding was harder than usual. I'm not sure if the seven layers of clothing or the very cold and sticky snow slowed us, but I moved like a hibernating bear. At the start, K was enthusiastic, leading the way and pausing at intersections to find out our route.
A little later, she'd perked up a bit and looked interested in her world.
I stayed warm, thanks to my thick layers of insulation, and enjoyed my tour of our trail network immensely. I found myself wondering where all the animals go in extreme weather. I didn't see any tracks except a stampede of coyotes. It looked like a pack of four or so had trotted from one meadow near Hug Hill down to the meadow near our house.
Based on the coyote tracks, the story was clear. The pack was heading down the Hug Hill trail as I rode up toward Hug Hill. They must have heard me huffing and puffing, and they veered into the forest to avoid me. They probably watched me pass (I didn't see them). Then, they returned to the trail, now carefully trotting in the packed down track left by my bike. On my way down toward home, I giggled when I saw that my fresh tire track, made only ten minutes earlier, was pocked with coyote tracks. I find it mystical that they can vanish instantly without me having any idea that they're so close.
Here's a photo of trail trampled by coyote tracks just before they veered into the forest.
The presence of coyotes in our world is nothing new. They've floated through our forests and meadows for all the years that I've lived here. Their motto is that they avoid humans whenever possible and usually avoid our dogs. We train our dogs relentlessly for the rare occasions when they spot a coyote because dogs often don't win those confrontations. I see it as a risk that comes with the territory. It is as much, or even more, the coyotes' home as ours.
Tonight will be arctic again... so I hope that everyone stays snug.
I don't know exactly how cold it will be because our internet connection is so slow that it "times out" before the weather forecast loads. The only good part of this slow connection is that I just called and asked our internet company to measure our download and upload rates. The rates shocked the company so much that we'll get a deeply discounted fee for the next year - even though they plan to fix our tower sometime soon. Good news, I guess. In the meantime, I'm sorry that I'm missing out on many blogs because I can't load them.