Yesterday evening at just about sunset, a front of storm clouds suddenly took over our world, after a day of blue skies and warm air. It seemed sure to bring huge storms but it didn't.
Very oddly, for Colorado, we awakened to an overcast day, and it looked sure to storm this morning. I brought rain gear when Shyla and I headed out for a ride.
During our ride, I usually try to get a photo to fit the "cue" from a Flickr dog photo group that I participate in. Today's cue was "Look Out!". In the past, when I've tried to get photos of Shyla looking at me, she's spent the whole time swiveling her eyes around, trying to keep watch on the world 360° around us. Our trainer calls it "hypervigilance", a common behavior in dogs with a tendency to be fearful.
So, I reasoned - if I asked Shyla to look at me, I'd surely end up with a photo that fit "Look Out!" as she tried to watch out for danger behind her while lying in an exposed spot.
I was wrong. My sweet girl settled in and looked at me with confidence. It made me smile that I was so wrong about how to get my "Look Out!" photo.
So, we went on our way, with me pedaling and Shyla running to an incredible patch of Columbines. Just after we arrived, something in the aspen grove caught Shyla's attention, and she looked surprised! I think it qualifies as a "Look Out!" photo.
During my solo ride, I checked trail cameras, wanting to see what had happened over the holiday weekend. In general, I see that the animals hunker down, staying far away from any human scent, when the holiday hordes descend upon the forests. This past weekend was no exception, although two bears, Milton Jr. and Cinnamom, showed up for my trail cameras.
The photo of Cinnamom was a relief to me. I hadn't seen any sign of her recently. Knowing that she has a "strike" against her (as shown by her ear tags), I always worry that she's going to get hungry and get herself killed by going near humans (bears are euthanized when they get their second strike).
We've had a lull in ripening of the usual natural bear foods so I've been expecting that bears will start visiting homes, which really raises my worries about Cinnamom. But, from this photo, I know that she was fine as of a few days ago!
Cinnamom was sniffing a bear tree that was very popular with the bears last summer but less popular this summer. She's big for a female bear but you can see that she was standing on her tip toes to sniff as high as possible where big male bears can mark.
I'm looking forward to a season of bear cubs next summer. Cinnamom will probably have cubs, as will Mabel (our black bear mom from last summer), and Socks (Cinnamom's daughter who is about 4 years old and was consorting with Tiny during mating season). If all three sows have cubs, there will be lots and lots of fun cub cavorting to capture with my trail cameras!