Almost every aspect of yesterday was intense so I enjoyed some relaxed exploring time outdoors this morning. The pups and I wandered through the woods, and we came upon a deer bed. The bed itself (left) is so trampled that it's hard to see any distinct tracks. But, clearcut deer tracks led up to it. Deer always drag their hoofs in the snow, even when there's only a little snow. I'm not sure why. Coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and lions don't drag their feet but elk do.
The mountain biking on the trails was much better today. I rode about 80% of the time, and the dogs and I enjoyed the gorgeous day. R had a vet appointment yesterday, and the vet thought that his elbow seemed a little 'puffy' (R's elbow history) so we didn't ride for very long. I averaged a whopping 3.1 mph on the snow-covered trails so it certainly wasn't a fast ride! On the right, R is showing off his lithe form. The vet wants us to keep him at this light weight to reduce the stress on his elbow.
During our ride, K tried to train me again today by hiding to try to get me to do a recall. I realized yesterday that I should have taken one photo of her 'hiding' with no zoom so that you can see what I see when I scan to find her. On the left, she's in the center of the photo but almost invisible. In the center at 5X zoom, you can start to see her lying there. Finally, she's totally visible at 15X zoom. Today, I just ignored her and rode off. She followed. I'm sure that she's disappointed that her training of me isn't going very well.
After dropping off the pups, I rode east on 4wd roads. The sun was starting to soften the trails so I wanted to stay off of them and thereby avoid damaging them. I hit some areas that I never go in the summer due to 'crowds' of people. I saw some gorgeous sights including the windblown snow on the left below and the stark rocky area less than a half mile away in the right photo.
A lot of my route was very snowy. I didn't account for the snow softening under the intense sun while I rode. While I flew over the top of the snow on the way out, I churned laboriously on the way home. It was the second time in the past few days that I started thinking, "Boom, boom, out go the lights" as my energy drained away. However, I love the single-mindedness of a task like climbing up this snowy road. I had to completely focus on staying on the narrow packed path and preventing my back wheel from spinning out. I made it with my Stumpjumper mountain bike but I can't wait to get my Fatback!
I was rewarded at the top with the view of the Continental Divide that always tells me that I'm almost home.
Tomorrow, I plan to write about the photo below. In case you're worried, the bear in the tree didn't get a meal out of the deal.