The duo of labs have romped with abandon on our last couple of pack hikes. I love seeing them frolic in the wildflowers of our meadow, although I yearn to see a certain handsome yellow lab in the flowers also. Yesterday evening, a stick had their full attention. It's funny how the dogs collaborate to keep the game alive by never truly trying to gain full possession of the stick. If one loses their jaw grip on it, the other slows down and dangles it so the raucus play goes on. R only recently learned to control himself to keep games alive. Fairly recently, he'd still yank the toy away and not let the other dog touch it again. But, he's finally learned that being so competitive ends the game with most dogs. He's one and a half years old - and still learning about life at the rate of a puppy.
This morning, to my surprise, as K and I rolled out onto the trails, a red fox trotted along in front of us. We rarely see red foxes this high in the mountains. Amazingly, K never saw him. She picked up his scent trail before I spotted him, and her nose was on the ground backtracking him. He disappeared into the forest as silently as he'd appeared. What an astoundingly handsome animal!
Storms kept rolling past me for my whole ride today. The mountains switched masks numerous times, starting with dark ominous clouds and a fresh dusting of powder. Yes, it snows here in June.A few minutes later, K and I gazed at promising blotches of blue sky surrounded by clouds.Finally, after I dropped off K, the skies turned dark and eerie, just before hail pelted me.
While it hailed and looked like night was falling, I started planning escape routes to get off the high exposed ridge if lightning started. Unfortunately, all escape routes would take me into a dense pine forest and a gulch where I saw a plethora of lion signs and an actual lion early this spring. I've been trying to avoid that feline kingdom. So, I stayed high on the ridge, and to my delight, the storms veered around me. In fact, the mountains reappeared under some blue sky.A little later in the ride, a spectacular shrub brought me to a halt, despite my vow not to stop so that I could get home before the fury of the storms. Some of the buds had opened and others remained snugly closed.I still haven't been able to identify it. I'm starting to wonder if it's an exotic (and not in my wildflower books) because it stands next to the last remnant of an old homestead, a concrete foundation. Maybe someone planted it years and years ago. I'll keep trying to identify it but any insights would be welcome!On the final approach to home, I rode through a tiny aspen grove exploding with wildflowers, green leaves, and moisture. It's like a haven of life in the midst of the dense pine forest. There, next to my foot, a columbine poked above the other plants with a bud getting ready to burst with color. I love this time of year. New life emerges every day but a whole summer still sits invitingly in front of me. Life is such a confusing mixture of simultaneous happy and sad parts but today I briefly immersed myself in a happy part.