We started with a pack bike/run this morning. I was the oddball, pedaling a bike, while the dogs and my husband ran. I used to be a runner, eons ago before I knew about my spinal deterioration. Sometimes I long for the simplicity of running with no chain, brakes, or shocks to tune up. But otherwise, biking fills the niche that running used to hold in my life.
This morning, our Black Lab, R, heated up quickly, mostly from his frantic zooming from one side of the trail to the other.But, his never-ending explorations yielded a water hole in a green gulch that stood out from the pine forest like a search light on a dark night. He soaked himself to cool off.
We caught glimpses of the mountains to our west when we traversed the meadows and aspen groves interspersed within the pine forest.
After the runners headed home for breakfast, I explored some new trails on my own, following tortuous thin paths that wound among spindly pine trees. In such a dense pine forest, few wildflowers flourish, except arnica, sticky geraniums, and Fendler Groundsel (Packera fendleri). Today, the golden Groundsel glowed in the sunlight, providing flashes of color where shafts of sunlight penetrated the shaded forest.Within each bunch of flowers, it was easy to overlook the intricate beauty of each flower.On my way home, I passed another view of the same mountain as we glimpsed earlier during our pack run. The meadow in the foreground is covered in yellow wildflowers, painting a beautiful picture.Then, as I passed through the meadow, I noticed a Green Gentian, which I've posted about previously. Ladybugs drank nectar from a blossom.And, an incredibly camouflaged spider crawled along a stem. This arachnid looks perfectly adapted to covertly forage on Green Gentians. He looks like part of the plant.This afternoon, some friends dropped by, and I used our "MannersMinder" to teach R to lie down while visitors arrive. It's amazing how much this device obsesses him and keeps him in one place. It delivers a piece of kibble when I press a remote button or at short regular intervals when I put it in 'stay' mode. Although the device works beautifully, I still have difficulty visualizing weaning him off of having the MannersMinder delivering treats while he holds a down-stay as visitors arrive. Perhaps it's more realistic to view the MannersMinder as a crutch to get us through R's wild puppihood until he's capable of calmly greeting visitors at the door.Because R was stuck in a down-stay next to his MannersMinder, K soaked up the attention of her favorite human friend on Earth. Usually, R's frantic greetings make it impossible for the calmer K to get hugs from her best friend.Now, I get to feed my Tour de France obsession. We record each stage live in the morning, and then watch it in the evening. Many of my friends share my love of following the Tour so I have to start all conversations in July with "I don't know what happened in the Tour today so please don't tell me.". I used to be a bicycle road racer and loved mountainous stage races - which is part of why I like watching the Tour so much. For me, the Tour is synonymous with the lazy days of summer.