I woke up just plain happy today. I keep bursting into child-like giggling over things that really aren't as hysterical as my laughing would suggest. I think that I'm silly with happiness that K is mending and the lost dogs from yesterday are truly home.
K still slept almost all day but the vet forewarned me that sleepiness dominate her days for a week or so.
But, we took a few short leash walks on the tiny loop that we eschew except when one of our dogs can't exercise much. K seemed mystified by her new limitations. She urged me to unclip her leash and let her run. Then, when I turned onto the trail that leads home, she dug in her heels and needed convincing to take the turn. I think that I'll start walking her a little further tomorrow.
We stopped for a photo near some yellow aspens.
A big issue is what K is going to eat over the long-term. She has food allergies and now this chronic smoldering pancreatitis. I called the one and only canine nutritionist who consults with individual pet owners in Boston today but she's out of town for 10 days. We need to figure out something in the interim because K will be allowed to eat more than overcooked oatmeal (the only allowable food right now) in a few days. I'm working on it!
After walking K this morning, I didn't feel right about going for a mountain bike ride without K. I procrastinated, doing mindless chores, before finally kicking myself out the door. Despite my reluctance to start, I had a fantastic ride. My back finally felt better. It's been hurting a lot, after days of sitting and lying in vet cages with K, or sitting in uncomfortable vet clinic waiting room chairs. During today's ride, I actually felt a stubborn spasm twitch a few times and then let go - a very tangible sign of the healing power of cycling.
Everything looked new and beautiful to me so I took lots of photos. When I looked at them later, I wondered why I'd taken some of them. Rose colored glasses, I think.
But, the mountains are always beautiful.
Near the end of my ride, I explored up near some peaks that have intrigued me for years. Sunlight filtered through the forest and spotlighted brilliant yellow flowers still blooming despite the onset of autumn.
I was exploring an area that's traveled very little by humans. But, numerous signs like scat and tracks leave a record making it undeniable that a myriad of animals roam among the rocky peaks, including bear, deer, elk, lions, bobcats, and coyotes. It's odd but I find that in relatively untrampled areas, I rarely see the animals. But, I bet that they see me!
Without the trained eye of someone who knows how to suss out 'secret' trails, the wild area appears to be devoid of trails. But, I found a couple of trails last March when light snow covered the ground. Snow accumulates more on traveled paths than other places so I often search for new trails in the snow. Trails up here in the mountains often look like tiny animal paths, not like the wide and obvious trails closer to town.
In March, I found a promising trail, obviously planned and built by an industrious forest traveler. It started as a tiny thread of an animal trail. However, after a mile or so of being a vague path, huge cairns began appearing.Last March, I reached the biggest cairn of them all, and the trail evaporated. I laid down my bike and started walking in expanding circles around the last cairn, trying to find the continuation of the trail. Dense trees blocked my view further than 5 yards around me. In my post, I was too embarrassed to admit that I actually lost my bike while I searched for the trail. I panicked, thinking that I was in big trouble, but eventually I stumbled upon my bike and the almost invisible trail. I turned around feeling discouraged.
It turns out that, within the past few months, a sneaky blog reader and trailbuilder went to that spot on the trail and left a sign for me.
A closer look showed that the sign said "Walk'n part". In other words, he was telling me that the trail continues but it can't be ridden for the next little bit. However, he was leaving the thrill of exploring and discovering the route for me. He left no information about which way I was supposed to walk.
I had to sit down on the rocks because this sign tickled my funny bone and left me laughing out loud. I bet that only two people have visited this spot in the past 6 months, me and the trailbuilder/blog-reader.
This time, I was even more determined to figure out where the trail went since the sign confirmed that it didn't truly evaporate. I dragged my bike with me (no losing it this time!) while I circled, searching for anything that looked like the mark of a human. Then, after fighting my way through thick underbrush that drew blood on my shins, I spotted a saucer-like rock balanced atop a small boulder. That started me in the right direction.
Following cairns, I found a vista, before being forced to turn around due to time constraints.I'll be visiting that trail soon again. It looks promising- like it might provide a trail link that I've searched for over many years. Recently, I purchased a modern GPS unit that will display topo maps with my path superimposed on them while I ride (once I figure out how to use it). I think that I'm going to finally find out where this trail goes! As you can tell, I love exploring.
For those of you who aren't mountain bikers, we tend to go to incredible lengths to avoid the roads. We search the wild backcountry for tiny and rough paths that might eventually let us avoid using roads at all. It's a funny mentality, almost like a mountain lion trying to stay hidden in the forest. But, this mentality ends up possessing all five of the hard-core mountain bikers in my neighborhood. In other words, I'm not as odd as you might think based on this post!