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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yellow aspens and snowy mountains

What a wildly vacillating morning on the trails. When K and I first set out, the sun glimmered faintly among the pine trees so I pedaled up a steep trail to our lookout. During the climb, the clouds closed in, and alas, I could barely discern the outline of the mountains in the sky.I could tell during our climb to the peak that K had regained another byte of energy today in her slow recovery from pancreatitis. She zoomed, zipped, and leaped over small boulders. Her energy, combined with great news from the vet yesterday, made me smile. K's blood tests showed no signs of diabetes, a disease known to follow pancreatitis. The reason for her frequent urination was simply a urinary tract infection - a fixable and not-too-serious condition. I was very relieved.

To celebrate, we enjoyed a longer mountain bike ride than we've been taking lately. We rode through a pine forest, and when we passed an opening in the trees, the resplendent mountains appeared like a mirage.
After a bit more pedaling, we celebrated that the snow hadn't ripped the leaves off of an expansive aspen grove. As we stood near the grove, snow flakes first drifted and then pelted out of the sky.
We turned around to hustle toward home. But, in the blink of an eye, the sun rays warmed us so we stopped in the midst of glowing aspens.We enjoyed a flowing and relaxing ride home, with K galloping effortlessly by my side. I'm so happy that she's on the mend.

After I dropped her off at home, the wild weather continued. However, each time conditions became nasty, I knew that the sun would shine again within minutes. What an odd day! It's as if nature cannot decide whether it's fall or winter.

I took a route with many views of the mountains, and I enjoyed every one. I appreciated the unique combination of autumn colors and snowy mountains. The snowy mountains will watch over us for the coming months but the leaves will be on the ground, buried under snow, soon.
As I rolled along a ridge, flocks of unfamiliar birds flew out of the grass like popcorn popping all around me. I didn't recognize any of these migratory birds passing through our forest except for one, the yellow-rumped warbler. It's almost impossible not to recognize this beautiful bird with its brilliant yellow rump flashing as it flies away. I see these birds in huge flocks in the fall and in much smaller numbers in the spring. During migration, they fly long distances at night, averaging 55 miles/night in the fall and 190 miles/night in the spring. Those vast distances astound me. These warblers must stop-over in our area for refueling during the daylight hours - which is when I see them.

From the ridge, as I watched the birds, I noticed my favorite landscape combination. A delicately adorned aspen tree with a snowy mountain as its background.Finally, as I homed in on my house, I sweltered in the warm sun. I was dressed for the 28 degree snowy air that met me at the start of my ride. Despite being tired and hot, I noticed a new mountain perspective from a trail as familiar as the rooms of my house. It's funny how I can ride and hike past a spot for years, and then suddenly, it looks unique to me one day. The 'unique' view is captured in the photo below.
I arrived home tired and happy. What a beautiful place I get to live. And, two warm and wonderful Labradors greeted me at home!


  1. What wild weather! Wonderful photographs.

    Happy Birthday to K. You are so right...we really do owe our dogs. They do so much for us.

  2. Great news!

    Great pikhs!

    PeeEssWoo: Mom's furst Sibe did the reverse: diabetes then the pankhreatitis.

  3. Your descriptions of the birds taking off "like popcorn popping" is perfect! Glad that K continues to improve and that you are so enjoying your lovely home.

  4. I spent alot of time in your area. I love seeing the pictures. It makes me homesick for the mountains.

  5. Hi KB

    I am enjoying seeing the snow on the mountains increasing over the days of your posts...

    An area of our North Shore beach has been fenced off for a few months as the migratory birds breed and then rest in preparation for their great flights home...some as far as Alaska...

    Happy days

  6. Crazy weather, but beautiful as always! So glad K's results came back good.

  7. Kia ora KB,
    Wonderful and wild weather, the mountains look so majestic with the snow.

  8. Love watching the snow creep its way down the mountain face!


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