Yesterday, K's medical tests finally came back clean - completely and utterly normal. No more casts inhabit her urine, suggesting that the antibiotics have annihilated the kidney infection. She leaped through the forest with joy this morning.
When we emerged from the forest, she hopped onto a boulder for a view of the snowy mountains and their shroud of clouds.
The view was beautiful. I don't blame her for hopping up and taking a look.
K looks healthy to me! Here, she initiated eye contact as she does frequently. I know how lucky I am to have her as my dog but my good fortune is obvious when she gazes at me like this.We had a quiet ride in the forest, seeing no one, but spying lots of animal tracks. We have good idea where all the elk and deer are hiding but we aren't telling anyone who's carrying a gun! Actually, so far this season, I've seen almost no hunters - just one pair last weekend. I wonder if the predicted nosedive in hunting activities is starting.
After I dropped K off at home, I headed out for some solo riding. It was a ride of contrasts. On trails with southern exposure, the sun had melted the snow and dried the top layer of dirt. Except for a subtle mushiness that made pedaling much more laborious than usual, I couldn't tell that it had snowed.
After riding on sunny trails for about half my ride, I crested a ridge and plunged down into the depths of a forested north-facing slope. Winter ruled. I put an extra warm layer on to avoid getting chilled.As the photos show, I don't think that the sun ever touches parts of this north-facing steep slope from now until April or so. My trail was carpeted by a few inches of snow, and the pine boughs above me held clumps of snow that whoomphed onto my helmet like freezing water balloons as I rolled under the canopy. I glimpsed some gorgeous views through the trees.
The ledge trail contoured around a gulch. At the deepest part of the gulch, the forest looked primordial. Rays of sun had just caressed the trees a few yards into the forest. Snow clumps fell like bombs. Snow flakes melted off the branches, and water droplets cascaded off the trees, highlighted by the golden sunlight. The effect shows up best in the forest gap in the middle of the photo below.
Animals flock to this gulch to drink from a seeping spring. Tracks of deer, rabbits, squirrels, a fox, and a coyote all milled around the watering spot. Although I searched carefully, I didn't find any bear tracks. Based on how often I see their tracks and scat on this trail, I'm certain that it's a favorite of theirs, probably due to the myriad berries lining it and its remoteness. I'm starting to think that most of our bears are slumbering rather than wandering the trails.
After the gulch, the trail oriented toward the south ever so briefly. The bright red leaves of rose bushes accentuated that, while winter reigned just a few yards away, autumn still had control against this south-facing cliff.
I arrived home exhausted, again. I think that something is making biking harder than usual these days. It's either the snowy trails, my old bike reserved for messy weather riding that has an energy-sapping shock absorption system, or me! Hopefully, I'll find out tomorrow because the trails may be dry enough for my favorite bike, the red Safire with a Brain that adjusts the shock stiffness in response to how bumpy the terrain is. I love that bike, and I miss it when the weather turns sloppy.
But, for today, I feel thankful that my gut feeling that K's health is soaring is correct. She's had her share of veterinary near-misses recently, and it's time for smooth sailing.