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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy days for R and exploring for K

Our R has had a string of special days. A second birthday. A day for surprising his human by gnawing a telephone in between snoozes. Aren't dogs supposed to grow up at age two? Would someone please tell R that myth?
And, a one-year anniversary of his astoundingly successful elbow dysplasia surgery.
Yesterday evening, in his signature mischievous way, he announced that it was time for an evening hike.
In celebration of R's big events, the light over the Divide was surreal.
This morning, I took K on our new route, the one that I scouted out yesterday. K was stoked with enthusiasm, happy to explore new territory.
She alerted me to a large scraping in the pine duff, just below a wall of boulders. She sniffed with curiosity and mild apprehension. After looking at it, I realized that it was a classic lion scraping. They scrape an area with their hind paws to leave their scent and sometimes urinate on it. Lions like to leave these territorial markers on main travel routes to announce their ownership to everyone traveling past. I'm guessing that it's a fairly recent scraping because pine needles hadn't yet covered the shallow pit. My foot is in the photo for scale. The animal scraped in the direction from my toes toward my heel.
K sat and watched me patiently while I examined it. I bet she wonders why I didn't sniff it. If only I could smell as well as she can!
We turned a corner a short time later, and the mountains greeted us.
We rolled along, watching for animals and animal signs, and enjoying a warm and sunny morning. We tried a side trail that no one has maintained and found some downed trees. As I laboriously hefted my bike over them, K sailed past my ear over both logs. I asked her to leap again so that I could get some photos.

Perch for an instant on the log.
Carefully target where to land.
Plunge back to Earth.
Wow, what an athlete. I didn't ask for another try because that landing must be tough on her body.

As we rolled past another cliff, we both noticed a deep shaft tunneling directly into the ground at the base. The dirt near the entrance was worn by the paws of many animal passages in and out of the hole. I couldn't see the end of it even when I used my camera's flash. The entrance looked like a small Labrador (like K) could squeeze through if she slithered. That made me think that a bobcat, coyote or fox might use this subterranean tunnel as a den.
K and I explored a very promising branch off of the main trail that may let me make an entirely trail loop out of a favorite ride. Alas, I didn't want to take K too far today so I turned around instead of pushing through to the junction. She protested and momentarily refused to turn around.
After K and I arrived home happily, I rode a bit more, trying to squeeze every last bit of fun from our Indian Summer weather. Winterlike weather was predicted for this afternoon, and it was obviously on the way based on the front of clouds covering the Divide by the end of my ride.
What a change from the first photo of the Divide in this post! One thing about living close to these towering giants is that the weather can change on a dime. I'm glad that K and I explored together in the warmth this morning!

Happy Birthday Sweet R! The phone incident is already forgotten! And, I'm so glad that you had a year and half with your brother S.


  1. Happy EvFURRYthing to R!

    Mom had THAT smile on her face about the two year old meaning grown up! I have NO idea why she'd think anything but!

    We love all the khool pikhs again as well as the experiences woo shared from the trail!


  2. Happy Birthday (and surgery-versary), R. We chuckled at the grown up at 2 comment. Natasha, age 6, is clear. You are only as old as you think you are.

    She also salutes R for the phone. Way to deal with those pesky sales calls.

  3. Happy Birthday adorable boy!!! He is just soooooo cute with his face on his paws like that :) :) :) Please send him and his sis a monster hug and lots of wiggles and slurps from the Yahoos and Flowers!

  4. Happy Birthday to R! Oh, did they forget to tell you that Labs have a "prolonged" adolescence? Especially the males? But it looks like he is coming along nicely with K's guidance and a little help from mom.

  5. Happy Birthday, R! What an auspicious day ... Today is my friend Deanna's lab Norman's b-day, AND ... it's the anniversary of Lilly's adoption 5 years ago.

  6. Happy 2nd birthday, R! I think that no matter how old he gets, he will always be young at heart.


    Wow...what beautiful photos again! Such amazing scenery and all your scouting to match. We have 'trackers' here who remind me of you...they 'read' the bush for animals, like you: A broken twig here, a disturbed grass patch, footprint, etc etc.
    Wow, but K certainly is athletic! ...and we love that last picture. Doggies who work in pairs are truly awesome. Thank you for a wonderful blog post (yet again!)

  8. happy day R!! love the pictures, and as always the tracking of wild animals! it is amazing how the weather can change in an instant...
    looks like everyone is feeling good and healthy!

  9. What's a little phone between best friends. So happy that the surgery was a resounding success.

    It would have been really cool if you could have done a cast of that HUGE footprint! WOWZA!

  10. Happy 2nd B-day to R! I have a feeling he may remain a puppy all of his days! K looks vibrant and healthy in the photos - I'm glad she's better. What about you - is your mouth feeling OK? I returned to Breck (and a snowstorm) today.

  11. That last photo is so touching. I hope you are healing from your loss and that it brings warm memories.


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