Being out in nature for both sunrise and sunset is a wonderful aspect to short winter days. This morning, K slumbered as I put on my cold weather cycling gear for my bike ride. I realized that almost all of my photos of K involve her barreling through the forest at warp speed. In fact, she's a mellow dog who enjoys a good nap, assuming that we've been giving her enough exercise.
After saying goodbye to my pack, I plunged out into what I expected to be cold air but was actually comfortably warm. The sun had risen above the horizon but a local meadow and rocky peaks still wore the sunrise afterglow.
Since our huge snowstorm, I've intensely missed being able to take a daily bike ride with K. I'm hoping that a few more warm days with unfettered sun will melt the trails enough that I'll be able to pilot my snow bike on a few trails with a dog or two by my side. But, for today, I rode my mountain bike on dirt roads while K joined the rest of the pack for morning trail time.
As I rode, the intense blue sky and a deep green pine forest with a snowy mountain behind it caught my eye, to say the least.
From May until this snowstorm, I almost never rode my mountain bike on roads - only for short connections here and there. Now, all of a sudden, I'm spending the majority of my time on dirt roads. On the roads, I definitely get a more intense workout because rocks and other obstacles don't slow me. Moreover, fewer wildlife signs catch my curiosity and cause me to a halt to investigate. But, I miss the trails and their secret wildlife stories. I'm hoping that the current warmth melts enough snow that I'll be back in the forest soon!
For today, I contented myself with the glimpses of our mountains that peeked from behind trees and rocky hills.
After returning home from my ride, I took K to the vet for a post-pancreatitis and kidney infection check-up. The vet exclaimed that K looked two years younger than she did just after being so gravely ill. Moreover, her physical exam showed nothing worrisome. She certainly did look healthy as she zipped around the forest this evening.
Then, our vet uttered K's favorite words: "I think that you need to feed her more"! K lost about 10 lbs when she was sick and still needs to regain another 3 lbs. So, it's feasting time for K! To amuse her while I'm out, I freeze her dog food into kongs. Here, she worked on extracting the food from her kong, paying no attention to my departure.
I did get some trail time with the pups in the evening, and we visited our favorite sunset viewing point. The two pups torpedoed down the steep slope below the promontory, and I called them back. K is usually the stabilizing influence in the duo. However, since our storm, she's been bursting with extra energy because she hasn't been getting her usual mountain bike rides. I've found that she's been zooming around the forest like a rocket ship - egging on R rather than stabilizing him.
Part of why I visit this lookout so frequently is that every sunset is different. Yesterday, the tendrils of fog had crept into the canyon below us while heavy clouds sat over the highest mountains. A purple hue enveloped our entire world.
This evening, the air below and above the mountains was clear, with only a few wisps of wind-blown clouds floating like halos above the mountains. A gold hue reflected off the snowy peaks.As a girl who grew up in an east coast suburban setting, I find myself endlessly amazed by the mountains, vast expanses, and wildlife of the west. If I look past the small stuff, I am very lucky indeed.