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Monday, November 2, 2009

Twilight and a new day

Yesterday evening, we were out as sunset turned to twilight. The full moon led the way as we tromped the trails in our snowshoes from our neighbor's house to ours. The ambiance was sublime. The full moon lit the snowy world but a spooky element pervaded it. As moonlit darkness engulfed the forest, I felt the web of life that we humans rarely glimpse awakening. The predators move out from their daybeds and start hunting for their next meals. At this time of year, we can see some evidence of their activity in snowy tracks but I'd love to be able to see more.This morning, a new day dawned and the night-loving animals went to bed as I piloted my mountain bike out on the dirt roads early. Fog blurred the world below us. Its ghostly tendrils threatened to sneak through the canyons and up the gulches to our mountain elevation.
To the west, the mountains tried to glow through their stormy shroud.
Indeed, just 20 minutes later, the clouds had thinned, and I saw my favorite terrain.
After briefly riding along a plateau, I plunged down a dirt road paralleling a gulch and creek. All along the creek, tracks like the ones shown below told stories of thirsty animals postholing down to the running water for a drink. In this case, a smallish elk first went down to the creek, leaving the tracks with longer strides on the right. Then, she climbed through piles of snow up the steep embankment, leaving her hard-earned tracks with shorter strides on the left. In her uphill tracks, you can see that she slid back down toward the creek by 6 inches or so with each step. It's hard work being a wild animal. There's no convenient faucet for getting drinking water.
After my ride, I picked up the dogs and took them for a snowshoe hike in the forest. It's a tough time of year here because the snow is melting too fast for cross country ski touring but, in some parts of the forest, the snow is still too deep and unpacked for snowbiking. So, I'm forced to snowshoe, which my spine hates, rebelling loudly by sending phantom pains shooting down into my legs. However, the pups needed romping time! Their antics distracted me from the discomfort.

Here comes R with K in rapid pursuit!
A split second later, K blew by me!
The dog duo seemed obsessed with tall rocky formations that scare me. I plan to put my new infrared wildlife camera near this boulder-strewn kingdom because I've seen so many cat tracks here. No doubt, the felines love hunting, lounging, and climbing gracefully in this rocky outcropping. Consequently, my heart accelerated when the pups started scrambling upward as if they were pursuing an animal. But, a quick recall brought them back to my side.
At the end of our hike through the snow, we visited a lookout to check out our mountains and stand quietly for an instant. Nothing brings me peace like a quiet spot in the forest with a view.
I love imagining how long those peaks have towered over our forest and how many people have gazed at them like I did today. Then, my mind visualizes how many animals have meandered past this spot over the Earth's history. This pondering makes me feel like a speck in the history of our world. I'll be gone in the blink of an eye but those craggy and snowy mountains will keep standing tall.


  1. I love the next to last shot with both of the pups!

    What great photos again (and as always)!

    PeeEssWoo: Take khare of that spine!!!

  2. I also stand and wonder about all the others who have stood here before me. Especially when we wander in old cemeteries, I marvel at the courage it took to live in these mountains so long ago.

    Gorgeous photographs. Loved the dogs zipping by.

  3. Excellent photograph - and sentiment - of the two canines framing the mountains in the background. I love standing in our mountains and absorbing the sheer awesomeness of it all. Perhaps our role is simply to be good stewards and to enjoy it all.

  4. We read your posts and so wish they would go on and on. You write so well and your photos are just magnificent. We end up saying the same thing here all the time, but it is so true - just beautiful.

    woos, the OP Pack

  5. I'm in total agreement with the OP pack and DK. Your world is full circle away from mine, and while I am happy in mine, I admire you and the life you have chosen. Your writing and photos are heavenly.

    A book someday, perhaps?

    Jo and Stella

  6. I love that picture of K and R with the mountains as a backdrop. How perfect!

    Sorry about your spine. Hope the wheels on the bike will be able to get out and spin soon.

  7. Hey there KB...we speak the same language in terms of our wonder for the natural world! Your pictures are beautiful today. (Is that the same spot K was investigating last time?)
    Anyway, I wanted to of my greatest wishes is to be on the banks of the Zambezi river (in Zambia), during an eclipse of the sun. They say that in the few minutes of darkness the whole ecosystem (all animals included) changes to nighttime: Hippos emerge from rivers, Lions start hunting and birds go to sleep. It must be totally awesome.My lifetime's dream!
    Thanks for another lovely post.

  8. Hi KB, The photo of both dogs looking toward the peaks is awesome! I like misty peaks, too - so dreamy looking. I can imagine walking in snowshoes jars your spine - I sometimes get a backache after snowshoeing is certain kinds of snow. I prefer the xskis, though we need more snow to use them. I'm really amazed at the rate of snow melt this week both in the Metro and in the high country.


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