This morning, I rolled out on my Fatback to try to navigate our snowy trail system on wheels. After a holiday weekend of an unprecedented number of trailusers, the snow was packed and ready for my bike. The two dogs joined me, making the ride even more fun.
Although it was a wintry 9°F when I emerged from the warm house, I quickly overheated as I pedaled smoothly with my Labs just ahead of me. Having the snowy mountains as a ever present background is a joy.
As always, we mixed dog romping with dog training. R did a recall, gracefully galloping toward me at warp speed with the low sun behind him. The tracks crossing the trail just under R's paws were left by a cloven-hooved deer heading down from this high plateau toward the meadow below us. About six sets of tracks all meandered in the same direction, spread out over 50 yards. The scent of deer probably permeated this area which was why I chose it for R's practice recalls.
K did a recall later in the ride. I don't watch for tracks or other signs to choose where to practice with her because she's proven herself to be reliable around every animal we've encountered in the past year. So, I just call her when the spirit moves me, showering her with treats when she arrives.
K sat when she arrived and gave me one of her soul-searching looks that melts my heart.
As I adjusted something on my bike, the Labraduo held a sit-stay in a scenic spot. My fingers get cold in a big hurry when I work on my bike in this weather so the sit-stay was brief!
We ended by rolling out to a favorite viewpoint, catching a glimpse of a unique view of the Divide.
The forest helped calm my spirit today as I wound my way through the golden hued forest. The low sun filtered through the pine trees who cast long shadows, lending the snowy world a mysterious ambiance.
Despite the sunny day, I didn't see another human on the trails. Solitude is part of what I love about exploring our forest. On 'normal' days, only a few people travel through the forest all day long, making it a silent and peaceful oasis ruled by animals with the occasional human or canine visitor. If I'm alert, I see a plethora of large animal signs, including a maze of tracks from coyotes, bobcats, deer, and elk searching for food. I love seeing the evidence of the web of life buzzing in our forest even when I don't see the animals themselves.
I feel lucky to have a wild forest surrounding my home and to have the freedom to roam in it.