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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mountain lion sex ID and waning days of biking

We're working on a more 'documentary' presentation of the close to 300 photos and videos that we have of the mountain lion so far. We almost certainly have more photos and footage waiting for us in our cameras that remain posted by the deer carcass that the mountain lion has been guarding. It's a project that I probably won't finish until after my surgery but it's fun getting started.

I've read at the Colorado Division of Wildlife website about how to visually sex a mountain lion, and it involves seeing black spots just above the scrotum on the hind end. None of our photos give us the view that we need to sex 'him'. Are there any experts reading this who might offer some more hints? We have several photos and videos where he might be urinating. Do male and female mountain lions adopt different postures for this activity? I'm going to continue my research but any insights would be very welcome! In the photo below, I suspect that he's simply walking, and not urinating, but I can't be sure.I've been giving 'our' lion a wide berth but still exploring the forest every day with my labrador, K. I'm treasuring every moment because an enforced hiatus from bike-riding is on the way after my neck fusion surgery on Wednesday. So, I'm trying to soak up every last drop of joy from our beautiful world that I can.
Today, the air temperature soared to scorching levels - it might have reached 35°F! K and I rolled fast on the hard-packed trails with my Fatback snow bike unperturbed by any obstacle. Moreover, K was finally crackling with energy, displaying her normal voltage level, for the first time since aggravating her pancreatitis by gorging herself on the deer carcass that she found last Saturday (the beginning of the mountain lion saga).
As we blasted along the empty trails, we accidentally sneaked up on a pair of deer. K saw them, and turned to me for a jackpot of treats. After six years of training, I truly trust her around live deer. She sees a deer as a cue to look to me for treats. Yes!!!
Part of why an enforced hiatus from bike-riding is so hard for me to accept peacefully is that I know that a dog's life is far too short and their athletic years wane too rapidly. I hate to miss any trail time during K's physical peak. So, today, I took more photos of her out on the trails. She glowed in the warm sun.
And climbed huge boulders.My neck fusion surgery looms on Wednesday's calender spot. I feel as if I'm saying a melancholy good-bye to my favorite biking trails. I'm not sure whether anyone can understand how much the forest and its trails feel like my home. So, leaving them for a while brings me deep sadness. But, when I start to fall into the abyss of feeling sorry for myself, I remind myself that I want grit and determination to define my life. I'll be back, and sooner than anyone thinks! I'll see this view again, from a bike, before the snow melts - that's my promise to myself!I'll be required to 'walk' extensively during my recovery. Since we have no sidewalks or pavement near our home, I'll be walking (hiking) on the trails near my house. My world will shrink, because I can't travel as far by foot as by bike, and I won't be allowed to drive to other trailheads (or anywhere for that matter). However, when I can walk a mile, I'll be able to see the sun set. That's a worthy goal!
Some have asked that I write more about my surgery, including exactly what's being done and the details of the recovery period. I'm going to save that post for after surgery and focus on sucking every last drop of beauty from my world while I can still bike through it. Briefly, for the curious, I'll be having 4 segments of my neck fused together. I already have several fused segments in my lower back so I'm turning into the bionic woman, with lots of titanium hardware bolstering my spine's strength. More details later.


  1. What an absolutely gorgeous day you had!!! Beautiful shots of K too. We think you should enjoy every bit of your scenery as long as you can before the surgery. Think of the wonderful trail of adventure you can follow here on your own blog. It would be great for you to go back and read through all of the wonderful presentations you have given to all of us. And you never know what you may discover as you walk on those trails. One never knows what lies ahead:)

    God bless and good luck.

  2. Khyra and I will echo what The OP KS Pack Mom wrote!

    Khyra says I need to revise it to say DOG bless you too!

    K's pics today are such a telling sign for what is to come!

  3. I hope you have a few more perfect days like this to enjoy on the trails before Wednesday. I have no doubt that you will recover quickly. K is as beautiful as ever! She steals every photo that she's in! Wishing you days of peace and calm weather for the future!

  4. My internet connection will hopefully be fixed this week, so I'll look forward to seeing your compilation of big cat media. I can't wait to be able to watch videos again.

    I don't blame you for wanting to completely submerge yourself in the forest for the next couple of days. I hope you have tons of fun on the trails with your companion K during that time.

  5. Oh KB! Keep those rides large for the next few days. We know you will be out there with grit and determination for sure! We look forward to those magical hikes you do with K & R.
    (Dave had to put off his next epidural, due to an unforseen infection...he is in a lot of pain...still working on finding the path to the 'solution'.)
    Sending warm thought and big hugs!!!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  6. You are certainly making the most out of these last few days before surgery! I know for someone as active as you, the down time will be difficult.
    I will be relieved when it is over and you can start on the road to recovery!!

    Male or female the mountain lion is magnificent!

  7. You say (above) you want to hear what I think. I think good thoughts when I hear you making plans for your recovery period. I also think it might be good if you can't do all these things, for whatever reason, that you can surrender yourself to healing. Healing is such an amazing miracle and gift to us. Give all that determination and grit to meditation, sleep, and talking to you dogs or who ever is with you. Just for awhile!

    Cheers and hugs,
    Jo and Stella

  8. Gorgeous shots! and that title really caught my attention. i was like, What???

    good luck w/surgery. i was a rider once, hopefully will get back into it this year. took a hiatus due to a long term injury.

    sigh. hope you will get better soon. i jsut started reading your blog so i don't know the deets, but it sounds scary.

    Dog Bless you (as Khyra says)
    wild dingo

  9. Wednesday! Goodness. Once you made your mind up you certainly didn't delay - that clear determination , confidence and strength come shining through todays post.

  10. Dear KB
    Just want to wish you all the best. I can't find word which isn't already used by your readers, but I want Stellas words above to be mine too. By the way: I too find your pictures and video og the lion are marvelos. All good thougths for wednesday. EM

  11. I'm happy you had this day to savor, KB !

    I have no doubt that you will soon be walking the land that you love so much, and maybe discovering new wild life treasures as you move more slowly and closer to the ground for a time

  12. Thanks KB. I think you were my first dog blog visit this year and from there the HERD found me and then all dog blog hell broke loose. i don't remember WHICH post i found you on, but apparently they said they found me on your post.

    anyway, i'm finding out in my search groups that labs make the BEST search dogs, well, blood hounds too. but it's still fun to train loki. Just when he looks like he's running nilly willy not working, he finds his target and later on debriefing we discover he's quite methodical in his practice. which gives me hope that he'll continue to improve.

    here's my favorite search post on Wild Dingo. You may like it too!

    hopefully you can do it again when you're better with your two. i'll bet at least one, if not both, would be awesome!

  13. I'm glad you are getting out and enjoying as much of your romping and rolling as you can before the surgery. Anything that helps bolster your spirit and fighting attitude are, as you already know, important to focus on. Thanks for reminding me of the same.

  14. Oh yes, and I meant to say - awesome dog training results! What an accomplishment!

  15. While I count of The Herd being well behaved in the wild, not sure I could ever trust them off leash stumbling across a couple of deer. Excellent training.

    I agree with the others. Max the next few days - while curious as the others, I can wait for more understanding of the surgery until later. The next few days are all about you!

    Thinking of you and wishing the best on Wednesday.

  16. Perhaps the break from biking will allow you to hone your skills as a video editor - your blog is becoming a great destination for those of us who love nature and can't quite get enough of it.

    Best of luck with Wednesday - I know what a big deal it is...

  17. Catching up with you, KB - love that setting sun! K looks beautiful and very Queen of the Mountain on that boulder. I'm thinking of you.

  18. Enjoying the blog and older posts. Love the deer = treats training.


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