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.