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Monday, March 1, 2010

Forest web of life

I've been having a hard time keeping up with life recently. My rehabilitation and exercise program seems to dominate my days, leaving a dwindling energy supply for posting some days. So, today will be a mostly photo blog, about my peaceful hike with K this morning.

We stayed off the trails, walking cross-country among the boulders and trees. As we hit the top of a ridge, I could hear our local dog pack and their human on the trail below us. K's response was to climb the highest boulder near us and sit regally overlooking her kingdom. I'm sure that she could see them from up there.
Then, without trying, we stumbled on bobcat tracks.
They led to the entrance of a deep cavern with low ceilings. The tracks showed that the bobcat had plunged into the subterranean hideaway at a slow walk and then departed in a similarly deliberate way. It looked like a perfect den for an animal to raise young. I wonder who has used it in the past.
The bobcat followed a narrow, almost knife-like ridge, to the west. I stopped to take a photo, not knowing that the views were about to get even better.
We continued following the tracks, and found that the cat had stood, leaving myriad paw prints, on the most prominant look-out point that I've ever found in our forest. All the trampling on the point was done by the cat, not by us. It was a glorious spot that I plan to visit again.
K, always cautious, surprised me by walking up to the same spot with meticulous care. Her first move was to look at the cliff below her.
Then, she surveyed her kingdom again.
The views were glorious.
As we descended the hillside below K's and the bobcat's look-out, we stumbled on a big pile of relatively fresh mountain lion scat.
Nearby, a trampled area caught my eye. It looked like a large animal had milled around this spot for quite a while within the past week. I suspect that we'd found a recent "day-bed" of a mountain lion, on an isolated south-facing slope.
At that moment, I measured the distance to the bear den. Although we stood on the opposite side of an imposing ridge that made the den feel like it was miles away, the shortest distance to the den was less than a quarter mile. I, for the thousandth time, pondered whether a cougar would ever attack and eat a hibernating bear. I wonder if the cougar has even checked out the den. My wildlife camera footage of the activity at the den's entrance will tell us... and I plan to go swap memory cards in the camera sometime soon.

After all these thoughts, I had to remind K that the forest definitely wasn't *her* kingdom!

I cannot imagine substituting a walk on a treadmill for my hikes with K like my doctor suggested. The forest web of life never ceases to intrigue me. And, the tranquility of the forest replenishes my strength and spirit almost every day.


  1. Well, exercising your mind is just as important as exercising your body! I'd say you do that a lot better on your hikes than you would on a treadmill. I know I'd look forward to one option and dread the other!

    That picture of K on the rock just took my breath away! Wow!

  2. K SOOOOOO knows how to lead you to a great photoshoot!

    Thanks again!

  3. Great photo shoot!!

    Hope no bobcats intruded K's Kingdom!!


  4. I know that exercising inside is not very satisfactory spirit wise and is a last resort when it's too dark or nasty outside. You need to take care of you mind as well as your body.

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such nice comments! I love meeting new friends!

    What amazing pictures! K, you look so regal on your mountain top! I would love to visit your kingdom! You have snow!!

    My human agrees that walking outside with a dog (or dogs) can't compare to staying inside on a treadmill. Good luck to your human on her healing journey!


  6. Me and the peeps love your pictures! Here is to hoping you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Enjoy your sunshine!
    The peeps also want to know if you ever go to "Frozen Dead Guy Days"? If not, and if you have no idea what that is, they will be VERY embarrassed and it will take a whole lot of explaining! =)

  7. beautifully said!

    how did the super glue work?!

  8. Hey KB
    We understand the concept of dwindling energy, so BIG thanx for the pictures and the post. Don't push it...we are always here!
    Luv C

  9. When does the snow go? It sure looks beautiful but the last few days here have remimnded us that there's nothing like sunshine and warmth to shake off those winter blues.

  10. What a great montage of photos!!! We love the ones of K surveying her kingdom.

  11. Oh, K made me nervous seeing her perched on those boulders! I'm glad you've had the energy (or will) to get out to enjoy your/K's kingdom. We all love to see your adventures, but don't worry about posting if you need rest! We'll stay tuned!

    To answer your question, Kona hasn't been nervous with the scent work. Since she's only searching for treats (and doesn't have to alert me before she eats them), she really can't get stressed about making a mistake. In general, she usually doesn't worry about doing things right when we're working on something new. It's more whether or not she finds the task scary. "You what me to run through that tunnel? No way. I'm not putting my feet on that scary box."

    The book you're reading sounds interesting!

  12. I'd get nervous too, if Lilly stood on rocks like that, but K seems perfectly confident.

    I'd NEVER expect you to give up your outings, but maybe you can supplement them with some nighttime treadmill work ... you know, because you have SO much energy and time right now.

  13. Love the pic of K on the cliff. Anyone that would pick a treadmill over these hikes would be a total dork. I'm jealous.

  14. Our M is torn about hiking vs the treadmill too. Usually, we win, so the treadmill simply collects more dust and fur.

  15. Catching up with you, KB. You ask some intriguing questions. I'll be excited by the answers your wildlife camera provides.


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