Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mystical forest and meadow

Today's morning hike was a quiet and inquiring hike, as K and I probed deep into the forest in a place that felt complete devoid of human presence. On the trails, I can feel the influence of people everywhere. However, once I flee the trails, the forest feels different, more peaceful, and more wild. Humans are not in charge of the deep forest.

We started high, to get a view of the newly snowy mountains.
Behind K, in the photo below, clouds veil the mountains but some blue shined through.
The views of the snow-pillowed pine trees with the mountains behind them still awe me
Soon, however, I steered us toward a steep canyon wall that I'd never explored.
As we began our slippery descent, K alerted me to a scent, one that interested her almost too much. Her taut body language led me to leash her.
A short distance later, I spotted an uplifting of boulders, lined up like sentinels guarding the lower slopes. I've learned that boulder outcroppings harbor all sorts of creatures and their signs so we investigated. One boulder had an overhanging roof, protecting the pine duff below it from the snow. First, we found this scat, whose size was somewhere between a bobcat's and a mountain lion's typical scat dimensions. It contained almost entirely fur.
Then, nearby, K sniffed intensely, inhaling snow and sneezing. She started to dig, and we found scat that was beyond a doubt from a mountain lion. Moreover, its putrid stench almost overwhelmed me. This lion had eaten pure meat, and then the snow had preserved the odor of his waste. I stood in the spot and imagined standing in the mighty cat's paw prints. For me, it's mystical and powerful to have the lion spirits among us.

We plodded onward and downward, sometimes through deep snow up to my thighs. On the steeper parts, I grabbed trees to keep from sliding and frequently dumped fresh powder from the pine boughs all over me and K.
K shook off before the photo below but notice the snow on my hat, hair and shoulders! Also, notice that my neck brace is absent. I carried it in a lumbar pack but haven't needed it in days!
After laboring to move through the forest, we suddenly emerged from the dark pine trees into the light of an opening.
The boulder-ringed meadow in the midst of the forest enchanted me. It felt like an animal oasis, a place where bears, elk, and lions go to relax away from the human-traveled trails. We saw no tracks or signs of recent animal visits to this meadow but it rang with energy, a special spirit, of wild animals. We sat on a boulder, taking a short break and relaxing in the absolute silence of a snowy forest. Although the world was snowy today, I visualized a green grassy meadow, surrounded by leafy aspen trees filled with singing birds.

I truly wanted to explore the meadow more but my legs began aching, a sure sign that I've pushed my spine further than I should. My leg muscles spasm when my spinal cord is compressed and/or irritated in my neck. So, we headed toward the nearest trail and home. No doubt, I'll return to that spot. Its peacefulness will pull me back.

Along the way home, we spotted the mountains again. This time, the clouds portended snow. In fact, as we hiked, small flakes started fluttering out of the sky.In the late winter, I see each snowflake as a wildflower. Today, I visualized Columbine flowers fluttering down from the clouds. What a vision! Spring snow sows the grass, shrubs, wildflowers, and small trees that feed the wild animals in the spring and summer. Thanks to the snow, our bears will have more to eat when they finally emerge from their winter den. Let it snow!


  1. Those pictures of the mountains are really gorgeous!

    You and K have matching coats, too! I love that you both have snow on your noses! That really was a sweet picture of the two of you together. I'm happy to hear you haven't needed the neck brace! It must be a great feeling to go without it now!

  2. Glad to see the recovery progressing so well. The photo of K on the rock is beautiful.

  3. Once again, I'm sitting here with a smile on my face just shaking my head at the beauty you've experienced and thankfully shared!


  4. Kia ora KB,
    "Flee the trails" - I love it! Ed Abbey would have been proud of such words. Your writing and photography continues to grow by leaps and bounds. You are an inspiration to all of us challenged by physical problems. You will be strongly in my thoughts.
    Kia kaha!

  5. This little poem is on a dog calendar my son gave me. I don't think I agree with it 100% but it made me think of you and K.

    A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature. You can't get it by breeding it, and you can't buy it with money, it just happens along.

    E.B. White The Care and Training of a Dog.

    Is that K, do you think?

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  6. You slipped in the news about the head brace rather quietly. That's really,really great. Will this be the last of this years snow? We've suddenly gone careering back into summer after the weekends blizzards.

  7. i can imagine the first picture green and full of new growth...
    and that picture of K on the boulder is stunning...looks like a great place enjoy the view!
    such a great pic of you and K and the scat!
    thanks for taking me through the forest again, if only in my mind!

  8. and no neck brace! wow!
    that is wonderful.....a sure sign of spring!

  9. Your words are mesmerizing as are your photos. You have a way of making nature look and sound so mystical and magical. But do be careful out there, both from the wild creatures AND the difficult terrain. We are thrilled to hear how well you are progressing and how bravely you move forward each day.

  10. It's so good to hear you're able to venture out without your brace. Recovery continues!

    Your words capture that magic of nature that can be so hard to contain in language. Beautiful!

    And K, do be careful on that ledge of snowy rocks!

  11. Just a couple of days without a puter and I just went nuts to see what you've been up to! Your life in words and photos is like a suspense thriller, KB!!! And today's episode did not disappoint!!! You are just so amazing and as reader, I feel I am with you - what a gifted blogger you are - please write a book (except it would never end!). Wow - what a hike in deep unpeopled wilderness. Can't believe what you found - all that hair! (And sorry you found such a gross-smelling scat!) Your snowflake/columbine visual was simply beautiful - can't wait to hear about tomorrow's hike! Pats to K and R!
    Hugs xo

  12. It's amazing how quickly your landscape changes. If I didn't know better, I would have thought these pictures were taken in December or January. I guess I'm just too used to my relatively mild New York winters.

    That's a great shot of you and K - and I'm so happy that your neck is getting stronger. Hopefully you won't need the brace at all any more!

  13. Love the picture of K on the boulder. You should frame that one, for sure.

    Great news about the neck brace. Glad to hear the recovery is progressing.

  14. Hi KB,
    Between rehab and company, I've been busy. I also got a Mac after 30 years with a PC, so I am in a learning frenzy! I loved seeing the pic of you and K - you both look very happy. Glad to hear you're continuing to hike without the brace. Your healing continues. My husband is under the dark sky of those mountains. He skied today - I'm in the city.


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!