The whole pack headed out for a hike. My legs felt rubbery with fatigue but having my whole family with me helped push me through the snow and up the hills. At the start, we passed a group of towering and graceful aspen trees reaching toward the blue sky. This cluster has become a symbol for me as I watch them change with the seasons. Today, they remained dormant, no bulging buds obvious on their twigs. However, beneath the surface, they're more active than we know. Their bark contains the machinery for photosynthesis, and on a sunny winter day, they likely use that machinery to convert sun to glucose and store it away for later use.
Based on the blue skies to the east, we thought that the mountains might be visible from a high point. We hiked upward, with the dogs leading the way, and returning frequently to 'check in'. I began to notice some clouds on the barely visible western horizon.
A loose layer of powder deposited atop a deep base snow layer made the trekking tough but the dogs didn't mind!
The fresh snow glittered in the sunshine like millions of diamonds tossed recklessly across the ground. Every color in the spectrum emanated from them, and the colors changed as I shifted my head from side to side. What glorious gifts nature gives us!
When we arrived at the summit in the tracks of our dogs, the mountains were invisible.
But, a blue view with puffy clouds caught my eye to the eastern flatlands. It's rare that I love the view to the east more than the one to the west!
After arriving home from our hike, a noble coyote came by our forest clearing. This young canine obviously felt nervous about being close to a house in daylight. I don't blame him, after seeing what cruel humans can do to such a beautiful creature due to unfounded fears and hatred.
He repeatedly fled, with this crouched posture preceding a sprint.
This coyote seems to be our new loner. I wish that I could sort out the coyote dynamics in our home range. I know that, for the summer through February, we seemed to have a trio living nearby, two of whom acted like a mated pair, and a third who mostly traveled solo. One was shot and killed, and I believed that he was the loner. However, within weeks, three coyotes appeared together in a wildlife camera photo. Now, the pattern has returned to normal, with a pair traveling together and this young guy forging his own path.
He might be a newly arrived young coyote, searching for his own range. In any case, I hope that my fellow humans give him the chance to find his way in our world.
Now, I'm going into hibernation to get some serious sleep, just like the young cub has done with the resurgent wintery weather that's hit our mountains recently! I think that I've pushed myself too hard recently - a mistake that I repeat time and again - but which is usually reversible with some rest. The problem is that I hate resting - look at all that I might be missing in the grand outdoor world!