I'm enjoying the feeling that my neck fusion is healing and that I'm growing stronger every day. Some days, I feel like I want to ride my mountain bike and hike all day long! I can't do that yet but just wait!
I started my day with a mountain bike ride, in clear-cut wintery conditions. Wind literally howled through boulder outcroppings, and intense snow squalls came and went as fast as the wind. I felt great spinning the pedals and again gave thanks for the ability to ride a bike despite my spine.
As soon as I arrived home, K and I headed out for an exploratory hike. Suddenly, spring had sprung again, and we hiked under a warm sun. We navigated down one edge of a sun-soaked and nearly snow-free slope, and then we hiked up the other side. We stayed next to the snowline but didn't have to walk in snow. I searched for animal tracks in the snow next to us.
If you look at the hills behind K in the photo below, it's hard to believe that we found this band of snow-free hillside. It's amazing how dramatically a slight difference in hill orientation affects the snow cover.
In the photo below, K peered out at the slope that we were about to descend.
As I looked for animal tracks in the snow's edge, K sniffed vigorously when we passed downwind of an interesting scent.Partway down, she must have picked up quite a stench and made a funny face! K asked me NOT to include this photo but I couldn't help myself...
We descended all the way to a creek, which recently has lost its ice cover.
The willows and other shrubs lining the creek showed signs of spring growth - pink and greenish hues on their twigs and some swollen buds. However, no buds had burst to expose food for our wildlife. Despite that, K acted as if many animals had trekked through the plain near the creek. I had to recall her off an enticing scent.
After a break by the creek, we turned to look at our climb, a big rocky climb. We scrambled our way among fallen trees, strewn boulders, loose soil, and patches of snow. I spotted only deer tracks that were clear enough to identify. I also spotted trampled areas that looked like wildlife daybeds used sometime recently.
When we clambered over the boulder wall at the top the slope, the wind hit us from the west and sent K's ears flopping akimbo. It also made her nervous, as you can see from her facial expression.
In a calm moment between wind gusts, K looked back over her shoulder at the hike that we'd done. She beamed and so did I. What fun we'd had! We've covered so many miles in the forest together that we can hike or bike virtually silently. K moves silently by my side, enjoying the explorations as much as I do.
As we hiked, I thought about the bear trio whose footage has delighted me. I'm including the next segment of their rambunctious play. This video shows how attentive and protective their mother is. That explains how she managed to shepherd two cubs through the first precarious year of life.