A lone elk watched me ride my bike past her this morning under misty skies. I've noticed our elk herd has been lying around a lot lately. Then, I read that more elk starve to death in the early spring than at any other time of year. They've burned their reserve fat, and the green grass hasn't yet sprouted. The remaining grass is low in nutrition. So, it makes sense that our elk herd seems to be conserving energy these days by resting - except when they're stampeding down the middle of our road!
During my mountain bike ride, I explored a gulch that I haven't ridden since late last fall, with towering rock walls lining one side and a flowing creek on the other side. This gulch is a wildlife alley but I saw no animals this morning, only elk and deer tracks.
When I arrived home, I took the Labraduo for a short hike through a rapidly melting snowpack. We found one of our dog blaze orange vests that we lost just before a huge snow storm last fall. Our dogs wear these to be very visible during deer and elk rifle seasons. This vest was covered in snow for about 5 months.
We crested a ridge and the dogs alerted on a scent. First they stared one way.
And then the other.
Finally, they disagreed on where the scent was coming from! At least they covered all the angles.
Shortly later, K posed daintily on a boulder with a cloudy horizon behind her. I've discovered that sensible K doesn't like sharing exposed boulders with the less conservative R. She leaped off this boulder as soon as R tried to join her. Smart girl.
As we descended a south-facing slope, I noticed a bluish hue emanating from the ground cover. I discovered tiny blue flowers that have all opened in the last couple of days. They were scattered across the slope like glowing gems.
As we descended further, our first rain of the year started splattering onto my head and rolling off the dogs' coats. We hustled back up the hill toward home. We crossed a deep green basin covered in rejuvenated kinnikinnick under stormy skies.
Once again, we found no obvious signs of large mammals passing across the nearby steeply sloped canyon - a mecca for bears and cats. I wonder what our bears are up to. For the moment, I'm staying away from the den but I still have footage from last month that I collated into a video. Enjoy!