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Sunday, April 18, 2010

The miracles of spring regeneration and healing

Early spring is my favorite time of year. The fresh blooms on the first flowers signal an entire season of relaxing on the deck, riding my bike, and hiking to high peaks. I love seeking every tiny sign of spring and knowing that the entire summer stretches in front of us.Spring in the mountains is tumultuous. We soak up the sun on days like today. And, we dig out from huge snow storms like we did a year ago.

This morning, clouds still hovered among the peaks of the Continental Divide, lingering from yesterday's wet weather.
As I started my mountain bike ride, I spotted a small faction that's recently split off from the main elk herd. I've been seeing this group rambling alone over the past week.
A closer look revealed no antlers, but we are approaching the season when most males will lose their antlers.
I rode through a popular destination for ATVs and 4wd addicts - but it's closed to them until summer. I love exploring this area in peace during the early spring. I rode through a nearly dry section that few people visit over the winter. As I rode down a steep hill, I spotted some very fresh mountain lion scrapes. 'Scrapes' are made by a lion by kicking back with his hind paws and then sometimes urinating in the pile of debris. I was reminded that it is by the grace of the lions that we travel in the backcountry unscathed. The vast majority prefer to avoid us and never consider aggression toward us.

As I contemplated the feeling of NOT being at the top of the food chain in our forests, I gazed at a reservoir.
Shortly later, I pedaled up the ridge that I couldn't ride a week ago. Today, to my utter surprise, my legs had refound their strength, and I rode to the top. Woo hoo!!! The body is miraculous in its ability to heal, regenerate, and grow stronger. I know, I know... lots of things can go wrong with it but its ability to gain strength after a profound event is astounding. 'My' hill is shown below! It was 'mine' for today!
When I arrived home, the Labraduo took me for a hike. Although they did a screaming fast recall to start the hike, both canines exuded calm joy in the spring day.
Soon, as you can see from the photo above, I'm going to be riding my mountain bike on these trails. Most years, I'd already be riding but there's still a little too much snow for my still healing neck.

I've lost my patience for trying to traipse through soft and slushy spring snow. So, we sought the dry south-facing areas for our explorations. As soon as we hit a high point, K leaped up and assumed a statuesque pose. It's really quite funny how she poses without my prompting.
R, by contrast, hasn't gained the dramatic flair yet. Here's a wider view, including what R was doing while K stood like the Queen of the forest.
However, once we clambered across a saddle and clawed our way to another high point, R naturally headed for the highest point around.
On the south-facing slope, we spotted tiny pink flowers (Spring Beauties) radiating their spring joy.
Now, I'm out on the deck writing this post. A big pile of snow lies next to me, and I'm wearing a down-filled jacket. However, I'm on the deck!

So is K.
And R.
Funny, all winter long, every time I opened the door to the deck, the pups sprinted through the house as if they expected to spend the afternoon outside, even when it was freezing, blowing, and snowing. Finally, that day has come! We're all squished into the one corner of the deck that has sun and no snow. And, we have a whole summer of "deck-time" ahead of us!


  1. We spent time on the front porch today, too! It's one of my favorite things about our house.

    Poor R! He's like the class clown without a clue that he's so funny. They are both the most photogenic dogs that I've ever seen!

    Why do you think some of the elk separated from the herd?

  2. I did a little back porch time too this afternoon.Stella and I have had a very terrible argument. She has mats on her back legs (what Khyra calls pantaloons). I started trying to remove them, but she was determined that was not the thing to do. I did one and will save the other for tomorrow!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Grumpy Stella

  3. I'm trying to picture R and Mango's Dexter The LabraDork in the same post!

    Awesome accomplishment for you!

    You are truly incredible with your drive!

  4. Sooo great that you have claimed "your" hill and are doing even better than last week! Wow! AGain, photos just awesome - the spring flower is beautiful - and your deck, with some pine needles so tempts me to get into the mountains! Thanks for the wonderful post and congrats on all your acheivements!
    Hugs xo
    Sammie and ma

  5. The human body is amazing in both its strength and even its frailty, in which the human spirit often takes over and keeps us going beyond what seems possible.

    I had my first cup of coffee outside a few weeks ago. It was wonderful!

  6. It's the second time you've pictured the reservoir. Does that mean you get severe droughts in the summer ? Or is the water all collected in some mega-system and then sent off to the bright lights further west?

  7. Angus,

    We get almost all of our drinking water from the snow melting off the mountains. The melt hasn't started yet, which is why the reservoirs are so low. They'll peak in mid-summer, and then they gradually get lower until the following years. We don't have huge reservoirs because the mountain snow serves as a natural reservoir, gradually releasing water until mid-summer.

    We do get big droughts but this year seems like it'll be OK. We had an almost normal amount of snow and we may still get more.

  8. Hey there KB
    Seems like you are falling into a lovely summery routine again!Now...if you want sunshine and warmth you had better come HERE! We always have space for you!

  9. Kia ora KB,
    Getting ready for the first of my 20 minute walks today so thought I would stop in for some inspiration, and always glad to be here. There is a chill to the air here as winter begins to put her hands upon Aotearoa, but we still have the lovely warm and sunny afternoons where I love sitting on the porch and watching the light play. Have a great day KB. Kia kaha.

  10. hi,
    It sounds and looks as though you had a wonderful time! I loved seeing each and every photo and learning the things you share with us like the lion scrapes. Wishing you continuing strength and great adventures.

  11. Thanks for the giggle. I've sat outside to work with the pups, wearing layers, hats, etc. It's sad what we'll do to soak up our slivers of sun/warm this time of year.

  12. Catching up KB. I can't believe the grade of that hill you rode. I'm impressed! Those flower photos are wonderful - ahhhh - Spring Beauties already - you lucky gal!

  13. Spring is Mom's favorite time too - something about all the new life around us. Congrats on your hill success - we had no doubt you would do it in short order. The pups look great as always.

    We love our spot in the sun on the deck too - life is good.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara


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