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.
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!