I rode my mountain bike on my favorite ridge today for the first time since surgery!
Although I'd used visions of this ridge to motivate me as I trained on an indoor bike during my rehab, my training wasn't good enough. I was able to do this entire climb before my surgery. I had to hop off the bike about 2/3 of the way up it today. On the bright side, that leaves another goal on the horizon!
The mountain views awed me. The views plus the wildflowers make this my favorite ride.
One view in particular caught my eye. I remember, like it was yesterday, when I stopped at this spot shortly before my neck surgery. I cried because I didn't feel certain that I'd ever ride my bike along the ridge again. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. I rode the ridge today and saw the faraway mountain shimmering like a mirage. I beamed.
Just after that, to keep me from getting too happy, I snapped a spoke in my front wheel. This wheel malady seems never-ending. For my first 20 years of riding, I think that I snapped one spoke. Then, in the past year, I've snapped at least four. Is there a message here? Maybe the message is "Eat fewer oreos"!
Pasqueflowers sprouted from the moist soil everywhere I looked. This is a top view of a Pasqueflower that will probably be fully developed and open tomorrow.
What a transformation a day can make!
When I arrived home, I took the Labraduo out for a hike. I was determined to find some animal signs in the forest... but alas, I don't know where my four-legged wild friends have gone. No tracks, no signs. But, we found a mylar balloon floating in the forest near the start of our hike. This alien shiny object terrified the dogs. I happened to have video rolling so watch their reactions. I was particularly proud of my sensitive K - she would have NEVER courageously investigated the balloon a couple of years ago. Notice that R, our youngster, followed her cue that it was OK.
Shortly after that, we plowed into an aspen grove with bottomless snow. I almost became stuck there forever, as the snow reached above my hip. As I tried to extricate myself, a nearby Red-breasted Nuthatch gave me a lecture.
She tweeted like I'd invaded her territory. This look seemed to say: "You're on my property young lady"!
Then, I noticed a small excavation on the trunk of a nearby tree. I began to wonder if her vociferous protestations had to do with claiming that nesthole as her own. As I finally managed to escape the snow, she looked straight at me with a firm warning not to return.
We took her warning seriously and fled.
We fled straight to a favorite lookout, where R looked handsome against the mountain backdrop.
From there, we started descending, first on dry ground, when we briefly walked on a sun-soaked hillside, gazing down into a golden meadow that contained no wildlife.
Then, we hit the slippery and slushy spring snow. As we stepped onto the first drift, I had my first avalanche sensation ever. The majority of the slab fractured from its mooring and slid a few feet downhill before it ran into a boulder. K looked truly alarmed and stared at the fracture line.
Of course, we weren't in avalanche terrain. The slope was too mild for snow to truly slide and snow only covered about 50% of the hillside. However, I wondered what the avalanche conditions were like up on the high peaks that we could see from our vantage point. I'm betting that things were pretty dicey up there.
We eventually hit a trail and followed it toward home. It was a bottomless quagmire of slippery and treacherous spring snow. I'd hoped that the wildlife had started using it and had left tracks. Nope. They're much smarter than I am.
However, the dogs had a blast. R bounded into a snow drift.
K started a belly slide downhill.
And, I contemplated when this favorite mountain biking trail was ever going to be free of snow! August, maybe? Usually, it opens in May so I expect the melting to accelerate. K is on the trail in the photo below - not that it's apparent!
As a side note, I still have more bear footage to share, and I'll get to work on that soon (maybe tomorrow). In the meantime, to those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy springtime! I am!