I have to admit it - I'm a springtime snow wimp. When I saw another layer of fresh snow this morning, I turned over and went back to sleep. Because I've banned myself from snowbiking this season to avoid hurting my recovering neck, I hiked with the pups today rather than riding outside. However, R seemed more interested in snoozing.
"Um, could you fluff my pillow please?", he seemed to say as I put on my snow hiking gear.
We headed out into an admittedly beautiful snowy scene. The sky beamed light blue with wispy clouds overhead. R gave me a funny look early in the hike.
We started on established trails so that the duo could work off their excess energy by romping with abandon.
K climbed a boulder for a better view when we heard the yapping of a large group of dogs and their human passing well below us on a trail.
Then, we started exploring an area that I feel certain will be popular bear habitat if spring ever truly blooms. It is a hidden valley of pole-sized aspen trees with a few gargantuan Ponderosa Pines mixed in. Those pines would provide great refuge trees for the bears to climb if they felt threatened while foraging in the aspen groves.
I found a towering pine tree skeleton towering in the aspen grove and looked at its dead wood closely for bear claw marks.
I found too many sets of bear claw marks to count. A zillion bears have climbed this dead tree or clawed at it over the years.
From the top of the bear tree, I think that this view of the mountains would be even more beautiful. I didn't climb to find out!
After tromping for quite a while, we found our first sign of recent animal activity. Deer tracks!
The tracks were extraordinarily fresh so I guessed that the deer had passed this spot within the hour. Because I've learned recently that doing a sit-stay calms R, I had the dogs do a sit-stay on the tracks.
Then, we backtracked the deer briefly with the duo on leash, and we found where the deer bedded down during the storm. Three bare spots stood out under the pine canopy. I had K sit next to one of them to give a sense of size.
The deer were shedding like crazy, leaving tufts of fur in their beds.
We practiced another stay in this spot that must have reeked of deer for the duo. I wish that I'd discovered sooner how much doing a stay calms R in extremely exciting settings. He didn't even pull on his leash toward the tracks after he did a stay.
After our exhilarating hike, we stayed in the warmth of the house due to the wintery cold outside. But, we took a sunset hike...