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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Refinding the confidence

The bobcat came to visit early this morning, and exited via our driveway. To my disappointment, the camera that's set up to capture his actions had its batteries go dead at nightfall. I wonder what he did while he was here? Whatever it was, I'm sure that he did it with panache.The duo and I have taken full advantage of this break in the spring snow. More white stuff is in the forecast but we're not thinking about it for now. We hiked together yesterday afternoon, seeing the tumultuous western sky shimmering with sunlight.
During that hike, we bushwacked through prime lion territory where I've found the leftovers from many lion kills over the years. I always leash the dogs in this terrain for the safety of them and the wildlife (after all, K did chase a lion off his kill back in January). Leashing makes it tougher for the dogs to negotiate obstacles because they can't each choose their own route! Here, K contemplates a log with very prickly juniper bushes below it. Both dogs hate juniper ground cover and avoid it all costs - I think that it prickles their skin. Wimps!!!!
As we traversed a west-facing slope, the sun's rays sunk closer to the ground. Oh how I love the lighting as the day dims and prepares for darkness.
K looked at me searchingly in the glow of the sunset.
And, R gazed at me with squinty eyes. Either the sun was bothering him or he was trying to be very non-threatening (according to the "calming signal" viewpoint of Turid Rugaas).
R and I have found our common wavelength, I think. Our bond has grown stronger and stronger as I work with him to bring him down closer to my energy level.

This morning, the duo and I headed out for a bike ride on mostly snow-free trails. Although it's taken a while, I'm learning that practicing stays is as important as practicing recalls for R.
His "stand-stay" is improving at warp speed also, as you can see in this photo next to his sister.
But, we don't neglect the recalls! We do at least three "easy" ones during each outing, when I can't see any obvious distractions in the forest.
This morning, I was happy for the duo's excellent recall skills when we roused a trio of mule deer bedded down in an aspen grove within yards of the trail. Both pups took about five huge bounds literally on the heels of the deer. But, when I called, the Labraduo stopped in tandem, frozen in their tracks. Whew. They turned and reluctantly trotted back to me. It wasn't a trademark high energy sprint to me but it was SO impressive that they turned away from such a temptation. At instants like that one, all the hard work (and fun!) of training seems worth it.

I did a ride by myself today after leaving the duo at home. The most amazing thing was the existence of freezing winter almost next to desert-like cacti. A stream that usually trickles was raging around a fallen stump today and the frozen dripping water on the stump looked surreal.
Less than 10 minutes later, I climbed a slope that was covered in snow two days ago. A ball cactus had flourished under the snow and now bloomed. Simply astounding!
As I rode today, I approached a couple of "tough" spots, where jutting and loose rocks comprised the trail. Since my neck surgery, I still sometimes hesitate for a split second at each obstacle, wondering if I "should" ride over it. However, almost imperceptibly, that hesitation is shrinking. Today, as I climbed through a tricky rock garden, I realized that I was simply going for it, and the doubting soundtrack in my mind had fallen silent. That's how I want it to be - if I'm going to fall, let it be because I confidently pedaled toward the hilltop rather than because I've become too scared to put my whole heart into riding.

Riding through nature, especially with my dogs, is one of my true passions in life. I give thanks every day that I can still do it! I also give thanks for my truly special surgeon and physical therapist.


  1. Khyra says HI KHYTTY!

    I say awesome ball cactus!

    Thanks for sharing yet another great post!

  2. That recall photo was gorgeous. The dogs are lovely, what greta friends you have. I dont know about that bobcat however...scary!

  3. What gorgeous photos! What do you use for a camera - the clarity is just awesome.

    That ice sculpture was beautiful. And we loved every shot of K and R, especially the one of the two of them with their eyes cast upward.

    Hope you get another great day tomorrow and the next and the next and . . .

  4. Hi KB,
    I love all your photos of the dogs in this post - they are so focused on you! That blooming cactus is special, too. I really liked the frozen log in the stream - I see it's 14 degrees in Summit. I was in Boulder today and wore my jacket the whole time! Went to Peppercorn - bought stuff I probably didn't need!

  5. Great pictures as usual. I love the ice and the flower! Amazing.

    Emma Rose

  6. I love the critters your camera captures! Makes me wonder what I would see if I had a camera. I do live in the wilds of MT. Those cacti flowers are ooh la la. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  7. I love when you find things in nature that are so unique it's like a piece of fine art! The stump and the cactus both look like that to me!

    That one picture of K an R together makes me think they should have halos glowing over their heads!

    It's good news to hear that the bobcat is back, too!

  8. Hey there KB
    You sound happier by the day! Wonderful news. You photos (as always) are stunning. Summer weather will serve to warm any residue aches and pains.
    Sending lotsaluv
    PS Im very active on my other blog...
    Luv C

  9. We give thanks too! So happy that you are able to follow your passion out exploring with two wonderful pals! What an amazing land and always something to discover in every way. Must say, the recalls are inspiring! We're still having trouble with 'wait', even on a long line!
    Dad (Dave) is resting after an epidural this past Friday. We can tell he is chomping at the bit to be more mobile, but also still waiting to see how effective the shot was.
    Blessings to all of you!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  10. Can't believe the dogs stopped without chasing the deer - incredible! The lighting and views are spectacular - I just can't get enough... but sorry about the bobcat vid!
    Hugs xo

  11. And I give thanks that you share your life with us!


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