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.