Early this morning, a bedraggled coyote visited our clearing. Our incessant rain matted down his luxurious coat, showing how small and thin his body is.
When I rolled out on my mountain bike this morning, I dressed for the projected break in the weather. Instead, I received another aerial bombardment of drenching rain. K truly didn't seem to mind. I think that she likes the cool air.
Our world was so gloomy that I needed a flash to take K's photo with the mountains behind her. The raindrops on her fur sparkled in the flash.
K and I have a rapport on the trails that it takes years to build. She almost always hovers nearby and guards me when I get focused on taking photos. However, on one section of trail, it's very important that she stay glued to my side. In past weeks, I started emphatically reminding her to "heel" through that section. Her response was to wander... and then drift around aimlessly when I reminded her yet again to "heel".
Finally, this weekend, I remembered that my trainer once pointed out to me that K gets nervous and becomes incapable of obeying me when I ratchet up my intensity. So, I started acting relaxed through that section of trail and didn't remind K to "heel"- and K stayed glued to my side like she usually does. The moral of the story is that an exquisitely sensitive dog like K will react badly to a tone that sounds like an "order". I don't know why I briefly forgot that lesson except that I get nervous when we're passing through that locale.
Here's my sweet girl as we were in the 'dangerous' zone. I hadn't said a word about heeling but there she was, gazing at me from my side.
After K and I finished our ride, I was so drenched that I put on a complete new set of clothes, including new shoes, with an emphasis on warmth and waterproofness. Just my luck, within 15 minutes after heading back out into the rain, the world was transformed by the clouds lifting and warm sun rays touching our slice of earth. I ended up with a ton of rain gear in my backpack, a load that my spine is still protesting. But, I was literally sweltering inside that clothing once the sun hit me.
The first appearance of the sun, the mountains with fresh snow, and blue sky in days... I was almost blinded by the sunlight!
As I rode, I noticed a deer behaving incredibly oddly. She was very close to me, so close that I could see her ribs protruding from her chest. She needs food. The odd part was that her stare kept shifting from me to something behind me. Here, she stared at me.
Next, she stared over my right shoulder.
I didn't see anything out of the ordinary where she was looking but I guessed that either she had a fawn hidden nearby or a predator lurked in the boulders behind me. Whichever was true, I took it as my cue to exit the scene. One of my scariest animal encounters was when I accidentally scared up a fawn. The mother deer charged me, stopping only when I hoisted my bike over my head to make myself look more imposing. K was with me and stayed glued to my side acting terrified. The mother escorted us, from about 20 yards away, out of the area. It's hard to believe that a doe scared me more than any bear or lion that I've encountered but she did.
Today, I visited a ridge and reveled in the views of flowers and mountains as I continued to overheat in the sun. These are the days of summer when the mountain world moves at a furious pace to fit an entire growing season into a couple of months.
On my way home, I spotted one of the benefits of rain - a columbine almost ready to open! Columbines sing the mountain song more soulfully than any other flower.
Alas, as I arrived home, the world turned dark and angry again, although those mountains that I love so much still stood proud and visible.After I arrived home, I checked the memory cards from Black Bear Trail. Both a bobcat and a bear had traveled through, with the bear using his/her now-familiar method of marking a pine sapling. I wonder how long the bear parade will continue? I believe that it's related to bear breeding season, which I've read goes on for about a month. I plan to plant another camera on this trail with the goal of capturing close-up footage of the "back-scratching" dance!