We hiked at sunset last night, enjoying the birds singing, the squirrels chattering, and the cool night air. As usual, we started with a couple of recalls to remind the dogs to listen to me during the hike.
On their first recall from a side-by-side stay, I captured the first stride, showing that the two dogs started neck and neck.Competitive R used his first stride to cut off K so that he could "win" the recall. It's interesting watching the interactions between two dogs with such divergent temperaments. K reticently lets him win every time. She seems to sprint harder when she does a recall by herself. Then, in certain situations, like when they play with stick, she turns on her afterburners and outruns him. I don't totally understand their relationship but it's fascinating to watch it evolve.
We scrambled up to our sunset lookout point just two minutes before the golden orb fell below the Continental Divide. The duo sat for a photo in the slanting sun rays like a pair of bookends.
As the sun dropped the last inch below the mountains, the green aspen leaves stood silhouetted in its light.
We turned and started the short hike home. Now that I know that the mountain lions roam so close to our house after their deer kill a couple of weeks ago, I hustle to the safety of home after the sun sets. But, during our hasty retreat, I did notice a harbinger of our weekend of tumultuous weather, including freezing temperatures and lots of precipitation, some of it snow.
This morning, K and I rolled out for an easy ride, and I immediately noticed signs of bear activity on our trails. I pass this tall stump daily, and it didn't have a cavern dug out of it yesterday.
Other stumps and trees showed signs of a bear foraging, including a lifeless Ponderosa Pine stripped of its bark, exposing an orange fungus with a spotted beetle on it. I think that the beetle was lucky not to have become bear food last night!
As K and I pedaled up to thin air, the view to the south showed a cloud front enveloping our world.
K seems to have decided that posing is *always* appropriate on our favorite hill. I love the look on her face in this photo.
Later, the clouds lifted for an instant, giving me a last peek at the mountains for a few days.
It's amazing how many new flowers are emerging each day. A parsley flower spread its canopy wide like an umbrella in the midst of a forest of flowers.
And, another yellow flower, a cinquefoil, just opened its rose-like petals to the sky.
When it rains it pours, whether I'm focusing on how many new flowers have blossomed overnight or the pelting raindrops ringing as they bounce off of our metal roof. I hope that the nesting birds and other wildlife parents can handle this winter blast while raising their young. I hope that the just-sprouted seedlings in my vegetable garden can withstand it. The wild vacillations in mountain weather must be tough for all of the animals and plants.
Happy Weekend to everyone!