I have to admit it - Black Bear Trail is astounding me every single day. I've lived here for years, and I always knew that bears frequented our forest during the summer. However, until I installed my remote wildlife cameras, I had absolutely no idea how frequently bears amble along certain routes.
Today, I spent more than an hour on Black Bear Trail, adding a camera and moving the others to slightly improve their views and to have them in position to monitor other obvious bear saplings. I'm calling the pine saplings that the bears rub their backs on "bear saplings", and innumerable bear saplings line Black Bear Trail. I love the crazy walk that the bears use when they mark the saplings. Several of you asked if bears urinate when scent marking a tree, and if the crazy walk might prevent them from peeing on their legs. My reading says that bears do tend to "dribble urine" while marking trees - so your guesses were correct!
Today's memory card check showed a few seconds of one bear ambling by with his/her snout high in the air sniffing in the past 24 hours. I'll save the footage to put together with the next ursine appearances on Black Bear Trail. I also found some tracks. A black bear somewhere has brown muddy paws! My small foot is in the photo for scale. I must say that it looks petite next to the bear tracks!
The endless storm finally broke yesterday, and the sun set behind a tumult of storm clouds.
We strolled out to our favorite sunset viewpoint. What furious looking clouds. I'm glad that they've receded!
On recent evenings, K and I have played on our agility course. After 6 months of snow closing our agility course, I expected K to be rusty. However, aside from occasionally popping out of the weave poles early, she remembered every obstacle as if we hadn't taken a long break from agility. Here, she lay on her Pause Table. Because of my back pain, I wish that I had multiple pause tables throughout the course. I use K's "pause" to catch up with her!
This morning, our world had returned to normal, with deep blue skies, warm sun, and a sweet pine fragrance. K and I burst out the door for a happy mountain bike ride. After days of wearing my heavy winter cycling gear, I felt the sun on my shoulders today!
We headed straight up to the top of our world, where timid K offered her favorite trick, balancing atop a stump.
I feel lucky that I found a kind and gentle way of training K when she was a little puppy - a training philosophy that lets an easily scared girl like K feel confident and smart. More than a decade ago, I used "traditional" dominance-based methods to train Acadia, a chocolate lab, to be a search and rescue dog. Those methods worked but I never felt good about using them on an animal who I loved.
When K came into my life, I found a trainer who uses positive reinforcement rather than punishment and dominance to train dogs. Thank goodness! K would have melted into a puddle of terrified canine if I'd ever "corrected" her in the ways that dominance-based methods require. Moreover, due to the way that they were trained, K's and R's off-leash behavior is excellent. They act enthusiastic about doing fantastically fun recalls rather than adopting 'hang-dog' submissive postures. I pondered all those things as K stood proudly on her stump today. I am certain that she wouldn't have stood so proud if I'd forced her into submission as a young dog.
When we descended from the top of our world, we found that yesterday's Columbine bud had become a blossom. Every year, it's a glorious day when I find my first blooming delicate Columbine. K and I hugged as I gazed at it.
After I left K at home, I rode solo next to fields of irises with a snowy peak watching over them. It's summer down here but still winter up in the true alpine zone.
I felt like I had a million amps of energy to throw into my pedals today so I zoomed along, enjoying the vacant trails and glorious views.
Summer stretches out in front of me like a buttery smooth trail winding through aspen groves. Happy days!