Photos and text copyright Romping and Rolling in the Rockies 2009-2017.

All photographs and text within this blog are copyrighted.

You may not copy or repost any photos or text without specific permission from the author of this blog. When in doubt, please ask.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer musings

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!


  1. glorious views indeed!!! wow, what a difference a day makes....the sun has finally broke through...after a rainy day!! i feel energized...have been bored today...i'm not a good indoor person...plenty of things i could have done, but lamented instead that i couldn't be outside!!
    i have repressed memories of my first dog training experience..i knew nothing and the trainer was totally into domination...i cringe when i think of how i trained my first two goldens how to heel...
    K is so beautiful on her stump stance!

  2. Sweet sunshine! Ride on! Love the columbines blooming, they are beautiful. K must have so much fun with the agility course, I know I find it a blast, the few times I have tried :)

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  3. Those bear tracks are HUGE! Yikes!
    That Columbine is lovely :)

    Stay safe.

    Emma Rose

  4. What great pics!

    The Columbine bloom is aweome and the bear track is pawesome!

  5. K looks so happy in that photo! Beautiful flower pic. I was just out tonight trying to capture the clouds, sunset, and fog combination but photos just don't capture how mysterious and cool it looks.

  6. I'm here to tell you your summer pics are just delicious, even the cloudy ones. We had big clouds all day until about 4pm and the sun came out. We'll see what tomorrow brings us!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  7. Love, love, love the Columbine! K looks like she's telling you to "hurry up" from her pause table. Our day was sunny and pine-smelling, too. It went from 29 overnight to warm shirtsleeve weather this afternoon. PS I think we have the same bike shoes!

  8. look at those feets prints
    Benny & Lily

  9. The last time we were out in Colorado, I loved the Columbine so much that I bought some seed and brought it home. The first couple of years it thrived and spread, and then one year it all just vanished. I loved your pictures of it today!

    K is such a sweetheart! Growing up, I learned obedience like you did, but I love positive reinforcement so much more!

  10. I'm just marveling over the size of those prints. I can't believe you're not packing heat!

  11. The place looks so different bathed in sunlight. Delighful to see 'K' on the pause table.

  12. Interesting to hear about the positivity vs dominance training, I used a bit of both I suppose but I do agree with positive reinforcement (esp food related) it works well with Labs!

    OMD some of those photos are painting worthy - they would look fantastic on canvas!

    Happy Trails!

  13. Interesting fact about the training of dogs...Several years ago a rescue team use our property and woods one weekend for practicing with their search and rescue dogs. I did notice how anxious the dogs were to get to work!

  14. I'm again left wishing I could magically transport myself to your forest. Bears, columbine, snow (in the distance), and that amazing K! How could you ask for more?!

  15. The columbine is beautiful along with your photos of it.

    We think your pups must do agility every day on the trails - all those trees have to be almost like their own built-in weave poles:)

  16. Wow! Incredible post!

    I've often wondered how your dogs learned to be so cooperative and obedient, and yet still so full of personality. It does not surprise me at all that you used this method; I knew there was something different about your dogs just from the photos, even more so from your accounts of how well they stay and recall. Wonderful work you've done with them.

    And oh, how well I could relate to the loss of winter layers!!!


If you are a Blogger registered user, you can skip the step asking you to verify that you are not a spammer. For posts older than 5 days, I have comment moderation turned on.

Thanks for your comments!!!!!