We had a glorious first weekend of summer with pure summer beauty bursting from the forest and meadows. I loved the feeling of warm sun on my skin. K and I rode the trails to our hearts' content.
And R looked jet-black handsome in the late day sun on one of our hikes.
During one of our long bike rides, K and I found that Blue Flag Irises had blossomed in celebration of the holiday. Bumblebees drank their nectar and carried pollen from one blossom to the next.
By chance, I captured the bumblebee as it flitted between flowers.
Prickly currants bloomed, tiny trumpet-like flowers adored by hummingbirds. In the fall, our bears will ravenously consume the berries that these tiny gems will become once they're pollinated.
I rode my bike every day this weekend, mostly on trails deep in the forest where no one but me and the wild animals roamed. While on one of those trails, I examined the sapling that the bear used to scratch his or her back in yesterday's video. Several of you asked if the behaviors by the bear and bobcat in the video were typically male or female. Based on a lot of reading, I believe that both sexes use the same scent marking strategies. So, I have nothing but wild guesses about whether those animals were males or females.
I found that the thin pine sapling that the bear mauled was broken off at about my height (just over 5') and it appeared that the sapling was probably about 8' tall total before it was broken. I think that a parade of bears have rubbed their backs on it in recent years. The sap-soaked wood had too many bear hairs embedded in it to count.
As I explored a new trail near the bear's sapling, I found a stand of aspen trees that was covered in bear claw marks. I suspect that many generations of bears have climbed those trees leaving their distinctive 4 slashes in the aspen wood.
Just a bit further along on the trail, I spotted a boulder too huge for me to budge that had been overturned recently. No doubt, a bear tipped it to look for bugs underneath it. I think that I should name this trail Black Bear Trail.
Yesterday afternoon during a hike, I noticed that K seemed enthralled with a scent. Based on what we found this morning, I wonder if a bear was nearby.
This morning, on our ride, K and I found black bear scat within a quarter mile of our house. It was big - about 1.5" in diameter, and filled with kinnikinnick berries. These berries grow on an evergreen ground-covering shrub that carpets much of our forest floor. The berries still hanging from the low branches are last year's berries. My friend tasted them and said that they were "mealy" - but I guess that food isn't easy to find yet for our bears.
Indeed, many of the kinnikinnick plants have new flowers on them that will be the next crop of berries.
The great news was that the scat had NO birdseed or human food in it. Moreover, the bear didn't visit our yard. Although I would have loved to see him on my wildlife cameras, I do prefer that he remain wild and wary.
Over the weekend, I saw that all the new flowers had changed the hue of my favorite ridge trail. Look at the speckling of yellow, white and blue in the green grass. Wow!
I loved my weekend but today wasn't as easy. I've had persistent neck muscle spasms since my surgery in January. Today, I had "dry needle trigger point injections" in some of the muscle knots. So far, I seem to be responding well but it'll be interesting to see how the spasms respond over the next few days. My fingers are crossed...