What would I do without our impish R, making me laugh daily? Since he was a young pup, we've had a battle of wits, with him scheming to steal my slippers or articles of clothing, and me trying to stay one paw ahead by developing new strategies to thwart him. I've learned to shower with the bathroom door closed so that R doesn't steal my clothes. If I don't fully latch the bathroom door, I emerge from the shower to find the door nosed open and an article of clothing missing. I can't get angry when I find R snuggled with my clothing on his bed.
Yesterday, he tried a new strategy. He planted himself IN the shower stall and refused to budge. When I finally spurred him to move from the shower stall, R grabbed my shoe on the way out of the bathroom and sprinted away while impishly peeking back at me. He won that round!
I went exploring with the Labraduo yesterday evening. They started by romping in the meadow.
On one recall, K forged ahead of R, a rarity these days!
After the Duo burned off some energy, we disappeared into bear territory, with leashes restraining the Duo. As we explored, I found a bear tree - a scent post that they rub their backs on.
It's different from the saplings that the bears marked during courting season. It's a full grown pine tree, and I wonder if the bears rub their fur on it all summer long like researchers report that bears do on certain appointed trees. I might try putting a remote camera here. The fur looks white due to the sunlight - it was actually black fur.
We found a lot of fairly fresh signs of bear activity like ripped up stumps and rotting trees. However, we didn't find any undeniably extremely fresh signs so I'm still trying to figure out where the bears are spending their time right now.
K and I headed out for our mountain bike ride this morning. In contrast to her impish brother, she looked at me with serious sincerity. It astounds me how different these two Labradors are from each other.
K frolicked and never alerted on any animal scents over the whole ride. I watched her closely because she often gives me my first clue of where in the forest the ursines are foraging at each time of year.
After K and I finished our joint ride, I continued my "soft pedaling", trying to let my legs recover from their fatigue. They were much better than yesterday but I'm hoping that the weather allows a mountaintop hike tomorrow so I took it easy. I also nursed some seriously sore bruises after my crash yesterday but my spine seems to have emerged unscathed.
I did some more exploring in territory where more wild animals roam than people. I glimpsed a hulking bull elk with massive velvet antlers. They were so heavy that the elk had to point his nose into the air to align his antlers with his spine. This pose is classic during the elk rut but I've never seen a bull with such big antlers months before the rut. I didn't get a photo but I found a similar looking elk photo on the web, except that the photo shows an elk whose antlers have lost their velvet.
After seeing the elk, I checked out the bear den that I found a few weeks ago. It looks promising enough that I'll probably put a remote camera there as soon as bear hunting season ends this fall. I'm worried that the camera pointed at the den might be too obvious for bear hunters to miss and cause the demise of one of my favorite animals.
After emerging from the deep woods where the den is, a meadow filled with Horsemint shimmered purple with a deep blue sky behind it.
By the end of my "soft-pedaling", the mountain sky looked angry. I'm voting for those storms to go away for tomorrow so that I can hike up high in the alpine tundra without worrying about being struck by lightning.