Everyone seems to have returned to normal after our weekend of veterinary events. R bounced back from his anaesthesia in the blink of an eye. K spent all day yesterday sleeping and snoring. By evening, she enthusiastically headed out for a hike, acting perky and excited about the scents.
She sat among the wildflowers in the setting sun's radiant light. R was much too busy zooming among rodent holes to sit for a photo!
Overnight, R practiced a new talent that he's refining. He has yipping conversations with the coyotes who visit our clearing in the dead of night. He's learned to sound just like a coyote, and I'd laugh about it if it weren't usually at 3 AM!
This morning, R went for a run up in the alpine zone with the Runner in our family. I decided that K needed a "normal" day so we headed out on our trails behind our house. I could tell from her first bouncy steps that she felt like a new dog!
You can see the dark clouds enveloping the Continental Divide behind K despite the early morning hour (it's usually clear in the morning). We dodged raindrops and enjoyed the cool air with K romping ahead of me through flowers that seemed to glow in the dark ambiance.
Gumweed flowers were one of the brilliant gems lighting up the meadow.
After a break at home waiting for the storms to pass, I headed out on my own, covering some known territory and some new ground. I kept waiting for parts to start flying off my bike and to tumble to a stop. You see, I replaced a bunch of worn out bike components yesterday, and I'm NOT a good mechanic. Thankfully, my bike held together and even seemed to glide along smoothly, except for the rubbing disc brake pads which I stopped to fix. In celebration of my well-functioning bike, the mountains briefly looked peaceful before a new round of storms invaded them.
As I pedaled along a new trail, pink fireweed blossomed gorgeously against a rock cliff and blue sky. Fireweed is a late summer flower... so it was bittersweet to see it, knowing that our short mountain summer is speeding by.
Another sign of summer's rapid pace is that the Rufous Hummingbirds have arrived. I know that they've arrived when I hear the distinctive metallic whir of the males' wingbeats that is very different from the high pitched trill of our male Broadtailed Hummingbirds. Here's a Rufous in a photo not taken by me.
These amazing birds migrate up the west coast from central America in the spring, breed in Alaska, and then return south by following inland mountain ranges in the "late summer" (i.e., now). Thus, by this point in the summer, these rust colored missiles have already flown to and fro Alaska. They're aggressive defenders of food sources so the ones stopping to rest here during their migration drive all of our breeding population of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds away from our feeders. Fortunately, the wildflowers are in full cry so the vanquished hummingbirds can sip nectar from natural sources.
So, we're getting multiple signs of the waning of summer. I'm holding out hope that it's not quite over!