Since returning from our trip, I've been having a blast mountain biking through the late summer wonderland near our house with my Labraduo. I mentioned a little while ago that R has been wearing a muzzle to stop him from eating mushrooms. I also confidently asserted that K no longer needed a muzzle - she'd beaten her mushroom addiction.
I was wrong. Two days ago, K started lurking behind me on the trails during mountain bike rides. Due to my fused neck, I could no longer take a quick glance behind me to find out what she was doing. After many quick stops and turning my entire body to try to catch her in the act, I did see her eating something off the ground. So, the poor girl wore a muzzle this morning. Although she's worn a muzzle before, she initially pretended that she was unable to run while wearing it. She sat planted by the house, refusing to join me for a mountain bike ride. I went back and cajoled her into a ride but she acted pretty subdued due to the muzzle. Eventually, she relaxed a bit, at least long enough for this photo.
Later in the ride, we met another mountain biker, a visitor to the area. He loved K and played with her for a few minutes while we chatted. As I tried to ride away from him, K refused to leave his side. I believe that she'd decided that he was nicer than me! After all, I'm the one who tortured her by putting on the muzzle. If only she could understand that I did it because I love her...
In the evenings, I've been exploring deep in our forests for perfect trail camera locations. As I mentioned the other day, I placed one of my remaining cameras in a secluded spot. It sits atop a ridge where two animal trails intersect. One is a trail that crosses the ridge from one hillside to another. Based on tracks, I guessed that deer and elk are the primary users of that trail. My camera footage supports that idea so far. Specifically, Mule Deer does with very cautious fawns seem to use the trail.
The intersecting animal trail follows the spine of the ridge from left to right across the camera view. In winter snow, I've tracked cats, both bobcats and mountain lions, following the ridge trail. I've worked hard at placing my camera so that it'll capture footage of animals on both of the intersecting trails. As an added bonus, bears clearly hang out nearby. Trees are scarred with claw marks, berry-filled scats abound, and many stumps have been excavated. So, there's also a chance that we'll get to see a bear on this forested ridge in the short remaining time before they start hibernating. I hope so! I'm very excited to see what we find!
On the wildlife photography front, I'm super happy to say that I have my very first sponsor who is advertising here, a trail camera company called trailcampro.com. Just so you know, I approached them about being a visible sponsor on my blog as I tried to figure out how to deal with the theft of two valuable cameras.
I've bought a number of cameras from them over the years, and I think that their customer service is the absolute best. They're available to give advice over the phone, and everyone I've spoken with there is an expert on wildlife photography with trail cameras. Also, they rigorously test all the camera models that they sell, and their tests have helped me choose the best trail camera models for my purposes. Their website is full of great information for any of you who might be considering buying a trail camera.
My conversations with the staff at trailcampro.com over the past few days have proven a point that you all emphasized when I was so demoralized by the theft of my cameras. You all reassured me that most people are good-hearted, generous, and trustworthy. It seems that you are right. Thanks to all of you for convincing me that I shouldn't give up on my passion for capturing photos of our elusive wildlife.