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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meadow oasis

"Sunny with a few clouds" described life pretty well when I wrote my last post. We'd just found out that R had pancreatitis and K's recurring urinary tract infection was very nasty. We had planned to head out of town but weren't sure if taking two sick dogs far away from their fabulous vet was smart. So, we hung out at home and waited to see if the dogs' health seemed to go north or south. Fortunately, it seemed to go due north for both (more tests this week will hopefully confirm our impression). So, with a long list of every vet hospital on our route, we headed out in our LabMobile, the high clearance 4WD camper van that lets us "car camp" while sleeping on a comfortable mattress that keeps my finicky spine happy.

We traveled through tumultuous weather into the high mountains of central Colorado. Although I felt confident that the Duo was mending, I hoped that the ominous skies didn't have hidden meaning.
As we approached our destination, blue sky opened over our heads and a rainbow dove into the valley below us. It was close to our dog S's birthday so I thought of it as his rainbow bridge to us.
We camped in a Subalpine meadow surrounded by 13-14,000' peaks in the distance. It's one of my favorite campsites on Earth - peaceful, filled with wildlife and flowers, and close to beautiful trails. K expresses joy by wriggling on her back. As soon as we set foot in the meadow, she dove into the grass.
The tumultuous weather followed us to our oasis, and stormy skies loomed as we took the first short hike of our trip. K perched on a rocky pinnacle to survey our meadow.
R scanned the meadow's edge for wild animals. We always keep our dogs on leash in this lush meadow because it seems so obvious that we are visiting the home of the deer, elk, marmots, bear, and lions.
During our trip, we took lots of mountain bike rides and hikes, although very carefully. Both of our dogs are wild mushroom addicts, and the never-ending rainfall this summer has produced a spectacular mushroom crop. We can't trust the Duo to roam even the slightest bit during rides or hikes without sampling the local fare. In fact, when K was 2 yrs old, she suffered severe mushroom poisoning, sending us careening down a mountain from our remote campsite in the Elk Mountains. Fortunately, we found an emergency vet who saved her life. So, we know that the risks are real, and thus, the Duo spent more time on leash or in "heel position" than usual. Sometimes, we even muzzle them to prevent mushroom grazing but that has the bad side effect of making people very afraid of them. There's nothing more mortifying to gregarious Labradors than to have people shy away from them!

These mushrooms grew out of the side of a live tree next to a tumbling stream!
The sun set on our first evening in our favorite meadow with a faint rainbow arcing up out of a fiery mountain.
I plan to write more about our trip in coming days but that's all for now. We gradually made our way to the San Juan Mountains, including the peaks, passes, and lush valleys above Silverton and Ouray. It's the wildest part of Colorado, and we loved it!

When we arrived home, I checked the wildlife cameras that are within 100 yards of my house. Whew - there was a flurry of action on the tiny trail that leaves our house to go into the forest. Coyotes marched past at 6AM, 11 AM, and 4 PM on various days. In the dark of night, a deer fled from something so fast that the camera caught only his hind end. On his next passage past the camera, he posed with his velvet antlers in the camera lens.
Then, just last night, a bobcat sauntered past the camera with dinner in his jaws. I believe that the rabbit who I frequently see on this camera nourished a bobcat last night. It's sad for the rabbit but it is the Year of the Bobcat.
This morning, K and I triggered the camera as we finished our bike ride. I have so few "action" photos of my girl and me that I'll treasure this one!
Notice how closely she's "heeling" next to my bike. I trained her to heel on the right of my bike when she was a puppy. It's very useful on busy trails or when mushrooms seem to be sprouting everywhere!


  1. It's good to see you back! I'm glad the storm wasn't a portent of what was to come on your trip. The scenery looked amazing, definitely worth keeping a couple of labradors close by for!

  2. What glorious photographs! So different and each one so beautiful. I loved the Bobcat with his prey. And the mountains, and you and the dogs. I'll be coming back to look at this post many times again.

    Sorry to hear about the dog problems and hope they both will improve soon. I know what you mean about good veterinarians. When we moved here, we established our dogs with a good vet long before we had selected our own physicians.

  3. Hope the labraduo keeps heading north and getting better.

  4. The rainbow pic took my breath away!

    Welcome Back!

    All of you have been missed!

  5. Welcome home! Hope the duo continues to improve. The pictures were beautiful and I loved the one of you and K.

    Emma Rose

  6. Awful to learn about the pancreatitis - it's a horrible thing.Hope that the turnaround in both of them continues.

  7. what beautiful photos!! i love the action shot! (i love people pics as much as dog pics!) as if you didn't know..:)
    so glad the dogs went north instead of south!!
    welcome back!!

  8. Such a beautiful place for your trip! We sure hope the two pups are well on their way to good health. You must have had a lot of fun checking the captures on the wildlife cams. What an awesome shot of the bobcat with his dinner.!

  9. Good to "see" you again! Your meadow trip sounds wonderful and I'm glad the pups' health was headed in the right direction to let you go. (Paws crossed for continued health for the duo.)

    I love the photo of you and K. You both look right in your element. So fun!

  10. Hey there KB
    Sorry I've not been around to the blogs know how it goes, I am sure!
    I love that picture of you on your are right: We see so few of them.
    I'm sorry too to hear that the duo have not been well. I hope they are soon on the mend.
    You pictures as usual are all the mushrooms and the poignant rainbow pic.
    Sending lotsaluv

  11. Welcome home! Love S's bridge to you. Touched my heart and made me smile!

    The San Juans are our favorite haunt; I'm green with envy you got to spend time there during the prettiest time of the year (except for autumn, of course).

  12. Great header photo of your dogs. I have a black lab similar to yours. They are wonderful pets. I am new to your blog -- your post photos were wonderful. Will stop in again. -- barbara

  13. Maybe you could have little vests made that say "Mushroom muzzle" on them.

    I'm sad for the bunny too, but that bobcat photo is terrific.

  14. Love the triggered camera shot! The San Juans are one of mom's favorite ranges too. Glad K & R headed to good health so you could begin your trip :)

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose


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