A few days ago, I showed a photo of the view from a spectacular campsite on our trip.The ever inquisitive Angus asked about the genesis of the pinnacle near the middle of the photo. I wondered about it many times while we relaxed in camp but then forgot to read about it when I returned home. Now, I know that Angus's guess was correct. It's a volcanic plug of magma that hardened within the vent of an active volcano millions of years ago. Due to a volcanic plug, pressure can build to explosive levels within an active volcano leading to an eruption. In this case, the volcano became quiet underneath the plug, and the volcanic plug was more resistant to erosion than the surrounding rock. As a result, the plug wasn't worn away by wind and water while the surrounding mountain was. We can see the remnant of the volcanic plug in the form of a pinnacle. It is called Lizard Head Peak. Thanks to Angus for reminding me to learn about it!
Yesterday, I mentioned that K had rubbed her nose slightly raw on her muzzle that she's been wearing to prevent 'shrooming during our mountain bike rides. Well, at the suggestion of Houndstooth, I tried to superglue soft material inside her muzzle last night. However, in my stupor of fatigue, I managed to pour super glue all over my fingers and none where it needed to go. I cleaned my fingers but gave up on the muzzle for the night. So, this morning, K ran along side my mountain bike naked - no muzzle! She was overjoyed!
Moreover, she didn't revert to her mushroom-eating habit. She stayed close by my side and focused on me.
We both had a romping good time! Maybe I don't need to muzzle her every day. She's hoping for that outcome!
Later in my ride, with K resting at home, I climbed a ridge for a dramatic view of the building storms on the Continental Divide.
On the ridge spine, I gazed at my favorite purple and yellow aster, the flower that truly means that autumn is nipping at our heels, poking up from the midst of prickly currant berries. I'm surprised by how many currants and raspberries remain for the bears to feast on. Bears, deer, and ravens ate every last Buffalo Berry within 2 weeks of ripening but haven't eaten the other berries so fast.
I also noticed the yellow flowers that dominate the ridge right now. They looked fluorescent against the dark sky.
Later in my ride, I had an amazing moment during a technical rocky descent - the kind of downhill where I've crashed many times in my life. This time, the world suddenly ground into slow motion. I could see every obstacle and felt like I had heaps of time to respond. I slithered through the loose rocks like they weren't there. What a surreal sweet spot in time.
On a final note, yesterday I noticed a series of mountain lion scrapes near one of my trail cameras but didn't get any footage of a lion. "Scrapes" are made by lions when they kick the dirt backward with their hind feet, much like an an alpha dog. The scrapes are overwhelmingly larger than those left by a dog - and almost unmistakable once you've seen one.
Although I didn't get footage of a lion, I did get two consecutive nights of trail camera footage of a mule deer buck. On the first night, I don't see any sign of injury but, on the second night, it looks as if he has a slash on his hind leg. I wonder if he barely escaped that lion?
Also, notice that this young buck looks "ready" for the rut!