It probably hasn't escaped your attention that my spirits have been low lately. The fire, the camera thefts, other unethical behavior by fellow humans, and back pain have dragged me down and left me exhausted. I started my day by reminding myself that many wonderful people, dogs, and places surround me. I usually can keep perspective and remember how lucky I am. I'm hoping to regain that ability soon.
K's soulful eyes in the photo below, taken in the dwindling light of sunset, remind me of the good in life.Today, I thought that I would shake the blues that have possessed me for a couple of weeks. It was a glorious, warm, and colorful autumn day. I had both halves of our wonderful and lovable Duo with me for a mountain bike ride through blazing aspen groves.
We started early, when it was still crisp and the smoke was down. The stunning mountains met us at the top of the world.Both K and R donned muzzles to prevent 'shrooming. I heeded advice from the comments and tried loosening K's muzzle. Unfortunately, it didn't improve her disposition but it did look more comfortable.
When I briefly took off the muzzles, they both looked relieved but K even more than R. Although they are both full Labs, their temperaments are a study in contrasts. Almost nothing fazes R but K is extraordinarily sensitive and insecure about any change in her world, especially changes that make her feel less able to protect herself.
Shortly later, as I pedaled through an aspen grove, I spotted bear tracks in the sand. When the Duo hit the same spot, they jolted awake like they'd just had espresso injected into their veins. I already had my camera out so I captured a photo of K as she accelerated to warp speed.
I was SO pleased that they both pivoted and sprinted to me when I called them. It's bear hunting season so the ursines have a lot to contend with. Their metabolisms are sluggish as hibernation season approaches, and armed people are stalking them. The bears don't need the added stress of dogs chasing them - so I'm thrilled that the Duo behaved so well.
When we passed that spot again on the way home, R gave a lot of though to investigating the fascinating scent but he again heeded my call. What a good dog!
After I dropped the Duo off at home, I went to check a wildlife camera. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to five shallow slices on the locking cable. The inept thief barely dented the surface of the cable, and I spent the next hour moving the camera to an extremely remote location. In fact, I hope that my GPS did a good job of marking the spot or I may never find it again! Thwarting evil feels good! That was the only camera that was posted close to a place that humans occasionally visit - now all my cameras are in very hidden places.
Shortly later, I found a campsite, with camping gear set up in it, but a knee-high campfire unattended. Wind out of the west whipped the flames. All around, bone dry grass and trees beckoned the flames. The campsite sat in terrain like the canyon shown in the photo below. I find it hard to believe that people are so utterly clueless and uncaring. A huge wildfire is still burning nearby. Isn't that sufficient reminder to pay attention to a campfire?
After finding the campers and using great restraint to remain polite while talking with them about their fire, I managed to let the incident roll off my back. It was a glorious autumn day, not one to be squandered while continually fulminating over a few bad people.
At another wildlife camera that I checked on my loop, I found that a mother deer and fawn had passed through at dawn. Here, the mother is ahead of the fawn and noticed my camera.
In a few steps, the fawn stood, barely visible behind the doe. The fawn's eye barely reaches her mother's shoulder. According to my reading, a mule deer fawn stays with its mother for almost a year. I was surprised by the long dependency.
I finished my ride by rolling down this spectacular autumn trail. Although the day started cold, the warm sun kissed my shoulders as I whooshed along the buttery trail. Most of life is good.