Yesterday evening, we started our evening hike through a meadow with the warm breeze of summer softly whooshing past us. In the distance, we glimpsed the western sky and saw that the sunset would be special.
We hiked upward, toward a good viewpoint for the setting sun. The rays glowed through turbulent storms in the high mountains.
While the three dogs focused on the scents wafting in the wind, we humans gazed at the spooky clouds illuminated by the sun.
This morning, I knew that K's stomach was better so we headed out for a full mountain bike ride. I was testing out a new trail camera that took a nice photo of us on our way out of our clearing. Its shutter triggers so rapidly when anything moves that it misses nothing. I'm excited about this camera!
Alas, poor K *really* does not like her muzzle even though I padded it with blue foam where it had irritated her snout. I cajoled her into starting the ride, and gradually, as she ran, her enthusiasm grew. For those of you who missed previous posts, the muzzle is to prevent K from eating wild mushrooms, a favorite but very dangerous hobby of hers.
We rode through the cool darkness of a pine forest and emerged into radiant sunshine. K was mortified when I took her photo wearing the blue muzzle that everyone ridiculed previously.
So, I also took one with no muzzle. Much better!
Notice the hazy sky behind K. As we sat on this outcropping, the smell of smoke was unmistakable, being blown toward us from faraway in the west. Moreover, gunfire emanated from two different locations in the canyon behind K. It wasn't the most peaceful morning we've ever had out on the trails but we still had fun.
We had a good ride but K isn't as joyful as usual when she's wearing her muzzle. That lack of joy makes me sad. However, I'd be distraught if she was poisoned by mushrooms so the muzzle is the lesser of two evils.
After I left K at home to relax, I headed to a wildlife-rich area, where I never see another soul, for a ride. I found a dramatic bear tree that the black bears beheaded during mating season when they rubbed their backs on it. I've learned that some bear biologists call these small trees that get mangled by bears "whammy trees" - a funny and apropos name, in my opinion. I hope to train a trail camera on this one during next summer's bear mating season. I've read that generations of bears mark the same trees during mating seasons for decades. If you ever think about cutting down a tree like this because it's impinging on a trail - think twice - it could be a very important tree for the local ursine population.
I noticed that our elderberry trees have brilliant crimson patches taking over their leaves. These splashes of dazzling brightness lined the trail.
And, one of my favorite flowers, a late summer aster is beginning to wane. I adore its colors.
This afternoon, we've been lounging on the deck, enjoying the wonderful warmth. The dogs love basking in the sun but, by this late in the summer, only one corner of the deck gets sun during the afternoon.
The two younger dogs, our visitor and R, gazed at K, trying to figure out why she's the only one on a padded bed. It's funny - for how reserved and cautious K is - she's still the boss around here.
As their loyal servant, I went to find two more beds. They have me well trained!