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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spooky sunset, whammy tree, and dogs

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!


  1. they have you well trained indeed! the visiting dog looks very old?
    love the pic of you two heading out on your ride....
    poor K, but yes, the muzzle is the lesser of two evils!! at least she deals with it!

  2. How much longer will K have to wear the 'shroom muzzle? Will the first frost take them?

    By the way, K KNOWS without any of us telling her, that the blue muzzle is silly. You mustn't blame us!

    Cheers and good laughs,

    Jo and Stella

  3. I love the Elderberries turning scarlet and the name "whammy trees"! Poor K - she reminds me of Silence of the Lambs...

  4. I think my three would not be too happy with that muzzle either. They have all hated the Gentle Leader and that is nothing compared to this. But safety first.

    You take the most beautiful photos. I wish I had even the teensiest bit of that talent.

  5. Oi..that muzzle looks so uncomfortable but you're so good to keep it on! Beautiful pics as always!


  6. K, I see you have them all well-trained, as any princess should! The muzzle isn't so bad. I'll have to repost some pictures of Bunny's muzzle. That might make you feel better about the blue one!

    That camera looks fast! I'm surprised that the trees keep growing after so much abuse from the bears!

  7. Another post of wonderful pics!

    Such beauty all around you - of course, the KHANINE kind is the best!

  8. Great photo of everyone on deck. Yes, you have been well trained. I wonder if the native population ever thought sunsets were spooky and laden with meaning or just thought of them as sunsets?

  9. I wonder what it is about the wild mushrooms that your dogs find appealing. I've never heard of dogs eating them before. Is it a common thing?

    I am glad she enjoyed the ride, despite the muzzle on her face! Before we know it, winter will be here, and she'll be able to run muzzle-free in the freezing air.

  10. Happy Labor Day! Just stoppin by to let you know I gave you an award today. Feel free to drop in and pick it up :)

  11. K knows that the secret to being alpha has everything to do with confidence and little to do with assertiveness. I always enjoy watching a confident alpha dog handle a pack with grace and ease - just subtle little signals to the other dogs.


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