Our day started much sunnier than expected, and K and I hurried out for our stroll into our favorite aspen grove.
On the way home from the grove where K insistently peeked out from among aspen leaves for photos, she decided to pose on a rock. She prides herself in standing proudly on boulders but I don’t let her do it much these days due to the cast on her leg.
Then, I was lucky enough to get a short time mountain biking with R in the forest. For a black whirlwind, he was mellow today! He moved along side me like we’d been mountain biking buddies forever. And, like his sister, he also insisted on a boulder pose. After he hopped up, I asked him to “stand-stay”. He still does this much better when he has a target, like a boulder, rather than on flat ground.
His training is going beautifully, all except for one pitfall which our vet predicted. He's becoming obsessed with obedience training - it needs to happen at a certain time, in a certain place, and must include certain games. Apparently, this clinging to a pattern is typical for obsessive-compulsive dogs. So, now I need to start varying the time, place, and routine so that I'm not *required* to train him every day in the same way.
After I’d spent time with each half of the Labraduo, I headed out for a mountain bike ride on my own. It stayed sunny for most of the time, and I reveled in aspen trees whose spidery branches reached for the sky. Surrounded by these giants, I felt like I was in a cathedral with a golden ceiling.
I heard a soft breeze rustling the aspen leaves far above my head, and I realized that soft sound would be absent soon - until next spring. I love our quaking aspens.
I was in a section of National Forest that I love because almost no one ever visits it. Alas, today was different. I ran into a belligerent hunter who “ordered” me to get out of her hunting zone. It was not a good interaction, especially when she warned me to try to “stay behind boulders” while I departed… an oblique reference to the possibility of stray bullets flying near me. I hustled away but not before nonchalantly asking a few questions so I'd have information to report to the authorities.
I stewed about her outrageous behavior for the rest of my ride. I called our Division of Wildlife as soon as I arrived home. First, the type of hunting license that she said that she held DOES NOT EXIST. So, immediately, the official and I knew that I’d found a poacher. We discussed what I should do “next time” but there was nothing to be done today.
The worst part of discovering a poacher is that the person holding the loaded rifle holds every iota of power. I can’t be too pushy or confrontational because of the loaded gun. Consequently, the scofflaws seldom get caught. Due to the wild and open land that we still have, it is the "wild west" in some ways.
I must say that I was bemused to discover when I arrived home that the exact type of animal that the poacher had claimed to be hunting had visited my property early this morning and had her photo taken by my wildlife camera.
The cow elk stood still for a minute, with her nostrils flaring. I'm not certain whether both photos were the same elk or not because this camera takes one photo every 30 seconds, and I cannot know what happened in between photos. In any case, it’s much earlier than elk usually arrive in our forest for the winter. I wonder why?
On a lighter note, I’ve continued to play training games with K and she made a funny mistake yesterday. Notice the similarity between the pattern on her “ring” toy and the pattern on her cast in the photo.
I asked K to choose the “ring” from her toys, which meant that I wanted her to grab it in her mouth. She grabbed her cast instead of the ring! I always assumed that shape would play a bigger role than the pattern on the object's cover in helping a dog discriminate among objects. Regardless, it was funny! Maybe K was just trying to make me laugh!