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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A glorious winter day

K seemed alert, happy, and ready to hike this morning. Despite her leash, she playbowed, spun, and tried to convince me to romp with her on the way out of our clearing. After a couple of days of K seeming to be reluctant to walk much at all, her enthusiasm lifted my heart. Maybe, just maybe, she'll be ready to hike by my side for slightly longer distances before too long.
Today was a running day for R so I didn't get any trail time with him. But, as always, he made me burst into giggles when I heard snarls, growls, and snorts emanating from the bedroom. I knew what I'd find when I peeked in the door - R was having a wriggling conniption!
I had a spectacular snow bike ride. Our mountains beamed with beauty so I sought out viewpoints to gaze at them. I imagine the high peaks that we scaled this summer. Those are freezing arctic places now!
As I turned toward home, I pedaled hard through thick snow, enjoying feeling my muscles working hard to propel me forward. Some of you have asked what it's like to ride a snow bike. It depends on the snow conditions. Since starting snow biking, I fully understand why some native American languages have so many different words for snow.

In thick snow, it's incredibly hard work, requiring more leg strength than regular mountain biking. I hammer on the pedals as my huge tires churn through a substance that feels like mashed potatoes. Despite my extreme effort, I move forward at a slug's speed. In slick and cold snow, snow biking can be scary. Going downhill at speed requires a leap of faith that I won't hit an ice patch or a drift that will send me flying off the bike. Fortunately, after two seasons of snow biking, I've learned to anticipate these tough spots. My motto always is "live to ride another day" - so I just get off my bike and walk when the snow conditions seem too tricky. It's not worth risking my spine just to avoid walking a few steps.

The joy of snow biking is that I get to ride through gorgeous snowy aspen groves, deep forests and meadows at a time of year when most people are staying home. I see animal tracks in the snow all the time, drop my bike by the trail, and start following the tracks. I love following animal tracks and getting a glimpse of a wild animal's everyday life.
After my ride today, I checked some wildlife cameras. I'd put one in a new site, and my icon, the bobcat, sought it out to sit and preen as it took many photos of his gorgeous coat. It's rare that I get daylight close-up photos of a bobcat.
Look at the white and black stripes on the back of his ears and the tufts on his ear tips. What a magnificent animal. His luxurious dappled coat attracted many people to trap bobcats in the past. Fortunately, there's much less trapping now.
Just behind my house, a coyote trotted past a camera, showing off his thick coat and bushy black-tipped tail.
At exactly the same spot, a young bull elk sniffed the snowy trail.
Then, less than an hour later, a young mule deer buck sniffed exactly the same spot. I love the contrast between the two animals.
Time is marching by at warp pace. I'm so anxious for K to finally start mending and begin the rehabilitation process. After almost 10 weeks of this ordeal, it cannot happen soon enough for me. But, I also realize how thankful I am that she's simply by my side, regardless of how sedentary she must be.


  1. congrats on the bobcat photo, nice. Did you leave any scent in the trail,LOL.

    I looked through 70,000 photos so far and nary a pic of camo and my cameras, will keep looking. Better yet after my surgery when I set out a few cams I'll make sure to photo the setups.


  2. Heehee! R looks so happy in his picture!! K is so beautiful!


    pee.s. Don't worry, K will get better!

  3. I think R's face is in the dictionary next to unbridled joy!

    You've sure had a lot of wildlife visitors lately. That bobcat certainly seems to want to keep your attention. I'm going to be sad to see The Year of The Bobcat come to an end.

    I really hope that K is back out doing what you both love soon! It looks like she's defintely feeling ready to expand her limits.

  4. Gorgeous wildlife peektures!

    R seems like he's having a lot of fun! K is beautiful, we hope he recovers soon enough to join you for longer hiking distances.


  5. Great pix of K, she is looking chipper!

    I love the color wildlife camera photos. Especially the one with Bob Cat. We aren't gonna drop him are we?

    Its fun to see the deer up close and coloful too. Are these your new cameras?

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo and Stella

  6. Got to be a good sign that K's totem bobcat is not only back, but taking pains to be sure he's clearly visible. Keep on trucking, sweet K.

    Love R's bed roaching. One of our favorite activities, too.

    Jed & Abby

  7. I know how hard it is to give them time to heal when you just want them better NOW! I went through it with Abby when she had ACL surgery on both her knees consecutively, and then twice again on the same knee when it wouldn't heal correctly. It took months!

    Hang in there! You HAVE her, that's the important thing!

    GREAT wildlife photo's too! Love the Bobcat!

  8. Love that picture of R. Lots of activity at the camera today! My favorite is still the bobcat.

    Your pal, Pip

  9. Thanks for the update and the info...There is definitely a medical curiosity for all this.
    I didn't get a chance to ask my vet anymore today and I'll be out until next week, but as I remarked earlier, she said she has a lot of faith in CSU vets.
    From a nursing perspective, no dog wants to romp when they feel poorly. Good signs from K. Hopefully, you both are headed in the right direction. Let the bobcat lead on!

  10. Love to see K out with great energy! Beautiful backdrop mountians, what a view.
    The cams continue to capture amazing visitors. So interesting!
    Stay warm, our passing storm is blowing out...

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  11. Hey there KB
    I LOVED your blogpost today! There is a hint of hope, positivity and thanksgiving. Even your wildlife pictures seem to ooze out a message of gratitude.
    Thank you for sharing the difficulties with snowbiking..."Live to ride another day" is truly a noble motto!
    Sending lotsaluv to you all and a special hug for beautiful K!

  12. Oh what magnifcant animals you gets to see! Everytime I comes to your blog it amazes me!
    I am so sorry we is so late getting by but, we has truely been thinking bouts K. I am so pleased her is hikin' again. Her is gonna get through dis.


  13. Excellent trail photos! The day time ones of the bobcat and coyote are awesome!

    Thinkin of and wishin all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving :)

  14. Hi Y'all!
    So glad that K is feeling better. Hope y'all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  15. as always, stunning pictures!
    so glad that K is feeling better...what an ordeal, hopefully one that is over!
    you are so lucky to live in the beauty of the mountains, and to be able to enjoy nature on your bike...tracking the wild animals is so exciting....and i always look forward to the scenes your cameras capture!
    happy thanksgiving to you!

  16. Gorgeous photos of all your neighbours! The bobcat's coat is just spectacular. And we LOVE the photo of R being silly!

    We are also looking forward to beautiful K healing.

  17. Is there anything man made that could compete with the beauty of the bobcats fur ?

  18. R gave me the giggles again! He seems like the perfect pup to keep your spirits up.

    So happy to hear K's energy is high. It sounds like things are moving up, both in body and spirit. I hope for nothing but that trend to continue.

    I'm always so impressed by your snow rides. I shy away from mountain bike riding because I'm afraid to fall. I think snow would take even more courage. (Not to mention stamina!!)

    Thanks for the amazing wildlife photos again. I do think that bobcat is now teasing Stella, refusing to show his face.

  19. is it me or am I getting to know R a wee bit better now? i mean, he's slightly cracker isn't he? in an OCD way of course, not the Loki way... sigh nobody wants a cracker like Loki...

    as for snow riding... sounds like riding in the Monterey sand at times... i never could master that. it was a bit like surfing i'm told. but i never surfed. what i don't understand is (and this is for serious) how you manage to do this kind of sport with your back/spine situation. I'm amazed/inspired and truly awed. i don't have any of your limits but I still dont' attempt half of your feats. i guess limits live in our heads huh? is that what you're telling us all between the lines?

  20. Great shots of everything and everyone!

    Of course, it was awesome to see the news about K -

  21. When you are out in the wilderness , we go with you.
    We see what you see, feel what you see. After a very stressful day at work ,we look forward to visiting the world that you share with us.
    We love seeing K and R,, we feel their energy and excitiment for life.
    Thank you for offering to take us along with you

  22. I hope the antibiotics take care of the rest of the infection with K.

    I'm reading what you say about biking in the snow with new interest as I want to try mountain biking next spring but am trying to find a way to strengthen my legs before then. I'm afraid I'm not strong enough (and too old) to climb hills and my knees give out if I'm not careful. Fast peddling is better than hard-pushing peddling. A friend suggested "home brew studded tires" to do winter biking around here but I'm not sure the tires will make a difference without the right kind of bike frame. Anyway, I'm just trying to figure out how to build up those thigh muscles.


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