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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Radiant K

The wildlife was out hunting and foraging in our forest last night. The coyotes had trotted along almost every trail, purposefully heading for their next hunting ground. I can always tell the difference between coyote and dog tracks because coyotes move in a straight line, going directly to their destination while wasting no energy. In contrast, dogs loop back and forth, galloping at high speed and then rolling around on the ground, leaving "dog angels" next to their tracks.
Last night, a bobcat had hunted on a hillside of deep red boulders with snow-covered kinnikinnick in between them. He'd walk purposefully from one outcropping to the next. Then, when he reached a jumble of boulders, he'd slow down or even stop, leaving a maze of closely spaced pawprints.
K and I tracked the bobcat and so we were among the boulders for our whole hike.
 Some of the boulders that the bobcat had investigated overlooked the curtained Continental Divide.
K and I have tracked wildlife through fresh snow together so many times that we move in sync, almost without words. In the photo below, I'd asked her to "stay" while I looked closely at some tracks. When I looked up at her, she gave me a deep look, seeming to say "I am so happy to be in the forest with you again". I agree with all my heart, K.
K knows the rule that she must stay out of the tracks and behind me unless I tell her it's OK to investigate the tracks on her own. Today, when I released her, she started tracking with gusto, sticking her chocolate head deep into snowy juniper bushes to inhale the bobcat scents. She popped out of the bush looking radiant!
She also nibbled on one of her favorite forest foods, rose hips!
We had a wonderful hike together... making me feel like we're returning to normalcy after months of her paw saga. I am so grateful to have her in my life.

After my hike with K, R and I took a short mountain bike ride together over the new snow. It still isn't enough snow to deeply cover the dried mushrooms that litter the forest floor so R donned his muzzle. And, he did the "R snow roll" (as opposed to the "Cheoah snow slide"), accompanied by explosive snorting sounds.
When I gave him a break from the blasted muzzle (even I hate it), he stared into a juniper bush, hoping that a chipmunk would miraculously appear.
Near our house, we got 1-2" of fresh snow - not enough for me to ride the bona fide snow bike. So, I set out on my ice bike (a regular mountain bike with radically studded tires) and rode westward for my solo ride. As I traveled, the layer of fresh snow grew in depth rapidly. No one else had been on the trails (so they weren't packed), and I realized that I'd ridden the wrong bike. Then, I started laughing - how many people actually ever have the thought that "I chose the wrong bike for today"! Not many, I think.
When I started heading home along an exposed ridge, the snow depth became manageable again, and I whooshed along the deserted trails. I saw no people and only tracks from coyotes, bobcats, deer, and elk. It was a perfect ride.
It also turned into a very long ride due to my "wrong bike choice" and frozen Camelbak (so no drinking water) but I still had a mind-clearing, relaxing, and peaceful ride. For me, it beat going to the mall by many miles!!


  1. Dude! YOu have an ICE bike? Get the F out of here! ;) seriously though, as a bike enthusiast, i truly understand a bike for every occasion. we even have dedicated stationary trainer bikes. I'm still miffed at Mr. WD for not taking my Voodoo Cross bike with us because i wanted to convert that one into a cruiser (flat pedals) for around town. the bike is too big for me to race or ride normally but as a cruiser would work great. and has served as a stationary trainer bike for a long time. until i stopped riding.

    but i can honestly say that we do NOT have an ice bike! and in fact we would probably NOT use it if we did have it as we pretty much stick to the trainers when it snows or rains too much. we are getting lame in our old age...

    K looks awesome btw and I love the R snow roll. i can JUST hear him all the way from CH!

  2. I'm glad to see that K is back tracking with you, KB. The rose hip photo is great - the vit C is good for her. The pic of K on the cliff is spectacular!

  3. K pics so 'rock' ;-)

    Of course, so do the R crackerdog ones!

    Thanks for sharing your amazing world AGAIN!

  4. You are so right, there is nothing 'inside' that can compare to being outside and enjoying an adventure like those you have on a daily basis!

  5. Those pictures of K on the cliffs are AMAZING and a little scary as I have a slight fear of heights! She looks totally at peace and in her element.

    Also, interesting about the difference in coyote and dog tracks!

    Your pal, Pip

  6. R always makes us laugh - he has so much puppy in him - love the roll in the snow and then the wonderful staring shot - one day he will be surprised when that chipmunk does materialize.

    K looks wonderful - no wonder you are so happy.

  7. Oh, what a Most Happy postie! The picture of K with the snow on her shnoz and R rolling in the snow were just pawsitively priceless. I smiled and smiled all the way through cuz I could feel you smiling when you wrote it.

    Wiggles & Wags,

  8. The lighting in some of these photos is amazing! Smiling real big thinking of K back out snoofing around with you! And, of R just being R :) Tracks and trails and beautiful snow covered trees. Ah!

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  9. It's awfully good to see K out in her element again, and looking so happy and at ease! I love that picture of her on the ridge.

    *snicker* I love R's snow roll! No doubt The Herd will have something to say about that!

    I'm pretty sure you're the only person I know who'd have the problem of taking the wrong bike. Sometime you'll have to show us the difference in the tires. I don't mind shopping any other time of year, but I really dread it when everybody and his uncle's cousin is out shopping for Christmas gifts!

  10. I agree with you - she does seem to be happy and thankful in that "stay" photo. I am so thrilled to see the two of you back in action again, and I know it will keep on getting better from here.

  11. Both your dogs are so gorgeous. They have that great Lab head and ears!

  12. And Radiant KB :-) "All is well with the world"...

  13. Wonderful to see K's horizons expanding daily. Maybe you should get her a hat of her own for those windy days. With ties. Poor R - bet he can't wait for the day he doesn't have to wear the muzzle at all.

    Jed & Abby

  14. The picturev of K atop the cliff is simply awesome.

  15. beautiful pics of K enjoying her time in the forest with you! i want to climb that huge boulder she is standing atop! your photos capture the happiness in the dogs! so lovely to see...
    we are finally getting some snow...first it rained all afternoon..YUK, then finally the snow started...:) will probably be skiing this week...

  16. I enjoyed reading about the difference between dog and coyote tracks! I do see a lot of coyote tracks either in the desert or up in our local mountains. I notice that dog tracks are always with humans or horses, but not coyotes! You have beautiful dogs! I'm thinking about starting to take my black lab with me on my adventures.

  17. Wow - so many things to comment on. The picture of K on the cliff was totally striking (should be in an art exhibit!) and we so loved seeing K out with you in the woods.

    And, R, Cheoah totally approved of your snow roll. She said as long as you get covered in snow, it counts!

    The hu-dad has often thoughts he has taken the wrong gear for a particular days trail (wrong gloves, or boots or clothes) - but never wrong bike.

    But, finally, the whole opening about the difference in coyote tracks and dog tracks cracked us up. That is the difference in dogs. They are carefree (well, at least the ones with homes) and everything is more game than serious. It is why we love them so much.

  18. Another FANTASTIC post with pics of K, R & the area you live in. Always look forward to visiting with you. Thanks for all of it.
    Ernie, Sasha, Chica & Mom

  19. Hi Y'all!

    We so love to share your solitary moments and those special moments with the R and K.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  20. Awwww, that moment,,, when I enter your world of wonders.
    So now we take a deep breath,, and aborb the beauty that lies before our eyes,,, as if you have taken our paws to lead us here.
    Oh how we need to smell this crisp air,. and watch K and R in their splendor. We want to follow the tracks of the bob cats and mountain lions too,,,, and so thank you for sharing your journey with us,
    Tears came to our eyes as we looked at K standing on the boulders that over look the Coninental Divide.. the splendor in that moment is beyond more than we can fathom.
    We are happy to be in your forest with you too,

  21. LOVE the snowy photos of R and K! Happy, happy!!!


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