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Friday, December 31, 2010

Small adventures

Yesterday, as our storm hit, the wild birds busily flew to and fro our bird feeder, storing up energy for the cold night ahead. Indeed, it reached -7°F overnight. This Downy Woodpecker had suet in his stomach to help him through the night. He returned to the feeder at dawn, after a night roosting in a tree with his feathers ruffled up to help him stay warm.
Yesterday afternoon while the woodpecker ate voraciously, the Duo and I hiked out into snow and plummeting temperatures. Both dogs soon resembled 'snowdogs' from snow falling from the sky and from burrowing in the snow on the ground.

R with his faraway eyes...

The earnest look... "Yes, I do deserve treats!".

K deserved them too!

The snow brought out the wild puppy in both of them.
This morning, the storm had lost its fury. The sky was still steel gray but the snow had stopped falling. Despite the frigid cold, I eagerly anticipated tracking animals in the fresh snow. However, I was disappointed. Almost no animals had walked our forest floor overnight - they must have curled up in warm dens to endure the arctic blast.
The only tracks that I spotted were made while K and I hiked in the forest. Mule deer and coyotes ambled across our tracks while we were out. This coyote photo is from a remote camera and was taken a couple of days ago.
Since it was a full 10 degrees colder this morning than yesterday afternoon, I thought that K would like to wear four boots to keep her toes warm - they seemed cold in yesterday's relatively balmy weather. Alas, I was wrong. K didn't like the boots at all, although I did manage to cajole her into some galloping in the fresh snow.
This morning, her frosty muzzle was caused by the frigid air rather than snow.
Near the end of our hike, the sun feebly attempted to burn through the cloud veil with K watching intently.
After walking with K, I put on more layers than I ever thought possible, and I went out for a snowbike ride. Within minutes of starting my ride, both wheels slid sideways on a downhill, and I fell with a thud. Fortunately, I emerged unscathed except for a sorer than usual neck. Sometimes I wish that I could learn to curb my tendency to test my limits... but then I realize that I'll never be capable of that, no matter what. I need small adventures to paint my world in vivid colors rather than a dull monochrome.

Shortly later, the clouds had lifted slightly and blue mingled with the gray sky. I couldn't think of a better place to be.
To my amazement, I considered taking off some layers as I warmed up in the weak sun rays.
That thought was fleeting. In my confident and warm state, I decided to ride up to Hug Hill. As I ascended, the wind off the Divide hit me and stole my body heat, whooshing it toward Kansas. The wind hurled the snow out of the treetops, making me feel like I was climbing a lofty peak in the Himalayas rather than an 8500' hill in the Rockies. I kept pedaling through a haze of flying snow.
Never one to quit partway to a goal, I pedaled to the top of Hug Hill despite the wind, standing on the exposed peak for less than a nanosecond. It was bitterly cold in the fury of the wind on the summit. As fast as possible, I pointed my wheels straight downhill and enjoyed a wild ride down a steep, slippery, and rocky slope toward home.

Here's to an adventurous 2011!


  1. It must be wonderful for you to see K and R running together. Keep off the wheels till the ground firms up again.

    Mogley G. Retriever

  2. It looks so very cold to us but so beautiful too!

    May 2011 be a year of good health, much love and great discoveries for all of you!

    Your Friends at
    The Poupounette

  3. What glorious pictures! K and R look good! Happy new year!

  4. What great pics!

    I wonder if your woodpecker knows our woodpecker!

    Of course, we always love the coyote pics -

    As for pushing yourself, you wouldn't be you if you didn't!

    Happy Almost 2011 to all!

  5. Way to brave the cold! I hope you, R and K stay warm, and have a very happy new year!!

  6. Here's to many more adventures in 2011!! I'm so grateful to the OP's for sending me over to you :-)

  7. Happy New Year to all of you!

    We gots that storm, too, but since me and Brudder Ranger aren't labradogs and since it was only abouts 4 degrees here today, we didn't do any romping. Just a quick walk around the block and that was enough for us!

    Wiggles & Wags,

  8. Somehow we don't think of you as wild and crazy but that is the image you left us with as you sped downhill:) You are quite correct - those fierce winds and bitter cold have found their way to Kansas. After a near 79 degree day yesterday, and a strong thunderstorm at 5:00 a.m. today, we are now shivering in our boots - but still no snow. Silly Thunder and Ciara have their bottoms firmly planted on the deck and want no part of coming inside. Phantom has curled up in his warm crate with no thoughts of welcoming in the New Year until the dawn.

    Sending you wishes for all good things to come your way in 2011.

    Happy New Year!

  9. I don't have any doubts that 2011 will be an adventure for you!

    I love how R can manage to look so serious and sincere and then run like a little dervish through the snow. I think I see some signs of maturity beginning in him, though. I had to giggle at both of them with their snow beards!

    Did you manage to get your dad on a plane before the storm hit this time?

  10. I think both K and R deserve treats for being so absolutely charming and beautiful! We hope 2011 is filled with joy, peace, good health, and love.

    Your pal, Pip

  11. That last picture of the forest covered in a mantle of snow is wonderful.

  12. It does look very invitibg but I am glad to be basking in sun at the mo! Your pics are great

  13. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!
    Dang dats alotta snow! I don't think my little doxie legs would be much use in romping fur me.
    Nevers know what you is capable of if you don't test yourself. Ain't it too cold though...hehehehe!
    K and R look so happy out theres.


  14. Hey there KB


    I want to wish you many, happy and fun-filled bicycling miles with your duo. I pray that this year will bless you all with good health, pain free and allow you to

    Sending lotsaluv and thanks for sharing your life and beautiful pictures with us all.


  15. The snow laden countryside is magnificent. Once again, you have captured the essence of joy and wonder with your pups. All the best in 2011, will be following naturally.

  16. We have many numbered inches of new snow this morning and in fact, I am not sure I can get out my kitchen door to shovel! Our new 20 or so inches is covering everything, which is pretty, but its hard work finding a place to put it!

    Thats my kind of adventure today.

    Happy, Healthy New Year to you, the Runner , K and R!

    Stella, Jo and the Zkhat who waits patiently for spring!

  17. Amen to an adventuresome 2011. May everyone stay healthy and happy!

  18. Awesome pics as usual!

    Hey - just saw your comment on Puddle's blog... there are healthy Cheetos??!!! I didn't get this memo and I'm very upset:( I'm sending my asst. to the grocery store ASAP!

    Happy 2011 to you and your pack! Thanks for sharing your beautiful world with us.

  19. Your wood pecker was in my yard this morning! He said he knew you!
    Oh I would have so much fun runnnig throught the snow with you and K and R, in your beautiful yard.
    I just know it.
    I am glad you did not get hurt when you tumbled.

  20. I'd love to know how you caught a photo of the woodpecker. I've been trying but he doesn't stay at the feeder very long and is very skitish. I love the photo of your bike with the trees behind it and of course, I'm a sucker for photos of snow covered dog faces.

  21. Ha!! What a joyful post! I love the image of speeding down the hill willy nilly! As far as that snow blowing off the trees, I think that's that surprise BAH! blast that you can't anticipate. Have fun!

  22. Adult Downy Woodpeckers are mainly black on the upperparts and wings, with a white back, throat and belly and white spotting on the wings.

  23. I'm sure it was bitterly cold in the fury of the wind on the summit.


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