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Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunrise to sunset, non-stop

I was up early again, walking in the sunrise light with K. Oh my - I think that I should try to keep seeing the sunrises, even after the holidays are over. We arrived up high before the sun peeked over the rocky ridge to our east.
Then, the moment when the sun rays lit up our world...
... and turned the western sky pink.
K and I gazed out over the meadows.
As we started to walk westward, K looked at me plaintively. I wasn't sure what she wanted...
We wended our way through the rust-colored boulders toward our mountains. As we walked, for some reason unknown to me, K decided to try to launch herself onto an impossibly high boulder. She didn't reach the top and landed awkwardly from her attempt. For a moment, she held her "bad" paw limply, striking fear into my heart. But, she soon shook it off and we continued on our way.
We arrived at the rim overlooking the Divide, and the wind whipped through my hair and K's fur. A veil of clouds sat over the Divide, signaling that the wind was here to stay.
K seemed less afraid of the wind than usual as her ears flapped wildly in the wind.
A little later, I had a short mountain bike ride with the turbo-charged R in the forest. He flew like the wind itself. I hope with all my heart that K can run so fast again some day.
The rest of my time in the forest was dominated by cat signs. I followed an obscure route on my mountain bike through pine forest littered with towering boulder outcroppings.
As I rode, I saw about 10 huge scrapes left by a mountain lion who had followed the same route. To make these territorial marks, a lion kicks backward with his two huge hind paws, leaving two parallel furrows on the ground. Usually, he then urinates on the scraped spot. In the photo below, you can see how obvious these scrapes were on my trail.
Here's a close-up of a scrap, where the lion faced toward the right in the photo and kicked the dirt backward toward the left. My 10" long foot is in the photo for scale.
Very nearby, a small herd of deer mingled. Two curious ones watched me pass by. I wondered if they'd encountered the lion.
A couple of days ago, a bobcat did a similar marking behavior in front of one my remotely activated wildlife cameras. He walked to scent post at the base of the tree.
He oriented himself to scrape the dirt with his hind paws and then defecate on his scrape.
His job done, he sauntered away. This is an amazing spot. All sorts of animals mark it, including bobcats, mountain lions, and bears.
Here's what the bobcat scrape looked like, with my 3.5" long handwarmer in the photo for scale. It's tiny by comparison to the mountain lion scrape.
All in all, it was a good day, although my dad's flight back east was cancelled. Now, I'm off to pick him up after a day at the airport...


  1. The pics!!!!!!!!

    Oh my!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry about the flight but better he could be stuck with you than in an airport somewhere -

    Once again, thanks for sharing your piece of heaven with us!

  2. I love the close up of K's face!!! BEautiful!

  3. What amazing photos! Spectacular sunrise photos! Hugs to K & R.

    Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
    Sierra Rose

  4. beautiful sunrise indeed...i could start everyday that way!

    i think (and hope) that K didn't hurt her paw...but suggest she was a little embarrassed by not making it on the boulder and was trying to solicit sympathy..?

    wonderful wildlife!

    good thing your Dad is stuck at your house and not an airport! :)


  5. Those sunrise pictures almost motivate me to get out of bed early in the morning! Wow!

    Perhaps K just needs to relearn how to do a few things with a foot that feels different. She looks beautiful in front of that blue sky!

    At least your dad didn't get stuck in a strange place with nowhere to go. Although I can understand if you've all had a little too much togetherness! I woke up to a little fawn hound on my pillow and had a rather nice, lazy morning!

  6. Don't know which is my favourite picture this morning - the flapping ears or the sunrise. Some folks are early birds others are night owls vbut there's always something special, and hopeful, about the sunrise.

  7. What an amazing way to start your day and of course to be a part of too!

  8. That first photo has so much mood and texture to it. Of course I love the one of K with her ears flappin' in the breeze.

  9. For some reason, I have always preferred sunrises to sunsets. Not sure why, but I love watching the sky gain color.

    P.S. - Sorry your dad spent a day in the airport. Been there, done that, and no fun. (though the Denver airport is better than many for being stuck).

  10. For a second I thought those rocks (6th picture) were birds! Not sure why. I still can't get over the size of the mountain lion tracks!!!

    Your pal, PIp

  11. For a second I thought those rocks (6th picture) were birds! Not sure why. I still can't get over the size of the mountain lion tracks!!!

    Your pal, PIp

  12. Love that last picture of K with her tail in the air! The sign of a happy pup.

  13. I am just getting caught up on your posts. The pictures of the sun rises are breath taking and I love the pics of your nephews and K!
    My favorite is the pics of the Elks, WOW!:)

  14. Another fine, and gorgeous day in the Rockies!!!


  15. I love the sunrise photos best, and yes, the elk too, especially with the new camera. It gets up close and personal to these animals.

    Cheers and Hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  16. I have never seen a sunrise so beautiful.. Thank you for sharing.

    The photo of K with her ears flapping in the wind,,, she looks like she could FLY!
    Awsome photos... and love the lion tracks..
    Mother Natures storm,,, unpredictable.

  17. Just catching up - looks like you've had some company and due for more! Glad to see K out and about. She reminds me of the flying nun as the wind whips her ears! Happy New Year!

  18. I absolutely love Colorado and you are only making me love it more with your photos! Not to mention making me miss home in the mountains! I'm staying with my parents and while I appreciate the conveniences of cell phone reception, faster-than-dial-up internet, and grocery stores, I definitely miss being home.

    I just wanted to let you know that since I started back on valium (about 10mg a day) I haven't had any problems with my hands or feet, which definitely points to a circulation issue exacerbated by muscle spasms. Keeping my fingers crossed for that and not a disc problem, but I should know for sure on Thursday.

    I've been trying to take your advice on both the physical and mental fronts. I think you are spot on and I really admire where you seem to be at as far as acceptance goes. I'm not there yet but I'm also only 8 months in.

    Anyway I love reading your blog but I'll stop writing a novel in your comments!


  19. What wonderful photographs, KB!!!!
    Keep them coming. If we had sunrises like that, I'd also be up before incredibly beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing your world.
    Sending lotsaluv

  20. Thanks for showing us your beautiful part of the world! I'd see scared to death to meet a mountain lion. At least you can spot the signs well. Very interesting!


  21. The flight was cancelled for good reason - the snow here was just incredible. Wait 'til I post about it!

    I am glad that K continues to do well. I think her attempt to jump on to that high boulder is a sign of her increasing comfort and confidence.

  22. Mom said her would get up early every day to see a sunrise like that!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  23. Typically November has had the best sunrises, but this December has been just awesome! You've captured some real winners! The shots of your labs in action are wonderful, too. Hope you dad landed okay!

  24. What a busy day! Those scrapes are simply amazing. I wonder if feral domestic cats (the only felines we have around here) do anything similar?

  25. I am somewhat in awe of you. The what seems non-chalance with the cat markings...I'd be heart poundingly scared glad I read this and not come face to face with the predator. The sunrise shots alleviate my nervousness.


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