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Monday, January 31, 2011

Arctic blast

Yesterday evening, we knew we were enjoying the last of the warm sunshine during our sunset hike for an arctic blast was jetting toward us. Sleek R enjoyed the kiss of warm sunshine on his fur.
The sun set in a subtle glow with orange clouds hovering over a peak that our pack climbed last summer. I can only imagine how harsh the conditions are up there right now.
It was warm and calm on the July day when we climbed it. We sat in the sun on the summit to soak up the views. I needed this photo today to remind that the sweet days of summer are ahead of us!
While the air reached into the 40's yesterday, the forecasts for the next two nights go as low as -40°F. Oh my, a major challenge is coming for us and for the wildlife. I've stocked the birdfeeders and heated bird bath. At least we can help our feathered friends.

The animals near our house were on the move over the past 24 hours. The coyote with a leg wound (you can't see it in this photo - but it appears to be healing) visited our clearing in the middle of yesterday afternoon.
Another coyote departed on a mission in the wee hours of the morning.
I've noticed in my coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, and bear wildlife camera photos that canines prefer to trot while cats and bears prefer to walk when traveling through their homeranges. The coyotes in the above photos are trotting - which means that each pair of diagonal limbs (e.g., right front and left hind) moves in sync. I think that it's interesting that different species seem to prefer to use different gaits when patrolling their territories.

This bobcat, photographed last summer in the same spot as the two coyotes above, is walking. You can tell because his left forelimb and right hindlimb are not in sync.

As the temperatures started to plummet early this morning, a rabbit hightailed it across the heavily used carnivore path, doubtless trying to avoid the fate of the rabbit in the bobcat's jaws shown above.
This morning, K and I snowbiked but I took few photos because my fingers froze against the metal camera. At the time of sunrise, K stood in the gray world atop a boulder at a spot that normally has a tremendous view.
We kept moving to stay warm. K romped through the snow, and rapidly built up frost on her face.
She and I shared a tete-a-tete atop Hug Hill. Oh how I love being in the forest with my chocolate lab, even when it's painfully cold.
I hesitated to ride too far but I decided to "try" a little riding solo. It turned out that I was dressed plenty warmly. I also carried a down jacket in my backpack in case of emergency. In the end, I was glad to be out in the world as it was transformed by our arctic blast.
Tomorrow will be a bigger challenge. I love challenges!

To those of you who expressed worry about my predilection for taking on challenges in the forest, there is one small consolation. I carry a device called a "Spot" that allows me to use GPS satellites to send a "911" message that includes my GPS coordinates. So, if I'm ever in serious trouble, I can use that option. But, I would never use it just because I'm tired (like the other day). It's reserved for true emergencies like a broken leg that prevents me from moving.

Here's to winter's return! May our fire keep burning warmly and our wildlife survive the next few nights. Let's all stay warm!


  1. Amazing how quickly your conditions can change!

    Great pics - again!

    I'm not sure I can ever get enough of the coyotes! Of course, Khyra says more bobkhats please!

    Stay warm and safe!

  2. They are talking 50-60 mph winds for us. Waaaaay to cold for me! High winds like that can even make it seem harder to heat your home comfortably.

    So take care and we will too!

    Jo and Stella

  3. -40????? I can't even imagine that. The lowest I've ever seen it is -10 and that only been a few times. Stay warm.

  4. i understand the feeling completely of spending time in the wild with K! a perfect pair, doing what you both love!
    the coyotes seem a bit high strung compared to the other lumbering mammals....
    gorgeous, beautiful!
    we are currently under a winter storm watch...could get as much as 20 inches...weeeee

  5. The mountains in your second photo look breathtaking. And I like the photo of K running with her frosty face. We're getting a fresh coating of white stuff here but not that much. It's the wind whipping the snow around that's a bummer. It's a good thing you like challenges because where you live and with what you do, you've got plenty of them

  6. I'm ready for summer too. I hope you all stay warm out there. It's good to know that you carry a GPS/911 device. Better safe than sorry. Hugs to the pups!

  7. Stay warm and safe over the next few bitter days. Here's hoping that the wild animals all have someplace sheltered where they can hunker down.

    We're supposed to have our worst storm of the season blow through here starting tomorrow night. I put out a double feeding of food for the birds and the squirrels tonight, so that their bellies would be full to help them fight the cold and snow. But, we're just getting snow, not the extreme cold that you'll be dealing with.

  8. Oh man, it sucks being low on the food chain!

    I am continually amazed by your pictures. I'm glad K is doing so well, and you too!

  9. Brrr...

    Hubby and I enjoy your blog and today we spent time going back over some of your earlier...turning back the years...posts...

    BrownDog's Momma

  10. We are exoectin' 20 inches of snow over da next 2 days but it won't be as cold as your weather....brrrr. Stay safe and warm!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  11. I love that picture of K on the boulder. It looks like she's the only source of color in the shot!

    Forty below! Good heavens! I'm not sure who will have worse cabin fever -- you or the dogs! We're supposed to get fifteen inches of snow tomorrow. I'm not sure which I think is worse...

  12. Beautiful pictures as always. We don't live too far from Bunny and are getting a bunch of snow tomorrow, too!

    Sorry to confuse you with the Big Pip/Little Pip thing. Little Pip is a puppy (though she is almost grown) that lives on a farm in Northern Ireland. I, of course, am Big Pip. We have both done a series of posts about our similarities (BOL!). Me a couch potato city dog and Little Pip a hardworking farm dog. The funny thing is Little Pip is now bigger than me, Big Pip. Go figure!

    Your pal, Big Pip

  13. We love the picture of you and mom
    Benny & Lily

  14. Whew, that last paragraph makes this lady feel a lot better about your excursions. You are one brave lady, but a smart one too.

    TD loves his sister, but he does have to protect his image. He is just one big soft teddy bear:)

  15. That pic of you and K kinda sums things up well - what a strong connection the two of you have! I love reading the way you describe the duo - your passion for them radiates. I just love kindred dog spirits!!

    I have noticed that when we see coyotes, they are trotting (or running - if they see us) and the one instance when we saw the bobcat, he was definitely sauntering. And here I just thought he was a cool customer...

    Cheers to the cold weather - the fireplace is stocked and we'll be home tomorrow. We're finally getting some sleet /snow!

  16. That is so neat about their gait, thank you for pointing that out! I always learn something new from you:)

    Hope you stay warm and safe in the upcoming days. Keep your handwarmers close by:)

  17. Cold temps for sure!!! We've had a little return of winter...and now a forcast back to high pressure. The cayote photo is so familiar to us, as we have been seeing so many out here lately. Beautiful photos!
    And, great to have the emergency tracking in place...

    Sweet hugs,
    Sierra Rose

  18. You are such an inspiration!! I have to REALLY work at getting myself to put on my running shoes in the morning to go training, and I have perfect summer weather most of the time right now! You're out there every single morning, even with arctic winds looming....Wish I had half your energy and commitment! ;)

  19. May the cold blast not be crippling for too long--for your family or the wildlife! Please stay warm and safe.

  20. Please note that when you decide to produce the R n'R 2012 calendar that 3rd photo should be on the cover. K against granite mountains. Superb.

  21. Ya'll stay safe and warm during the upcoming storm. We'll be thinking of you!

    The Heartbeats

  22. Yes, the winter blast is stretching it's firm grip on the whole continent I'd say. The biting winds on the shore walk yesterday were mind numbing. February is here..bundle up! ATB to you guys!

  23. On Sunday it was 70 degrees and now it's like 40 and I is complaining cuz it's cold now..BOL!

    I feels like totally reassured you has a little prtection with your Spot thingamajig.

    I can't get over how your weather changes likes dat.


  24. My heart tells me that the creatures in the forest have prepared for this artic blast from mother earth. Do you think so too?
    Mother earth would not let the little animals shiver and tremble.
    They must know--please let them be safe.

    The coyote photos are too incredible. They are beautiful.
    This winter storm seems like it would be exciting.... my mommy and me think so,... but at the same time we respect mother eath like you do.
    You know what is best for K and R.. and it makes us happy to know you are one with this season on winter---
    touch the breath of winter, but be safe

  25. I think your blog is wonderful, your photos are incredible and your scenery is stunning. Its great to read your stories whilst living in another country and seeing your different wildlife.

    We use a Spot messenger too. Its a great device. The only failing we have had with this was on the Patagonian Icecap where it failed to send messages. It works fantastic here in Spains Sierra Nevada mountains though.


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