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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A day of wildlife and wild K!

Our clearing has been hopping with animal activity during daylight hours for the past couple of days. A bobcat sauntered through unnoticed at about noon today. Our wildlife camera snapped a photo.
A coyote declared our clearing as her own.
K and I hiked this morning. She endured my sunrise photos with great patience... waiting for me to let her RUN!
K's golden eye in the sunrise light.
Please, please, can I run now?
She started with a leap!
As we hiked up higher, the forest was a world of light shafts and shadows.
K just kept jumping and running - she's so thrilled to be BACK in her forest. Notice in the second photo that K chose to land on her "bad" paw! That's a great sign.
She maneuvered on nimble feet through a dense aspen forest.
After our hike, I headed out on the snow bike, encountering weird conditions. On this trail, the wind had whipped away most of the snow but compact drifts had accumulated in the dips in the trail. They were cement-like drifts that stopped me in my tracks as I climbed toward a ridgeline with beautiful views.
I made it... and was rewarded with this mountain view!
I dropped over to the other side of the ridge where winter prevailed. Six inches of unbroken snow covered the trail. I rode along on a pristine trail making "first tracks" until I came upon these stunning mountain lion tracks. Our forest's king had recently surveyed his domain. These are humongous tracks. My handwarmer is 3.5" long and looks dwarfed by the lion paw.
At times, the mountain lion walked fast, using a gait where each hind paw overstepped the track of the front paw on the same side.
Then, I came upon an odd scene that I couldn't interpret. The lion had just climbed up a steep embankment to the trail. At the point where he joined the trail, a big area was trampled, snow was melted, and a small area was scraped down to dirt. Then, the lion left this spot and ambled slowly away. You can see his tracks leaving the trampled oval and marching upward in the photo.
Going in the opposite direction, I saw the tracks of a deer taking huge leaping strides. I wonder if the lion and deer met at this point, and the deer escaped unscathed.

Regardless, I love finding fascinating tracks like these. I could tell that the lion tracks were not fresh so I wasn't worried that the animal was right behind me.

We ended our day with a sunset hike. R and K both focused on something to the west.
And the color faded from the sky to end another winter day.


  1. Oh my!

    This is probably one of the most incredible assortment of pics on one post!

    (if only there were a bear)


  2. Mom and me are always at a loss fur words when we come here. Your pictures are so beootiful! :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  3. Those are just amazing pictures! I especially love that one of K and R near the end. It almost looks like the background has been painted behind them.

    I wonder if the mountain lion did a roll in the snow, sort of like what playful cats will do. I remember ours doing that, especially after they got a whiff of something good like catnip.

    Ha! Morgan was the only dog on the trail with a heavy coat! She still felt tough, though. I DO wonder how moving water freezes! We had a creek that ran through our farm where I grew up and I remember being fascinated by the various stages of freezing it went through. The waterfall is definitely an impressive winter sight. How somebody could break a water pipe on the side of a mountain baffles me! It must make for an impressive sight, even if the people climbing on it are crazy as loons!

  4. I continue to be in awe of your pictures, especially today! It's inspiring how you never take a moment for granted and take in the beauty of your surroundings and notice the smallest of details that say so much!

  5. Wonderful photos, KB - some great action shots of K. She is really landing on that paw. I can't believe the size of the lion's paw. Be careful, KB!

  6. I was excited to see the close up of K's eye... I had told someone about her gorgeous eyes with the star pattern and looked back thru your archives trying to find that great pic you took that showed the stars so well... never did find it, but this one is just as good if not better!

    P.S. I'm not saying awesome today since others already have:)

  7. Great Bobcat picture. He may have fallen from his throne, but I still love to see him stomping along, looking for vittles!

    K's recovery simply thrills me.


    Jo and Stella

  8. Loving the photos... that eye closeup is gorgeous!

  9. Her golden eye is AMAZING and it is so fun to see her running! It must be fun to imagine all kinds of stories when you see those tracks.

    Your pal, Pip

  10. So KB. How about doing a "boot camp" for us city dwellers? Up before sunrise, a beautiful hike with photo session, next a bike ride; with photo session, and later another beautiful hike, with dogs, of course, and a photo session. All along you could point out tracks which we'd probably overlook. I guess what I'm saying is I'd love to hang out with you for a day!! These photos are so gorgeous and so interesting! Thanks, as always for sharing your days with us.

  11. Wonderful wildlife pictures, again!
    I especially like the one of the coyote:)

  12. Got to admit, I love that coyote picture. Despite the activity, she looks so beautiful. How do your dogs act when they encounter droppings like that? I honestly think I might have to bathe Marge every day if I lived where you live..

    It's also great to see K landing on her paw like that. Definitely an improvement over the gimpy steps and short walks she took at the beginning of her recovery!

  13. wow,,, i am loving the bob cat and coyote photo...
    All of the photos are amazing,, I could sit here all night and just state.
    K- landing on that foot just speaks a thousand words,,, just like miracles do. And the eye photo- oh my gosh.
    R and K are so magnificent together,,
    Can i follow that mountain lion track with you?

  14. Goodness! I had no idea mountain lions were so big.

  15. Both K and R are looking great! & it's most wonderful news that K is running and jumping about.

    I can't wait to be able to go explore mountains like these!


  16. i love your new tradition of sunrise and sunset adventures! such gorgeous pictures! K looks like she's back to her old self!
    especially seeing her land on her paw! and those eyes.....
    that is one big friggin lion! very cool...

  17. Uh, could it be that the mountain lion took a whizz? Deer came on the scene later and got scared by the scent? Says someone who knows nothing about big cats.

    Your reward for climbing the ridge is simply stunning. Here, the terrain is older, and gentler. No exciting vistas like that to be seen.

  18. Utterly wonderful photos of K. May her leaps get ever stronger!

    As for the rest, we continue to marvel at the glories around you!

  19. Hi Y'all!

    Wish I could have joined you and K this mornin'! Yesterday was an okay day, since we were travelin', but today all the old folks wanted to do was go to their business meetings and rest up for more travel boring! no fun at all!

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  20. Tank may not have said awesome on today's post, but we surely will - awesome and amazing - two words we could use for every visit we make here. We really chuckled at the coyote shot and did lots of oohs and ahs at all the wonderful pics of K, including the eye shot. And of course the duo photo was just beautiful - wonder what they were seeing off in the distance.

    Thanks for sharing another beautiful day in your mountains.

  21. Wow! That pic of K's eye...just...WOW!

    Do you ever get nervous that you and the dogs are gonna run into something that wants to eat you?

    Wiggles & Wags,

  22. Wow! Beautiful photos, as always!


  23. Beautiful. I love the pic of your 2 babies with their shiny, rich coats. The lighting is perfect. This could definitely be a "Labs" calendar pic!

    Funny that the lion's bottom, being warm and set on the snow melted it away the most. Yeah, I know, strange animal humor....


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