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Thursday, January 20, 2011

A snowy hike

Yesterday afternoon, the Duo and I took a snowy hike. Snow plummeted out of the sky creating a tunnel of white.
The Duo were ecstatic, zooming around like they were possessed by the spirit of winter.
R clamped a large branch in his jaws and zipped enticingly past K. Alas, K wasn't in a "stick" game mood.
K was busy flying instead!
Most of the animals had hunkered down during the maelstrom. That is, except the hardy coyotes. I saw their very fresh tracks on our path. I think that the dogs scented them in this photo as they focused on the direction where the paw tracks were leading.
I immediately called them and leashed them. R stormed back to me, thanks to our many hours of practicing recalls close to coyote scent. K wasn't far behind.
Of all the animals in our forest, I worry most about coyotes hurting our dogs. They live in packs here, and they have a "luring" strategy for tempting a dog into their midst. The outcome is sometimes dire for the dog. Consequently, I vigilantly in watch for signs of coyotes during outings. Moreover, when I see fresh coyote tracks, I often practice recalls right next to the tracks to prepare the dogs for future tempting situations.

"24 Paws of Love" asked how I decide when it's safe to let the dogs run off-leash after reading about the fact that I leash K when following mountain lion tracks. As a general rule, I leash the dogs when we are traveling on a wild animal's tracks, when we are in areas that I know are heavily used by wild animals, and when the dogs' body language tells me that an exciting wild animal is nearby.

The kind of body language that catches my attention is either the start of intense running into the woods or a prolonged stare focused on one section of the woods. I watched K closely during the stare in the photo below but it turned out to be a false alarm.
Then, the Duo both perched on boulders, almost like a sculpture, to contemplate a scent or sound that I couldn't perceive. Their intensity didn't reach a level that made me leash them.
Walking through the snow storm was bitingly cold but tons of fun. I love being in the forest when the fury of the natural world is unleashed.

Comparatively, this morning was calm but painfully cold. The snow had stopped and the wind lulled at dawn. K stood resplendent in the sunrise light at the start of our snow bike ride.
Despite the cold, I reveled in the glory of our snowy forest. The crystalline blue sky beckoned K and me up high to gaze at the towering peaks of the Continental Divide.
We climbed through the fresh snow and the dark forest, eventually emerging out of the shade and into the sunshine. Oh, what a day - a day to celebrate the stunning beauty of wintertime in the mountains! I'll show more photos of our winter world tomorrow.

25 comments:

  1. Snow AND The Wolf Full Moon = Perfect Combo

    Great pics!

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  2. The first picture is awesome
    Benny & Lily

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  3. Isn't it the most magnificient feeling to be so closely bonded with another being that you can "read" them? Such communion in such an amazing setting has to fill your soul to bursting! How lucky you are.

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  4. We got some snow - very light and fluffy, and gorgeous sunshine to go along with it. We didn't do a lot of racing around, but we sure did enjoy it.

    Siku Marie is so wise.

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  5. Your frolic in the snowstorm looks like a lot of fun! I especially love that one of K and R posed like statues. You should have that printed and framed somewhere!

    I think I know that body posture you're talking about before leashing. The one I see it most clearly in of our hounds is Blueberry. She's a lot more in tune with what's going on around her outside and when she spots a squirrel or something else that interests her, it's not just that her attention becomes so focused -- you can actually see every muscle pop up through her shoulders and legs. I don't always know what she's after, but I always know there's something in the vicinity. It's the moment, though, that I would most like to capture with a camera or painting!

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  6. Beautiful snow pictures!

    When I am out walking with the dogs I am always watching their body language. There are so many times that they sense something that I don't and most often than not I never know what it is!

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  7. Beautiful pictures...again!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

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  8. The first doggy portrait in the snow is wonderful! I see the storm reached you. The sun was so bright here this AM, I didn't realize how frigid it was until we left to ski. I got frostbite on my face! Love those blue, blue skies and your blue wintry shadows.

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  9. In the picture of the dogs looking in the direction of the tracks, R looks SO much like Marge!

    What a beautiful collection of photos. Winter in the woods is so magically beautiful. I really want to go for a hike sometime after a fresh snowfall, when all of the snow is still clinging to the trees. Unfortunately, the parking lot near the trails is on top of a steep hill, which can be dangerous to drive up on a snowy day.

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  10. That first photo of the duo looks like a christmas card. Oh, your winter is beautiful. So is your photography. Thank you, KB's dad, for the new camera!!

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  11. Beautiful header - what fur color! And in the last pic - the blue, blue, blue sky - tho beautiful, it cries cold over the miles! And the snow - and you photos of the blizzard with dogs flying through - drama! Especially with the giant limb of a stick! I giggle at R's antics at times! Love your description of when you know to leash up - it must be borne of experience! Beautiful post! Happy Weekend!
    xoxoxo
    Sammie, Avalon and Oz

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  12. Thanks for answering my question. I'm so jealous of your blue skies! Seems like all we ever have an overcast one all winter. I still can't get over seeing the dogs out together. It is just so awesome. I bet you are enjoying every minute of it!!

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  13. Dat ain't a stick...it's a tree!

    Dats da thing, you has to know your dog likes da back of your hand...and you do. A dogs body language can tell all sorts of things.
    We has coyotes around heres too and it freaks mum out...and hawks too...hehehe, they carry little doxies off.

    Puddles

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  14. You look like twins in the first picture, you have similarities.

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  15. such wonderful pics as always....the duo look happy to be running together again!
    it's amazing how quickly K has bounced back after her "sabbatical"....dogs are incredible...
    hope your weekend is bright and sunny...frigid here too...
    xoxo

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  16. I just love that first photo of the Duo in the snow...they are so attuned to each other.

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  17. You took me back to childhood and riding in the woods in the snow. The sounds of the horses hooves hushed, and riding bareback, nothing to break that sense the horse and I were one with God and Nature.

    There have been other times over the years, but none so memorable as that rare snow and all its magic.

    BrownDog's Momma

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  18. Stunning is putting it mildly! The intensity of the blue in the sky was almost surreal! Always enjoy seeing R and K frolicking along in the forest with snowflakes falling all around. Just beautiful :)

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  19. What super terrific pictures. I sure wish you'd send some of that snow down to where we live. We're kinda getting ripped off by the snow gods this year, if you ask me.

    And my mom knows what you mean abouts coyotes. We go walking in a big open space every day and my mom and dad have both seen coyotes there and it makes my mom nervous cuz of that luring thing they do.

    Wiggles & Wags,
    mayzie

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  20. Such gorgeous photos! If these are with your new camera, you are getting some really intense color! Love all the shots of both dogs. Like family portraits!

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  21. Just checking in> Astounding Photos, your work gets better and better.....tough year here, but all good,
    hope to see you in the snow.


    NPD

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  22. There's nothing like being outside during a snowstorm - the silence and the rush of cold is magical.
    I love K's "hoverdog" pic - what a glorious result from all the paw troubles!
    We've seen ALOT of coyote activity here lately. I've almost run smack into 1 on 2 separate occasions in the last week. I'd love to pick your brain about them if you could tell us more...We rarely see packs, but hear them singing nearby.

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  23. The bond that you have with K and R- I so admire. To have them listen to you- like they do- took a lot of work and trust- is what I am thinking..
    The photos are so gorgeous. I tried to catch photos of snow flakes falling before- but,,,
    it wasn't too pretty.
    Is your camera your best friend besides the dual?
    love
    tweedles

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  24. Beautiful shots! I think you are getting all the snow up there, can we borrow some?

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