I pedaled up high early this morning, with K by my side, arriving just after the sun had risen.
K and I didn't linger long. Although the air was relatively warm (25°F), a cold wind whipped off of the Divide. We just stopped long enough for a couple of photos.
The photo below is posed but in an interesting way. I've taught K hand signals so that I can direct her to climb up onto a boulder pile by an easy route and stand in a certain spot. Then, you can imagine that I didn't want her to leap off that tall boulder to the ground below her after the photo. I wanted her to retrace her steps, taking the easy way down. Hand signals did the trick again. It's amazing how much we can communicate to our dogs if we train them. I learned the "hand signal trick" back when I did canine search and rescue.
As K stood atop that boulder, I noticed twinges of pink near the tips of the bush that was almost touching her left shoulder. I looked more closely. Hooray!!!! Buds! Spring must be on its way.
After our impromptu photo session, K and I discovered that the condition of our trails improved substantially over the weekend. Sections were dry and wonderful!
But, then, less than 3 minutes of riding away from the dry spot, we hit snow that was as deep as my wheel axles under the trees. K ran through a shallow spot toward me, chomping on a rose hip as she galloped. She *loves* rose hips!
Several of you have asked about my cameras. When I ride my bike, I carry a bullet-proof, shock-proof, freeze-proof, crush-proof, and waterproof Lumix point-and-shoot camera. The photos so far in this post were taken with that camera. When I'm not on my bike, I use a Canon Rebel 2Ti SLR camera (a gift from my Dad in memory of my Mom's love of photography). Later in this post, I have a few photos from the Canon that I took during a hike with the Labraduo. I must admit that the Canon has spoiled me so I don't appreciate the Lumix photos like I used to.
After K and I finished our ride, I headed out to snowbike solo, determined to ride a favorite loop that deep and unpacked snow has closed off for weeks. After riding through packed snow to get to my favorite ridge, I found parts of the ridge trail to be bone dry. In the photo below, I was almost on the crest of the ridge and had glimpsed the mountains to my west.
The ride was wonderful, mainly because I enjoyed visiting the ridge so much after a hiatus. Huge drifts covered parts of the trail, and no humans had attempted to cross them. The drift below had been crossed by a bobcat and by a coyote. Those two species tend to avoid each other so I suspect that their passages were separated by hours.
Further along, I hit another dry section with a view that I love. Whenever I'm snowbiking on this ridge and see the ski area, I realize that I've found a way to be very happy despite my doctor's moratorium on telemark skiing. Telemark skiing used to be one of my favorite things to do.
I arrived home happy and tired. It was over 40°F, sunny, and bird songs filled the air.
In the afternoon, I took the Duo for a hike. My plan was to hike into a very snowy area, remove a wildlife camera that had sat dormant with no animal visitors for too long, and then hike to a sunny meadow to post the camera in a new spot.
The trail to the area where my camera was posted was comprised of packed snow so it was easy hiking if you chose to stay on the trail. Of course, my wild canine companions didn't make that choice. Here, R was mesmerized by something off the trail. (The rest of the photos are from my Canon - but storm clouds rendered the world very dark so the photos aren't the greatest).
R couldn't stop himself from wading into snow that was up to his tail. I called him back, and he porpoised and leaped toward me.
After hurdling the bush in the photo above, something caught his attention. He literally stopped in his tracks as he landed to stare into the forest. As I watch R's lithe and agile movements, I wish that I could have his athletic ability just for one day.
K was equally curious about something in the deep snow. At one point, I thought that she might need to resort to doggy paddle to escape the bottomless powder!
But, despite all that she's been through in the past year, K is still very strong. She leaped out of the snow, arriving at my feet.
The antics of my dogs never cease to make me smile!
Despite being distracted by the canine comedians, I achieved my goal. My wildlife camera that was in a snowy area is now on a sunny and dry slope surveying an opening between two meadows. My fingers are crossed that some animals walk past it. I'll be moving another camera soon - in an attempt to figure out where the wild animals wander in the winter months. My lonely cameras have taught me that the animals abandon many of their summer routes after the snow starts piling up in the forest.