The first photo was a cute rabbit with a notch taken out of his left ear. I think that this mountain cottontail had a close call at some point in his life.
After pedaling uphill for a long time, I turned around and enjoyed the fruits of my labor, flying down the hillside with as much abandon as I could muster. If I could change one thing about my spine situation, it would that I would relearn to let my bike fly downhill! I miss it but I'm too afraid of injury to really let loose. Nonetheless, I enjoyed rocketing down in a quarter of the time that it took me to climb the hill.
On my approach to the nearest road, I saw huge pock marks on the trail. At first, I thought - "Who would ride their horse in conditions like this?". Then, I looked more closely. Our burgeoning moose population has discovered the ease of walking on well-packed human trails. In the photo below, you can see the two-toed track with two dew claws in the back. My foot is for scale. Believe it or not, this moose took steps that were about a meter long!
Moose were introduced to Colorado, west of the Divide, about 30 years ago. The population started with two dozen individuals and has grown to about 1000. They've flourished and migrated over the Continental Divide. When they first crossed the Divide, they stayed fairly high, close to the mountain peaks. They seem to be gradually expanding their range further to the east. You might remember my disbelief when I captured video of a moose near my house last summer. That was a first!
I also saw what might have been mountain lion tracks near the moose tracks. I'm guessing that a lion could kill a young moose but might have trouble with full-sized ones. There certainly were no tracks of deer or elk up the snowbound land where I rode my bike today so moose might be the main thing on that lion's menu. Surprising... but it's most likely that the lion was just passing through.
I'll leave you with our handsome black lab taking a snow wriggle in total ecstasy!