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Monday, February 28, 2011

Spring is coming!

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.


  1. Ahhh. That sunrise is breathtaking! How nice to have a respite from winter!

    -The Rottrovers :-)

  2. I so look forward each day's new pics!!!

    Once again, thanks so much for sharing your world!

  3. How I hope you are right about Spring. I could sure use some dry areas in my own yard:(

    All the photos are fantastic, no matter which camera. It has a lot to do with the operator too:)

  4. Yet again da bluest sky I has ever seen! :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  5. You have an amazing eye, no matter what camera you're using! You could probably put most of us to shame with a disposable camera! :P

    I love the pictures of the dogs leaping through the snow with it flying around them. Isn't it funny how just the thought of Spring arriving can buoy your spirits?

    I didn't realize that K and R both had to be on special diets! lol Of course they can't make it easy!

  6. What kind of cameras do you use for the wildlife pictures? Have you ever had any problems with people taking them? I guess probably not.

    I need a new camera and am looking for recommendations - something easy to use that takes good quality pictures, but doesn't break the bank. Let me know if you have suggestions.

  7. Hi Y'all,

    So glad y'all are seeing some signs of spring!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  8. This was an especially good blog. Wonderful sunrise picture and always fun dog stuff!

    Cheers and hugs all around,

    Stella and Jo

  9. It amazing how you can encounter such different elements on your hikes!
    Wonderful pictures!
    The duo always brings a smile to my face:)

  10. My daugher has that same camera, it's amazing! Spring? Spring buds? YES BRING IT ON!

  11. You bring Hope of the Season of Rebirth with your glorious photos! Thanks for sharing.

    Also thanks for the kind words you left for Quinn on his Gotcha Day. It truly meant a lot to him...and to all of us.

  12. Canine comedians. How right you are.

  13. Mum has a Nikon D80 and it freezes so dats why all our snow piktures looks like crud...sigh!
    Nows dat hand signaling stuff you do is so freakin' awesome...but, glad mum don't knows how to train...hehehehe!

    Love da shots of K in da snow.


  14. so wonderful to see those buds! and the patches of dry ground....spring is certainly in the air!
    great pictures of the dogs "swimming" in the snow!

  15. We always look forward to your pics, your post about your day, and Labduo having fun. You take great pictures and we surely do enjoy them everytime!! Thanks for sharing & for visiting us.
    Woofs & Wags
    Ernie,Sasha,Chica,Lucas & M

  16. That first picture is lovely, with the peace of the mountains just glowing from it. I'm glad that you got to visit some trails that you haven't seen in a while. That can be even better than seeing a new trail for the first time. It's like greeting an old friend.

    I hope your camera catches lots of animals in its new location. I have my camera, but, it's intimidating me a bit, and I haven't got it configured yet. I'm not very brave when it comes to mechanical stuff.

  17. Sophie loves rose hips too! So fortunate to have the cameras. Now I know there are cameras out there that don`t freeze up!

  18. Hi KB, I've been so busy, I'm playing catch-up! The pic of K on the rock with the cloud bank over the ski area is my favorite. What vivid buds! Is it a dogwood bush? I'm often amazed at the hardiness of our mountain shrubs and wildflowers.

  19. I do no skiing except cross country, but when I read about your Telemarking of the past, I remembered a line one of my friends always used to chant... Telly 'til you're Smelly!

    It was fun to see the differences in the two cameras. The blue sky in the background of the K portraits is dazzling. I hope you're going to capture lots of new movement in the new location!

  20. Hi KB
    Sometimes I think spring is coming too..but then Mother Earth does more swirling of the seasons and we are dumped on with buckets of snow and wind. I have seen some little blossoms.. pussy willow blossoms,, but I guess, I am just getting in a hurry for spring.
    I have never eaten rose hips, I wonder what they taste like... yummm?
    I love all the energy that K and R have.. and I love that they enjoy life so much,,, they are loved and it shows. I love your photos--so very awsome.


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