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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Top of the world

For some reason that I don't even vaguely understand, our internet suddenly crawled to life today after about ten days of sleeping. The repairman is due later in the week and will hopefully figure out this mystery. For the moment, I'm typing on an ancient computer after just being informed that my usual computer needs a lobotomy or to be replaced.

While all our technology went on the fritz, we took a trip toward springtime. We headed west, over the endlessly snowy Continental Divide, and downhill toward the western part of the state. Our first stop was near Fruita, Colorado, where we enjoyed a day before heading further west.

We camped with an incredible view of the Colorado River and the reddish cliffs lining it.
The river is a haven for wildlife, particularly migrating birds. Near the river, we spotted numerous bluebirds. I captured a male showing off his flying skills for a gawking female.
I rode my mountain  bike on the gloriously snow-free and dry trails. I started our day near Fruita by riding with K. Although we weren't out early, we didn't see another person during our entire ride. I took it very easy on her because it was her first run on hard ground since her toe amputation. In the photo below, I'd decided that it was time for us to turn around and K looked appalled! The theme for the trip was that K's spunk, happiness, strength, and speed surprised me daily.
On our short foray, K and I spotted a few early blooming flowers. Woo! Spring!

Later in the day, I headed out for a longer ride solo, following a trail that teetered on the edge of an undulating wall of cliffs. In the photo below, my immediate path is in the foreground but the trail turned and followed the lip of the pinkish cliffs visible in the distance.
I stayed back from the edge because vertical exposure isn't one of my favorite things and it was windy. However, I loved swooping along following the erosion lines of the Colorado River's canyon.

Back in camp, I played with the Duo, taking photos of them on what appears to be a scary promontory but fell off by only about 3 feet behind them.
I had to take a photo of K's fabulous paws. I absolutely cannot believe how lucky I am to be riding with her again. When we decided to have her toe amputated, I believed, based on the vets' predictions,  that it might mean the end of our mountain biking days. We lucked out, and we seem to have an incredible reprieve!
R stood in the same spot, barely containing his urge to scurry away and find out what kind of bird was rustling in the juniper trees.
Early the next morning, the ever-intrepid Runner suggested that I do a point-to-point trail ride and meet him a couple of exits west on the interstate. We studied the map, and it looked like the route would be easy to find. Ha!

I didn't follow the biggest trail in the area, the Kokopelli Trail, because it was a boring double-track in that section, Instead, I followed rim trails that paralleled the river and then needed to find a route up a headwall away from the snaking river to meet the Runner. That last step turned out to be a challenge. Fortunately, I decided to ignore the details of my map and follow my instinct after exploring and rejecting almost every option for going up the headwall. In the end, after some serious worrying that I was lost, I found the Labmobile only slightly later than expected. I hopped aboard, and we headed further west along the Colorado River.

I started wondering why I keep challenging my shaky navigational abilities with these solo point-to-point rides in unknown territory. The only answer that I could muster was that I like adventure and facing my weaknesses - and navigation is a huge weakness of mine. Without fear, we never get to exercise our bravery. As I feverishly pedaled that day feeling adrenaline coursing through my veins, I realized that K has to be brave every single day because mundane aspects of life scare her. For example, she's terrified of the steps down to our basement but she must navigate them to go for a mountain bike ride with me. So, each morning, she musters the courage to descend them, literally one step at a time with a pause on each one before reaching her toes down to the next one.

After driving into Utah, we camped near the top of a canyon with slick pink rock cliffs lining it. Being surrounded by towering cliffs sculpted by water and wind was awe-inspiring. Our campsite was secluded and quiet. Just perfect.
It rained shortly after we arrived and for much of the night. When we emerged in the morning, we could see fresh snow on cliffs that weren't much higher than we were.

Our foursome headed for a climb to the "Top of the World". It's the sort of terrain where a runner and a biker can travel together because a mountain biker is certainly not faster than a good runner and is sometimes slower.

After climbing rough rocks up an unrelenting steep pitch, we arrived at the top of the world. My bike is afraid of cliffs so it waited a good distance from the edge while we and the leashed dogs cautiously surveyed the valley that sat thousands of feet below us.
This was not the Grand Canyon but it seemed deep enough to me! It also was utterly devoid of other people - so we had solitude that we'd be hard pressed to find in a National Park.
It's an oddity that K did not seem afraid of the cliff but she's terrified of our steps in our house!
We lingered a long time at the top, enjoying the views and the quiet. We live in an amazingly beautiful world.

To make our day complete, we later took a sunset hike in the same valley as we'd peered down at from the "Top of the World". I'll tell you more about that tomorrow or whenever my internet connection decides to cooperate again. I'm hoping that it continues to cooperate for long enough for me to visit some of your blogs!


  1. Saying anything more than WOW would be a waste of words!


  2. I think K is telling you she's ready to go back to the way things were!


  3. Well, guess there was a reason for the internet to be uncooperative - I got to see a magnificent part of our country that is not likely to ever be seen in person by me. What a wonderful trip! And I am so happy for K AND you.

  4. I'm always glad when you go on trips because you come back with the most beautiful pictures!

    Was the place you traveled to a state park, or something else? I know national parks rarely allow dogs, but all of our state parks here do, and like the area you visited, sadly, many of them are not visited much.

    I love how happy K looks, and R, too!

  5. Loving these photos... how beautiful!

  6. yay!! i'm super full of the excitements that your interwebs decided to work, miss KB!
    lookit all these mega pretty pictures! your trip out west was so awesome sauce! miss K and R look like they are havin' a blast, too!
    mama would love to know where ya'll camped. and of course, she's sayin' how much she enjoys seein' the bluebirds. oh, and she thinks that beautimous canyon was deep enough to be the grand canyon, too!
    (sheesh, mama, why don't you just ninja this comment post already! heeheehee.)

    the booker man

  7. Wow! Such dramatic, beautiful views! I'm glad K is doing so well. I've been meaning to email and ask you about some good places to visit where you can camp with a dog and a puppy (maybe you haven't seen her yet) and where there is good hiking. I'd like to bike too but can't see a way of doing that with dogs unless my companion stays behind and dog sits. Because of my work schedule, I can't take a vacation until late June, which is disappointing because the parks are most crowded in the summer months. Any ideas? It's so hard to tell what's what just by looking at websites.

  8. Breath takin' pictures today! :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  9. Your magnificent photos actually quickened my heart rate. Loved the photo with the bike lying there, could just imagine what was just beyond that ridge, far below those clouds.

  10. I am speechless! The photo's are just breath taking.

  11. Thank goodness for the internet again. Great pictures, spring is on its way
    Benny & Lily

  12. Isnt that fantastic K has healed well enough to hike again. I think my heart was a stuttering looking at the photos of your dogs so close to the edge of the cliff. As always you photography (and energy lol) amaze me!

  13. Thanks for the vivid reminder that on oh so many levels, we live in an amazingly beautiful world!

  14. Killer photo of K and Fisher Towers!!!

    As I read the first line or so of this post (and pictures were still loading on my own slow connection), I was thinking how neat it would be if our absences were due to trips to Moab, especially when spring is still so fleeting here, instead of computer problems and work conflicts, and then, bang! Red rock comes into view!

    I'm so happy you got to go west, take pictures, bike and visit such incredible scenery with the Labs and the Runner!

  15. Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous!!!


  16. The photos are even more amazing than usual. We are in awe of the beauty you share with us. Thank you!

  17. Breathtaking! What a wonderful adventure for all of you. I think what you did by challenging yourself and your fears is amazing. And I love the example you gave about K going down the steps. It really takes courage to face your fears. I admire that about you.

    Thank you for the inspiration and I hope you had a wonderful trip. :)

  18. What a happy surprise to find a new post again to day. And the pictures! WOW! Have fun and be safe. Love EM

  19. Wow, what an awesome view from top of the world! To be surrounded by such still beauty and no other humans, amazingly unreal. Fantastic pictures!

  20. Jaw dropping pic....3rd from the it! Yes, amazing K showed no fear of the heights. You and The Runner are so very fortunate to be able to experience this land and without anyone else that's heaven!

  21. The last picture is my favorite, awesome is all I can say.

  22. That was mighty good timing on your part, my friend. Mr smrp left town for the week, too (though he went up to Jackson Hole where there was much more snow!)

    What a nightmare week of crazy winds and blizzards we had-ick!

    Love the pictures and was day dreaming of flowers by the end of your post!

    SOOOOOO happy to hear that Miss K is able to keep joining you on your adventures-I had a feeling she would rise above that missing toe!

    Lots of hugs to you and the dynamic duo and a fringy capped giggle to the intrepid runner :)

  23. incredible beauty! thanks for sharing...
    hope your computer is better after the lobotomy!

  24. That bluebird shot is incredible. And, you know, if you didn't know to look at K's foot, you would never guess that she had a toe removed last year. She looks fantastic!

  25. Wonderful photos, great scenery, beautiful view are just a few things we can say about your post and photos today! Amazing!!!

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai, Wai-Max & Forgie

  26. OMD, I is ao happies ya'll is back online...ya'll has been missed terriblies!
    You is eithers da bravest or da craziest person I knows to do all dat stuff by yourself. I commend you highly fur doin all you do and bein' so adventerous.
    My poor mum could nevers do dat...hers can't read a map...or instructions...bwhahahahaha!

    I has question...da fifth foto up, is dat SOOC or did you do sumptin to it? Maybe a filter?


  27. We are so with! Just breathtaking photos...thank you for sharing them with us! Sure hope your computer doesn't need that bedreaded lobotomy! When technology goes on the fritz, it sure creates havoc! You have the right idea - go out and sight see! We are sightseeing though your eyes right now and certainly enjoying the view!

  28. Your photos are breathtaking and amazing...I can only imagine the awe and feelings to be standing there taking it all in!

  29. Even the pictures make my stomach clench. I'm not good with heights. :o)

  30. Oh man
    there is no way we can hurry through this journey- i am coming back to night when all is quiet and I can soak in all of this,.... i want to remember it all for a long long time...
    KB we love you for sharing


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