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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mountain madness

Our evening hikes have been underneath ominous clouds recently. Unfortunately, those clouds have been obscuring the almost full moon. However, you can see the moon in the photo below, just rising above the rocky peaks near the left of the photo.

 Last evening, as the sun set, the eastern sky became bluer and the clouds became gold.
K stood in silhouette against the clouds, looking over the meadow.
Last night, my driveway wildlife camera saw action for the first time in a little while. A rotund (or pregnant?) bobcat sauntered down the cleared path.
Shortly later, a rabbit gallivanted by the same spot at high speed.
I think that cleared human routes are important to the wildlife after snowstorms. However, as soon as more hidden paths open up, the animals seem to abandon routes like our driveway and use trails instead.

This morning, K and I headed out into a slushy and muddy world. The wind still rushed off the mountains in intense gusts followed by eerie calm interludes. The wind really scared K. So, I played some training games with her to distract her from her fear. It worked!
K's fears are strongly correlated with her thyroid function. She's had a recent resurgence in fearfulness, acting intensely afraid of noises, sudden movements by us, and walking down a small set of steps. It may be time for a blood test to see if she needs to take more oral thyroid hormone.

After I rode with K today, I headed out to ride my mountain bike on some trails that had melted out. A tiny wildlflower (Noccaea Montana, Wild Candytuft) that I've been watching for had bloomed all over the south-facing hillsides. The white flowers are tiny, about a half inch across, and grow in clusters. I think that they were waiting for a long drink of water before blooming.
After noticing these tiny treasures, I took lots of photos and relaxed in the sunshine near them. Consequently, it was very hard to believe how fast the weather turned on me. I rode up onto a ridge, and the wind refound its strength, gusting so hard that I couldn't pedal forward during the biggest gusts. Then, the rain started, driven by the wild wind. Fortunately, I know that weather in our mountains can be crazy at this time of year, and I had extra layers in my backpack that kept me warm.

But, I had a brief moment of wondering "What the heck am I doing out here on this ridge?". I snapped a photo at that moment. It's amazing how benign the scene looks by comparison to the power of nature that was knocking me around at that moment. The photo didn't depict the freezing driving rain or the gale force winds.
I tried to hurry home but, believe it or not, some trails were still choked with a foot of heavy snow. I slogged along at a snail's pace even though I was working as hard as I possibly could. As I fruitlessly pedaled, I kept reminding myself that I *do* love mountain biking. By the time I finally caught sight of my house, the storm had abated and the sun was peeking through the clouds.

Yes, I do love mountain biking, and I love the wildness of the mountains. It's just easy to forget when I feel like a piece of driftwood caught in the maelstrom of mountain madness.


  1. I think I'd have had trouble remembering why I loved it in the middle of a storm like that, too!

    I didn't know K had low thyroid, but I'm not surprised that you're in tune with her enough to know when it needs to be moderated.

  2. That is one robust bunny!


  3. Great sky! The weather sure has been nutty. That is one big bunny
    Benny & Lily

  4. "maelstrom of mountain madness"
    love it....
    i think you and i have communicated about the fearfulness in regards to thyroid...Benny is hypothyroid too, and i see the same type of behavior in him...seems to me i mentioned this to a Vet and they didn't connect the two...but i know it to be true!
    hope this week brings more MMM, or less...:)

  5. Wow! That blue in the second shot is awesome. Nice bobcat shot also.

  6. You mean you might have baby bobcats soon! That bunny better move fast.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S.: I am not a big fan of the wind either - makes walking very difficult for me.

  7. Hi Y'all,

    Know how you feel about reminding yourself you really love mountain biking. Out galloping horses as weather sets in, frozen hands on reins, trying to thaw frozen water buckets...I'd say to myself, "tell me again why I love horses". Then comes summer with its own unique set of challenges.

    BrownDog's Momma

  8. What a day! Love the photos, and I'm glad you were able to overcome K's fear of the wind!

  9. What a beautiful day! K looks gorgeous and the bobcat is defintily on the plump side. I wonder if you will soon be seeing little bobcats! Lots of love, Debbie and Holly

  10. OMG, biking in the wind sucks. like HEAVY wind. there can be seriously scary winds here too. A few weeks ago, i rode to the Juras and the winds were so bad, they seriously BLEW ME ACROSS THE ENTIRE ROAD. not even kidding. it was so scary because it was a road ride, and i was terrified if a car was behind me. going home, i had a tail wind and cross wind and when trucks passed i would almost halt for fear of the cross winds that would gush after them passing.

    BTW: Loki says he "resents" that "Loko" miss-type of yours, but he funny enough, he keeps mistyping "represents" for "resents" so he writes: "I represent that miss-type!" hmmm... freudian slip? LOL.

    i never knew fears were connected to thyroid. is K's hypo or hyper? because i wonder why sometimes loki is so nutty. we went on a nature hike trail today and ended up near an aviation field by accident -- the planes flew right over our heads so close to us, it was startling (it was totally accidental that we were there)... anyway, he didn't even bother with them... but a sign flapping in the wind detouring us because of tree logging, well, he just freaked and got low and supicious... of course i make him go up and touch it with his nose so he gets over it... but he freaks at lots of little things...

    sigh. such is the way with whack-a-dos... not that any of yours are whacky... ;) tee-hee.

    hugs to K (and R too).
    wild dingo

  11. Truly has been some wild riding this month. Start out in the sun, finish in 48-mph gusts, or start out with a slight thread of storm and finish with a light sunburn! Still carrying tons of layers, just in case!

    Love those wildlife shots you are getting! Maybe some bobcat kitties in the near future?!?

  12. As much as I am learning to love your mountains, I can't even imagine being out in wild, windy weather. T'aint for me.

    I am a hypothyroid human and K has my sympathy(well, a little). Is she on a natural thyroid replacement or synthetic? Or is it totally different from the human variety.

    Cheers and hugs,


  13. Lucinda is a bit worried about the welfare of that rabbit! I see I'm going to have to depend on you for photos of the early wildflowers. Just lovely! Keep warm.

  14. Sophie seems to look for wild winds and inclement weather. She loves the feel of it I guess. I had her on MacDonald Hill(2 posts ago) and you can see she is loving evry wind swept moment.
    Loving the little white flower...any chance of seeing the whole meadow?

  15. Madness, indeed! Maybe K was picking up on something blowing in that you'd find out about the harder way :(

    Glad you got home safely - those little wildflowers are lovely!


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