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Monday, May 30, 2011

From the desert to the mountains

Back to the desert for one last day... We spent our last day/night at the San Rafael Swell in a sea of sandstone.
A fierce wind was blowing as the four of us explored the sandstone world that surrounded our campsite before heading off to western Colorado.
We divided our trip home from Utah into two parts by stopping at an "old standby" campsite just over the border into Colorado and overlooking the Colorado River.

While we slept, a rain storm swept across the desert, enveloping us. Because we needed to drive home that day, we couldn't wait around for good weather. K had been limping earlier in the vacation so she and I had barely mountain biked together in a week. I think that the rocky world of the San Rafael Swell didn't agree with her surgically altered paw.

That morning, we headed out into the rainy world for a very short ride together. It felt wonderful to have my chocolate girl next to me again. She did a dance, complete with play bows and spins, to sing out her happiness about being on the trails with me again.
I wanted to go very slowly to keep her paw safe so I stopped to photograph dripping primrose flowers...
...and gorgeous dwarf lupine flowers. They glowed purple next to the trail, elegantly beautiful in an understated way.
We rode for a short time, and K's paw seemed painless. I dropped her off with the boys to hang out while I hammered out for a longer ride.

I rode uphill to a singletrack trail that winds along a cliff above the Colorado River.
I didn't see another person on the trails but the flowers repeatedly stopped me in my tracks. Look at these crimson paintbrush flowers perched on the cliff's edge. Two years ago, I saw a prairie falcon nesting just below where those flowers sit. I didn't see a nest this time.
The Sego Lilies, drenched in rain, made me want to stop and worship them.
After each stop to enjoy the flowers, I'd promise myself that I wasn't going to stop again for the rest of the ride. I swore that I'd just zoom by the blooming shrubs and delicate flowers.
But, then, another patch of flowers would draw me like a bee to nectar.
The palette of colors astounded me, especially against the stormy skies and with no other people around. This odd looking but beautiful flower has the unappealing name of "Pallid Milkweed".
Prairie wild onion...
Finally, I heard the rumble of thunder in the distance and realized that I was riding on a very exposed cliff where I was the tallest thing around (that's a rare occurrence for a short woman). It wouldn't be a good place to ride out an electrical storm. So then, I did truly hammer toward camp. No more flower stops.
Almost there... It was easy riding from here to camp so I zoomed downhill without a care.
During my short stop at the van before we drove home, I noticed a beetle on the sideview mirror. Maybe she was checking her makeup? We helped her off the van so she wouldn't take an unexpected trip to the mountains and we headed for home.... where the rain was snow and the flowers were barely blooming yet.
But, since arriving home and enduring seemingly endless snow and rain, our world is waking up. I love springtime!

On a more somber note, today marks two years since our yellow lab, S, lost his battle with cancer. We miss him but we've reached peace with his memory. We mostly smile rather than cry when we remember him. He was an amazing character who brought lots of love and laughs to our pack.


  1. Lovely pics.....especially of S.....could it be two years?!
    What a beauty....

  2. As always, what signal pictures you have for us tonight! The one of K against the sandstone is so perfect. . . as are all the rest, just out of the ordinary.

    Are these all taken with your Christmas camera? Does everyone know you can jumbo-fy them with a double click?


    Stella, Jo and Zkhat

  3. Hi Y'all,

    What beautiful flowers! I can't blame you for stopping to photograph them.

    Two years...the sad memories dim and the good ones bring smiles...

    How's R doing?

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. What an absolutely lovely picture of S. I am sure you miss him very much.

    The colors in those pictures are just crazy beautiful!

    Your pal, Pip

  5. What a gorgeous place..if those bugs only knew where they would wind up
    Benny & Lily

  6. Those special dogs in our past always make us smile - we loved seeing S.

  7. We are so glad you did this one last post on your trip to the desert. The flower photos were so beautiful.

    the anniversaries are always hard, but when the memories bring smiles instead of tears, all is good. He was a handsome boy.

  8. I didn't realize it had only been two years since S passed away. I know he was a very special guy!

    I wouldn't have been able to pass those flowers without stopping for pictures, either! They all look so exotic! Life is better when you stop to smell (or photograph) the flowers!

    I'm glad K recovered enough to join you for that last ride. It's funny how acutely you miss their presence when they can't be around!

  9. As always, love the adventures you share with us. the photos are wonderful.


  10. What flowers that desert rain awakened! I love the lily/paintbrush one! It's been 2 years since I met you, KB - I came to visit your blog right after S died. Great pics of the Swell.

  11. Your flower pics are gorgeous. Glad you stopped!

  12. The photos bring a hush over me.
    I feel like I want to touch that tiny rain drop on the Sego Lilies.
    But I know how delicate the blossom is, so I will not touch.
    Again I hear that silence...
    all this beauty brings calmness to me that I do not want to leave.
    I did not know you when you had S.
    She was beautiful and soulful.. yes now she lives in your heart,, and her memories bring joy.
    Thank you for sharing the desert with us.

  13. Two years since S is gone? Already? I remember that's when I started reading your blog - time really flies. I am glad that you are at peace now. Wish I could feel that way about Taco (though I'm trying).

    Got to admit, that beetle is scary. Not sure how I would have reacted if I saw her stuck to my car window!

  14. The desert in ovecaste is so beautiful. You know I love the flowers and would have stopped, too; dispite the tapping of impatient paws :-) Those paintbrush are amazing. We don't have them here.

    Aso liked the pictures of K and R - their personalities show through. They are so different, like Gizmo and Bart, but so similar. And bootiful, of course!

    Rottie Kisses - and watch out for bears!!

  15. Wow, amazing photos and captivating read.

    A blog of distinction.

  16. Glad you stopped to photograph the flowers. They are incredible! Beautiful place you enjoyed. Yay!

    Waggin at ya,

  17. Gorgeous photos... I love that one of S.

  18. Such beautiful pictures again! We didn't know S but he sure was a gorgeous dog. We know how hard it can be on certain dates of a loss of a loved companion. Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  19. My mum would loves dat place if her was gonna be da talest thing theres...her is only 5 foot...hehehe...and her did barf looking at da bug:)

    What beeeeautiful flower shots. Love how you really look at nature!

    What beautiful memories you has of S! Thank you fur showing him.


  20. Hi - we found our way here from Pip's blog. So glad we did, our human loves retrievers having had several in the past, now she's just got us two but says we're more trouble :-) What a lovely blog, the photo's are amazing, we'll enjoy following your adventures, Dex & Lou x

  21. Thank you for not hammering past the beautiful blooms with their quiet gentle message of harmony and calm.

    We pray that someday soon no one will EVER again say "I lost my loved one to cancer..." Your S is a handsome boy with eye that touch the soul. Cherish the wonderful memories.

  22. Finally, I've been waiting to see the flowers and you did satisfy. The blooms are gorgeous and so very unique...someday I will see them in that bucket list material...I hope so.

  23. Awhh, S was such a handsome boy, bless him.

    I enjoyed the colorful flowers. I know you're enjoying the signs of spring. The thermometer on my car today after work read 102, which is crazy-hot for VA at the end of May!!

    I hope K's limp has faded, and R's toenail is healing.
    Take care!

  24. What a beautiful portrait of S. My favorite photos, however, are the portrait of K with matching red rock background, and that stunning bathed mariposa (Sego Lily). Wow!!!

    How awesome that you got a preview of spring before it arrives here. Maybe some of that wonderful weather tagged along with you...

  25. Such stunning pics! I'd have had to stop at each of these flowers also! There's something magival about wildflowers that just sucks me in entirely. Maybe because where I grew up(VA) there were no wildflowers that grew like this, at least not that I was aware of. Particularly since moving to TX, where wildflowers are everywhere, I've been able to record their simple beauty. Simple yet perfect!
    I'm just now catching up with you and I'm so sorry to hear about R's nail! Poor baby - I hope he's getting lots of treats and extra love.

  26. oops- also meant to say thanks for stopping by my blog. My post and your memories of S are timely. He was a handsome boy and clearly well-loved. Many hugs to you on a difficult anniversary.


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