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Monday, July 11, 2011

Alpine adventures

Continuing with stories from our camping trip to the high mountains southwest of us in Colorado...

The start of our trip was delayed by K's kidney infection. After waiting for her to "get out of the woods", we devised a plan so that we could take our trip without stressing K. We did a "tag team" approach, where the Runner and R would go for a trail run each morning while I took K for a stroll near camp.
When the runners returned to camp, they'd hang out with K in the shade while I went for a mountain bike ride.

I kept running into walls of snow blocking the trails on my alpine mountain biking adventures.
The photo above shows a very small wall of snow that I managed to clamber across. Some of the walls were 50' tall with cornices overhanging their edges. This trail is almost always open, free of snow, by late June or early July. Not this year...
I didn't even try to climb the wall shown the photo above, even though my favorite section of mountain bike trail on Earth was on the other side of it. I saw a mountain biker approach the snowbank from the other direction. He tried to carry his bike down it, slipped, and slid at high speed down into the rocks below the snow. He was very lucky that he was okay.

I knew that my fragile spine would not survive a fall like that one so I contented myself with enjoying the flowers sprouting at the edge of the melting snow.

Old Men of the Mountain...
Alpine Avens...
At one snowfield, a marmot played a funny trick on me. A family of these highly social rodents had been playing on the snowfield when I barged onto the scene. Four of them clambered up a rocky hillside and disappeared into their den. One marmot stayed behind, lying stationary in the snow.
I cautiously inched closer to him, hoping that he'd stir and show me that he was alive and well. He didn't. However, I noticed that he was blinking his eyes, and then I saw the rise and fall of his chest.
I sadly thought that he was probably very sick and dying. So, I turned my back and walked away so I wouldn't stress him out. A good distance away, I took some photos of wildflowers. Then, I heard the shrill whistle of a marmot. I looked back at the snowfield, and the "dying" marmot was gone. Then, I spotted him standing on his hind legs on a boulder whistling at me. After catching my attention, he sprinted up the hill and into his den. I imagined the whole marmot family laughing at the naive human whom he'd tricked!

After my bike ride, I returned to laze around camp with the pack.
The sun shined so brightly that the Duo needed caps! R donned his "Black Dog Tavern" cap and K donned her "Chocolate" cap.
Yellow flowers painted the meadow surrounding our campsite golden. The bumblebees buzzed from one blossom to the next, sipping sweet nectar.
And, we finished our day with a short hike as a foursome in the cool evening air. Ah, I'll never tire of this view.
Several of you have kindly inquired about whether my internet connection has been fixed. It's been sort of fixed. It works sporadically for downloading but not at all for uploading. So, I'm still imposing on friends, libraries, and coffee shops whenever I need to upload anything substantial. I sure hope that it gets solved soon but I'm getting pessimistic that we may be forced to go for satellite internet.


  1. That crazy little marmot! Such beautiful images!
    Glad you're kinda back!

  2. It has been, again, so way too long, but such a joy to see the dogs... Colorado - snow walls amazing! Bottom pic (view) also incredible, as are the wildflowers and bees etc. Beautiful photos! Hope K gets better and hope the puter connection does too! We loved the marmot tale - they are crafty devils!
    Sammie, Avalon, Oz and Mom

  3. Hi Y'all!

    Wow, would I love to go for a run with R and the Runner! The scenery is magnificent.

    That marmot had your number!

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  4. I love it when animals play tricks on us! I don't know about going back to the den and having a laugh, but I do know they are a playful bunch, like otters!

    Pictures to dazzle us! Thanks, KB!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  5. Great marmot shots....

    Sitting motionless like that is probably a great adaptation to avoiding predators, when the marmot isn't sitting on snow!

  6. You made us chuckle out loud at your marmot story:) Clever little wise guy, wasn't he?

    Love the hatted duo.

    And you know how happy it makes us to know that you used caution on that mountain bike. Best to be careful.

  7. Hope Ms K made out ok.Cool hats guys
    Benny & Lily

  8. Funny marmot! And great photos! I so wanted to bring my bike when I visited Colorado but couldn't figure out how that could work with the dogs along. Your system sound good but I'd be a bit afraid of biking on those trails on my own. However, someone local posted a video of some trails at Winterpark resort NW of Denver that looked rideable for a beginner. Someday I'll get to say I mountain biked in CO (even if it's only a few blocks of riding and miles of walking alongside my bike).

  9. The moisture from the snowmelt is sorely needed! Your photos are as magical as always, offering escape and revitalization. Hope K's UTI clears up soon.

    Asked Vet to do a thyrois test on Quinn, thanks for the heads up...also turns out that Eskies are more susceptible than other breeds...will know results in a day or so.

  10. I have never seen or heard of a marmot before - I guess he was playing possum.

    That wall of snow is AMAZING! Beautiful pictures as always.

    Your pal, Pip

  11. What a great marmot shot and tale -

    The bee pic was quite khool too!

    I told Khyra about the snow walls - she rolled her brown eyes ;-)

  12. Having the Internet guys come tomorrow - mine is sporadic, too! Love these pics, KB! The hat one and the bumblebee are my favorites. Yes, still lots of snow up high.

  13. We never tire of looking at all the beauty you share,,, we like to see it everyday!
    The hats fit K & R perfect,,, very fashionable.
    And those silly Marmots,, what will they do next?

  14. You always have such gorgeous pictures! I love it where you live! The duo look so cute in their hats! The Marmots which I have never heard of here are funny...playing tricks!! You still have snow?! It's going to be over 100 here on Tuesday with very high humidity! Right now a little snow sounds refreshing! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  15. All I could imagine in that pic of the duo with their caps, was lying in the grass staring into that gorgeous sky...Beautiful

  16. Love those caps! And, the snow cornice! Amazing! We hit a few 4th of July weekend, but didn't capture them as you did. The flowers and views, ahhhh! Great camping advenuture!
    Hugs to K & R :)

    Sweet hgus,
    Sierra Rose

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  18. Luved the photos of the Marmot. Such great critters :D What a photo of the bumblebee! Excellent! The snow bank was beautiful :) Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip!

    Waggin at ya,

  19. The pics look so refreshing. We're into our hazy, hot, humid days of summer here.

  20. The story of the marmot was great. We love when Mother Nature likes to just play.

    The labraduo look great in their caps.

  21. Naughty little marmot, to scare you like that. They look like groundhogs. I'll have to see if they're related. My guess would be yes.

    It's been so hot here that the snow actually looks inviting. It wouldn't in February, however. Boy, it looks like you had a wonderful, relaxing camping trip. You certainly had the scenery.

  22. Those marmots are characters! I recall being charmed by them when we were out there. The last time I was in Colorado, it was July and we ran into snow at the tops of the trails, too. Of course, I also came back down the mountain wretchedly sunburnt, despite coating myself in sunblock.

    It's good to see K enjoying herself out there! I know recovering from those infections is really tough.

    P.S. I totally agree with you about horses on the trail! Fortunately, in that park at least, they're only allowed on certain trails.

  23. You were in one of my favorite parts of the world! Your marmot tail really cracked me up, but the doggie caps is what busted the gut!

    We were supposed to be in the vicinity a couple of weeks ago and didn't get to go. Thank you for filling me in on what we missed!


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