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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stormy skies and a wildlife mystery

As K and I started our mountain bike ride together this morning, I spotted a beautiful reddish aspen leaf leaning out over the trail.
K has always taken it upon herself to "cover my back" when I am focused on photography. She laid down next to my bike, watching over the me and the forest around me.
Yes, she's wearing a muzzle. I tend to take it off for photos since she claims that it ruins her beauty. We have to muzzle her because she has a mushroom addiction.
When K was a couple of years old, she almost died from eating poisonous mushrooms during a trip to western Colorado. We've tried a million methods to train her not to eat mushrooms but they haven't worked. So, we muzzle her when she's off leash in late summer and autumn. We bought her a new, better-fitting, muzzle this year, and she dislikes it less than her old muzzle. And, please notice Stella, that it is black. Last year, Stella insisted that K would be happier with a black muzzle than with her old blue one.

Unfortunately, K taught R about mushrooms, and he's even more obsessed with them than she is. So, R wears a muzzle too.

The funny part (from my viewpoint) is that the muzzles make strangers afraid of our incredibly friendly dogs. Today, I encountered a person who had just sneaked across our land, and K scared her. I giggled inside my head (but not out loud, I hope)!

K insisted that I include one photo without the muzzle from today's ride. It's in our favorite spot, and you can see that a wall of clouds poured off the Divide behind K. With it, a winter wind blew toward us but not as fiercely as in mid-winter.
The stormy skies and wind accompanied me for my solo ride. When my spine is giving me pain and all sorts of odd symptoms like numb toes, I give thanks that bike riding helps me so much. I honestly don't know how I'd get through these rough patches without it.
I feel so lucky to have trails and mountains and wildlife all around me.

Near the end of my ride, I did an extra loop to check a wildlife camera. This photo was taken by my trail camera mounted about 5'5" off the ground on a Lodgepole Pine tree. What do you think is going on?


  1. Hi Y'all,

    A black he just moving fast or is that a glimpse of teeth I see?

    K, you look very pretty in your muzzle.

    Unfortunately, I think you might be givin' my Human ideas. She has to watch me like a hawk when I'm outside with her. With all my allergies I still can't resist all the fruit we have fallin' from the trees.

    Is that one of the new rubber muzzles?

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    P.S. the cold reached here yesterday. Temps plumeted into the 50's here at the shore last night.

  2. Thats a bear, smiling at you! Maybe looking for some eats? Did you get scared?

    I would have!

    Thanks for the muzzle improvement and giving me credit for it. I love it!

  3. Those muzzles are quite the piece of "jewelry". Better that than getting the mushroom sickness. When we had 2 Siberians (especially the male - mainly because of his coloring I think) People would ask if they were wolves. To most people I would say no, but there were some who "made me nervous" so i just let them think what they wanted. I don't think either of them had a mean bone in their beautiful bodies.

    Always love your pictures of your rides and K & R. Thanks for sharing and so glad to know biking helps you so much.
    Ernie,Sasha,Chica,Lucas's Mom

  4. I am always paranoid about mushrooms!!!! EEEk!!!

  5. I have to tell you that your past post about the mushrooms have really made me vigilant about making sure our dogs don't get into them either--Thanks for that, because I don't know that I would have thought of it or be obsessed with making sure they don't get into them.

    But I remember from living in Alaska the beautiful Aspen leaves as they changed and feel in the air this time of year that tells you winter is coming.

  6. OK, so I think it is a male bear and that he is either scratching his back or marking his territory.

    What say ye?

    My Vickie was treed by a bear a few years ago. She had to spend the night in the tree. She was worried cause it was a lodgepole and he tried to knock it down. Thank goodness it was a strong one. (the tree, not the bear)

    So let us know what he was doing.

    We are so glad you have the mountain to take your mind off the pain in your back


  7. Although we would like to think that bear is smiling for the camera, we think he is marking the tree. Hope he doesn't dislodge the camera:)

    Beautiful aspen leaf - such gorgeous detail you captured.

    When we put Gentle Leaders on the pups here, we get asked if they are wearing muzzles - everyone thinks they are wolves. We can't imagine the reaction if they really did wear muzzles.

    Hope the back pain is doing better.

  8. We are lucky too cuz you share your trails, mountains and wildlife wif all of us. :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  9. I hope your camera isn't mounted on a whammy tree! That could make for some really...interesting photos!

    Just a word of caution on the muzzles, a really determined dog can eat things through them. There's a small white cup you can get for them that snaps on the outside or inside depending on which size you have, that will keep them from being able to get stuff through the muzzle bars. And, if you need a good giggle and would really like to have a good laugh at the expense of people who come across your muzzled dogs, I offer you this.

  10. Yucky mushrooms!! They are pretty but not good to our tummies. K, please don't eat any!


  11. Gee
    That must be the biggest most beautiful mushroom we ever did see!
    I think the big bear is scratching his back and groaning!
    We are feeling autumn coming,,and I feel it by looking at your gorgeous photos.

  12. We use a head-halter on our big dogs sometimes..people are terrified by them! I glued tiny flowers to our Akita's halter..made a world of difference on how people *saw* her. Funny!

    Amazing photos, as always...except the bear. That is more OMG than amazing. ;)

  13. I've always worried about mushrooms, even though AFAIK I haven't had any dogs that wanted to eat them. But it doesn't take much to cause a problem, right?

  14. As always, a wonderful excursion in the Rockies! That K is a doll! XO

  15. I'm not even sure what I'm seeing in that last photo...

    I understand about K and R looking scary in their muzzles, but I am so glad that you use them. Mushroom eating. Very bad and life threatening habit.

    Mango Momma

  16. Interesting that the dogs have a mushroom addiction. Too bad you couldn't break them of it.

  17. Oh my word, you need to tell mom to cook and stuff the mushrooms first
    Benny & Lily

  18. Even though mushrooms can be deadly, that sure is a beautiful photo of one!

    I'm glad both of us have biking to help our backs and refresh our souls!

  19. Poor K - but better safe than sorry. I have two friends who almost lost their dogs this summer.


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