K continues to astound me. Despite her dire health situation, she still rises to the occasion most mornings to have lots of fun.
Last week, I believed that we were within a week or two of the end. Now look at her!
I am treasuring these days with her. If I could grab onto time and hold it in place, I would. Alas, that's not within my power. And, K isn't wishing for such silly things. She's loving every day of her life. Her spirit has taught me so much about life and living every single day with all the joy that we can muster.
Today, after I hiked with K, I went to check some wildlife cameras during a bike ride. I learned that "Cinnamon Bear" is fine, and Milton didn't scare him away
from our territory. He's still marking trees and searching for mates.
These photos of Cinnamon Bear are from a new camera site. I noticed this tree because the bears have left deep imprints where they stomp their paws as they mark this tree. First, Cinnamon Bear sniffed it.
And, then he marked it! He wasn't hurt by Milton during the chase the other day, that's for sure.
When using trail cameras, I always have to strike a balance between getting close-up photos versus keeping my camera well-hidden from thieves. My cameras are locked but one thief cut my locks a few years ago. So, the photos of this tree are from pretty far away to keep the camera hidden.
You asked some great questions about the "Dancing with Bears
" post from the other day. First, K wears a bell on her collar to forewarn wildlife that we're approaching. We bought the bell years ago after K (as a young pup) chased a bear out of the woods and right toward us. The bell has the nice side benefit that I always know where she is when she's off-leash. That's especially good for me, with my fusions in my spine, because I can't twist to look for her very easily.
Second, yes, all of these bears are called "Black Bears". It is a silly name for the species because they can be cinnamon or jet black... but they're all the same species.
Third, yearling bears (like the little girl we've been observing with patches on her sides - I believe that she was one of the cubs we saw last year
) sometimes breed. This year, I believe that "Patches" bred with "Milton" because they walked together on the bear path a couple of times within a few days. That's a hard combination to imagine because Milton is many times bigger than Patches! Here's a photo of little Patches from earlier this year. Her patches are not as obvious as in the video from the other day.
Two-year old bears always breed if they're in good health. I believe that "Socks" is a 2-year old female because I captured footage
of her being chased away from her mother by a suitor last spring. Last year, Socks acted like she was scared near the bear trees. This year, she's not scared anymore, and I caught photos of her consorting with Milton too! Milton will have a lot of cubs running around here next year. A photo of "Socks" is below (her legs are black while her body is brown. Hence the name "Socks").
Fourth, I believe that the patches on the sides of the yearling, Patches, are places where she scraped against a rock or tree, perhaps as she crawled through a tight space. Her mom had a similar patch last year.
Fifth, Nancy K pointed out that Milton is the only one who actually marked the tree that was shown in my "Dancing with Bears" video. I hadn't realized that fact until I went back through all my footage since I installed that camera in mid-April. It's true! Perhaps, Milton's overwhelming scent scares off all the other males. Milton is undoubtedly the ursine king of our territory.
Thanks to all of you for "putting up with" my love of bears! One of K's nicknames is "KBear"!
This photo of her makes me melt. If only I could stop time from marching forward...