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Monday, June 18, 2012

Astounding K and Bear Questions

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...


  1. Know wonder you love watching all your bears. They are fascinating! I love all the names you have for them too. Milton definitely sounds like the man of the mountain! It still amazes me when I see K. She looks so happy and vibrant! You must be just cherishing every moment. :)

  2. Thanks for all the bear info! And I know there's nothing I can say to make you feel better, but hugs

  3. I LOVE the bear info and photos. You will never bore us with the trail cameras.

  4. So fun to learn so much about bears.

    And so wonderful to know that K and KB had another good day together:)

  5. This is probably one of my favorite posts and I have learned so much about bears. Your love for the bears is much like my love for the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Wish we lived closer as I would love to explore the mountains and experience your wonderful adventures along side you and Special K.
    I love that first shot of K....she is in her element, yes, Romping in the Rockies!

  6. That picture makes my heart melt, too. K has such an amazing and wondrous spirit!

  7. We love our bears here as well!

    SO, keep the bear info KHOMING!

    Yes, once again, I am smiling as I type this comment!

  8. Your local bears are lovely and impressive animals. We get the occasional bear wandering near or in town but it's fairly infrequent, they seem to want to stay away from too many people. This is fine by me; if I'm in their territory that's one thing, but if they are in mine, it makes me a bit nervous! (And yes the argument could be made that the entire town is in their territory. It's small. But you know what I mean.)

    From my experiences with local canine friends, I believe mountains are the optimal environment for labs. We get seasons, there's rivers and streams to get wet and muddy in, there's so many interesting things to smell and sometimes chase and so many nice trails to hike. It's no wonder K looks so happy. :)

  9. K looks like she's loving every minute of today! :)

    Your bears are really fascinating, and it helps that you know all of them distinctly. Do you think the female bears might wander into either Milton or Cinnamon Bear's territories purposefully, then?

  10. Your photos continue to amaze and delight. Thank you and love to you and the dogs.

    Wyatt's mom

  11. Kis teaching us a lesson to enjoy every day, every moment,,,
    Benny & Lily

  12. Ann..from ...THE OUTER BANKS OF NC...said ...I was very enthused with the information about the bears...don't mind a-bit..I love hearing ...all of it..where my parents live in NC... there are.. bears and deer..and I usually see one or the other some-where along the way.. when I visit... Always take a moment...and..Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything so beautiful..for beauty is God's handwriting...(Ralph Emerson)Sure would love to see more fun picture of you and K and R together.I bet everyone here agrees..Hugs

  13. Good bear info today, I was interested in Patches and what was causing her side blanks. Seems like if her Mom has them there is a possibility of some infection. The photo you showed of her side today let us see a shiney black bear with a rough fuzzy looking patch. Makes me wonder is all.

    Cheers to you and our girl!

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  14. I'm not certain about anyone else that reads your blog, but I think most of us don't feel that we are "putting up with" your love of the bears. I find all these photos, videos and information totally fascinating. Here's to more time with your K.


  15. Neither you nor your girl would choose to spend time locked in amber even though you know what's ultimately in store. It is the joy and gulp of the moment and launching yourself into the unknown day that makes everything worthwhile. The photo is a face of living life fiercely...and yes, it makes us melt, too.

  16. We just love all this bear stuff!
    And of course we know what you feel in your heart as you watch K live each day to the fullest.
    It warms our heart too.

  17. I wish K's spirit would spread all over the world. Thank you for all of the bear stories, I love learning about them.

    Anne and Sasha

  18. You are very knowledgeable about your bears. "Put up" did you say? This is the most fascinating blog I have ever read! I think you are an inspiration. You appreciate all the beauty around you and share with us. I wish I could touch K, feel her warmth, stroke her fur... and give you a big hug.

  19. K looks really great! Very interesting reading about the bears you have around you. Nice pictures too

  20. I wonder if the rubbing behavior is related to dogs shoulder rubbing. All three of my boys shoulder rub/rubbed on furniture or the floor, generally after they have been out somewhere (other than the yard) and frantically after they have been at the groomer. :)

  21. You have us loving bears more than we used to!
    You are such a treasure, K!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  22. It is such a joy to watch the bears, even via the internet, and get to know a little about them.

    Mango Momma

  23. No need to apologize for the bear photos. They are great. K sure looks all spunky and puppy like. KBrear really fits her.

  24. Dear KB, Such great lessons that your K is teaching you. But I think you approach life with that same spirit-no matter how difficult the task, you both embrace life fully. Thank you for that! Please give K a great big "bear hug" from Hunter and me. I too love the last photo!
    Makes me hope that when my time comes, I will embrace the season as graciously.
    Loved the lessons on the bears.
    Joy to you today.
    Noreen & Hunter

  25. I like our bears too. Check out this link for a silly bear story...

    For the record, I thought of K this morning when I really didn't want to get up and run.

    Mamma Heartbeat

  26. Hi KB, we love all your photos and info about your bears. Keep them coming. Life rolls on doesn't it but take every day and make it worthwhile. It's what K wants. Hugs to you all. Always thinking of you. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  27. beautiful photo!!

  28. You melted me with that last photo, too.

    I love your love of bears. And cats. And dogs. And sunsets. and your camera. It's what makes your blog so special!


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