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Monday, January 14, 2013

Shyla the Dragon

The thermometer read -9°F (-23°C). I lagged behind our normal start time for our morning hike/ride while spent extra time donning many layers of warm clothes. I started out on my snowbike with Shyla next to me - because I knew that I'd be warmer pedaling than hiking. We headed straight up to the sunrise plateau. We were a little late for sunrise but it was still pretty. Near the left border of the photo, birds (tiny black specks) were flying in the frosty air.
When we arrived on that plateau after about 7 minutes outside, Shyla already had a snow beard. And, I noticed that I could see the steam coming out of her nose, almost like she was dragon. The mist in front of her face was from her own breathing.
Her frost beard was impressive.
It was not a good morning to linger taking lots of photos because my fingers were rapidly becoming numb. Very soon, we started the longish climb up to Hug Hill. When we topped out on the granite peak, I was warm, and Shyla kept right on running.
Shyla does very well in the cold, as long as we keep moving. Each winter, we seem to have a few days with temperatures around -20°F. My guess is that she'll need to wear winter boots. However, her thick and luxurious coat will keep her core warm as long as we stay in motion.

When we arrived at home at the end of our ride, I thought that it would be fun to have Shyla wear some of my warm head and neck gear. She's a good sport about photos like this one!
I stopped in at home with the pups to warm up before I headed out for a bit more solo snowbiking. While I was in the house, I realized who was the smartest of us all...
R might have been the smartest... but I still love my winter snowbiking, even if it is a trifle crazy on a day like today. After I read about the Iditarod bike race a few years ago, I realized that, if I wore lots of warm gear, I could be comfortable while riding a bike on trails any day in the winter. It's true - I was warm today despite the frigid air.

After I headed out on my own, I followed the tracks of a galloping canine for a short distance in the fresh layer of snow that had fallen overnight.
Near the end of my ride, I traversed slope that was coated in hoar frost. The beauty and stillness awed me. The world felt like delicate crystal with an incredible blue background. It's worth it to go out into nature even in this cold.
That was near the end of my ride, and my body was still warm except for my slightly chilly toes. When I arrived home, I weighed the clothes that I'd been wearing - all the layers combined weighed 12 pounds! Wow.

As of this evening, the cold snap hadn't broken, and the sky over the Divide showed it.
I love these mountains, no matter how cold they may be.


  1. What a gorgeous day you had in the Rockies. We had a similar, yet warmer (30s F), gorgeous day here in the Finger Lakes!

  2. Bert doesn't seem to get the snow beard but he does have icicles hanging from his belly and down his legs.

    Still, I am not the hearty soul you are. I am more like R, much to Berts chagrin.

    Bert's My Vickie

  3. Woof! Woof! That's really great even though the weather is soooo cold ... but how can you resist its beautiful. LOVE Shyla's snow beard. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  4. Bet Shyla wouldn't mind wearing the head gear on her run, BOL
    Benny & Lily

  5. I love Shyla's snow beard. She sure is having fun on your rides.


  6. Well, I beat you - it was minus 15 when I awoke. However, I didn't go out on my bike (or on my skis) to get magnificent photos. I hibernated instead!

  7. Such a beautifully cold morning for you and Shyla.
    It's good she keeps zooming to stay warm.
    Shyla is so funny in her hats, and I bet they felt good.

  8. Brrr! A beautiful but freezing day for sure! I was in shorts, tank top and bear feet today :D
    Nola's Mom

  9. Wow! That is serious cold! I'm glad you found some ways to enjoy yourselves despite it, but I think I'd tend to be more like R. lol

  10. R has been waiting for the photo shoot all day, lovely lad, and Shyla a perfect model, super sky shots too. Greetings from Jean

  11. Love Shyla's beard. hehhe and how cute she is with your warm winter stuffs. I agree with you about the beautiful world in winter, even if it is cold. It holds a beauty all it's own. It's cold here to, below 0. A place not far from where we live that MOM and I like to go hiking got down to 40 below 0 last night. Not sure if I am up for that kind of cold, but I do look forward to hiking out there in the Spring.

  12. What a great post! right from Shyla's snow beard to her "foreign princess" look. she looks so regal in your garb! Twelve pounds?! Wow! Your mountains are beautiful no matter how cold they may be, it's no wonder you love them! :)

  13. Ann....from....Outer Banks of NC....said.....WOW matter how cold live in a beautiful world......I just love your pictures of Queen Shyla and King R....lovely couple.....our weather has been odd here the last several days... around 70 degrees but next week suppose to change in the 20's and 30's....good compared to your -degrees....stay warm my all your adventures though....sounds like fun......HUGS

  14. We had 5-8 below zero today and it just takes my breath away. Shyla looks gorgeous and R looks smarter than either of you. Different strokes, I guess!

    Wake me when its spring!

    Jo the Bear

  15. Looks like you had a lovely day. :)

  16. Oh my goodness! That's cold. You truly get to take part of something very special that isn't available to the likes of me that just wants to stay inside. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos. I've never seen a frost beard before!

  17. KB, your posts seldom fail to entice a few (good) tears from my eyes... as do your marvelous pictures! What lucky lucky dogs yours are, to have you... and I'm guessing you would say the opposite (what a lucky lucky human you are, to have dogs like you do). Either way, I think it's a win-win all around! :)

    I have tooted the horn of beautiful, crisp, cold winter days for a long time. My view is *nothing* like yours but I still love walking in our woods, as humble as they are, especially after dark. I can hear my boots crunching in the snow & the silence at night, in the winter, is like no silence ever heard before. That is until I hear a branch snap or the familiar deer warning (a type of "kkkksssshhhhhh" sound) that perhaps I'd better leave the outside night life to them.

    Thanks again for posting!! Always enjoy!!


  18. I always read your posts with such delight!! I can tell how very much you love those shines right through in your posts!! Love those glorious blue, BLUE skies!! Those are some intensely cold temperatures...not good for me I'm afraid. With asthma, have to be very careful with breathing in the cold air. Often times I must stay inside. I adore the picture of R...who seemed to be having a wonderful time all snuggled up! And Shyla in your "gear" is so cute!!

  19. Brrrrrrrrrr - we give both of you oodles of credit for being out in those freezing cold temps. You look so cute with your snowbeard, Shyla!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  20. Oh that Shyla, such a silly girl with her frost beard. But doesn't she look wonderful (and warm) with your head gear on. I wonder how she will like wearing snow boots?

    Wow! 12 pounds of clothing. You got some workout.

    Stay warm my furends! R is definately enjoying his time in the sun. Such a great picture.

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  21. I envy the beauty that is the natural world near you. So much more stunning than my area!

    I have tried to get "breath" shots of my guys on a cold day, but (luckily?) we never get cold enough to make it work when you look at the photo later on a bigger screen.

  22. Yup, I think R was the smart one! I'll stay right inside with him where it's cozy and warm.

  23. Uhh very cold you have....we dont have more than -5 C .
    Beautiful pictures, very lovely blue sky, the last one is awssome.
    You have a great life to go out biking like that. Do you meet someone when you are out....

  24. That was quite the frost beard!

    Stop on by for a visit

  25. I love the cold too - the trick is to keep moving! Whenever I visit Colorado in the winter I will use any excuse to go outside in the frigid temps! It's just so darn invigorating!

    Love the snow beard Shyla is sporting!

  26. Howdy KB, wowza Shyla's snow beard is amazing. We can't believe how cold it gets over your way. We think it's amazing (and fairly rare) if we get minus 1C in winter (and that's overnight). Tomorrow we are expecting 41C (105F) so send us a little cool air can you, please? Take care all. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  27. I've heard of bearded collies, but never the bearded lab. I don't care for weather below zero. Another reason to love the NC mountains rather than the Rockies.

  28. -23c.....brrrr. I hate being outside when it's that cold, but it's hard to resist a good time with a sweet pup :)

  29. Your photos always illustrate your love of Colorado and the outdoors. And nothing beats the tranquility of a subzero day! (As long as you have the right kind of clothing and don't have to take off mittens and/or glove to shoot photos!)


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