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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Canyon to Remember

Our first Utah campsite was at the mouth of a canyon at the eastern edge of the San Rafael Swell. We arrived as the sun was setting and the moon was already high in the sky. Our LabMobile camping van is in the lower right of the photo.
The moon looked particularly gorgeous above the red cliffs that loomed over our campsite.
After arriving, we took a sunset hike on a vast expanse of slick rock with the canyon far below us. The sandstone surface made for easy hiking and the the rock formations lining the sides of the slick rock glowed in the setting sun.
I looked at the deep red rock in the photo above more closely. It was a work of art with colorful lichens flourishing on its rusty surface.
After our hike, the sun rapidly set, and I had a brief moment to take a photo of the stars rotating around the North Star before the moon shined too brightly on the northern sky.
The next morning after a long sleep, Shyla and I headed out for a mountain bike ride to explore the canyon. It was deserted - we had the entire beautiful place to ourselves (except for the two R's who were running up on the slick rock). That's what I love about the West - if you leave the beaten path, there are still places that offer complete solitude.
I looked straight up after we entered the depths of the canyon. The wall to the right holds a gallery of pictographs, drawn thousands of years ago. The artists chose a glorious place to display their talent.
Shyla and I had an incredible ride, through the cool shade of the canyon and then up into the sunlight at the top. It seemed ironic to see her panting after porpoising through the snow at home so recently.
She was fascinated with the sights and scents, striking dramatic poses as she surveyed the novel world.
As we descended back into the canyon during our return to camp, Shyla explored a low wall made of red honeycomb-like sandstone.
Shyla decided that it was the perfect place to bow down in thanks for the beauty of our world. The desert always reminds me that we are small specks within the endless universe.
We had a wonderful time in that canyon. However, like several places that we visited on this trip, it reminded me of K. Last spring, knowing that her time was running short, we visited this canyon with her. Seeing the canyon again brought back intense memories of K and moments of deep sorrow. It was so bittersweet being in such a glorious place with her and knowing that it was the last time that she'd be there. And, as I foresaw last year, K was not with us on our return to this canyon, except in spirit.

The juxtaposition of rejoicing in the bond that I'm building with Shyla while I'm still grieving for K overwhelms me sometimes. My heart tells me that I'll probably never stop grieving for K - my bond with her was like no other. However, Shyla's sweet sensitivity and loving spirit are helping me more than I ever thought was possible.
Life marches on but the pawprints of angels remain in my heart.


  1. Yep. I know what you mean. I do love Shyla bowing to the beauty of the universe!

  2. What a gorgeous place! I would absolutely love to let Nola romp and pose there, though she'd probably blend into the rocks with her rich red/brown fur!

    I'm so glad Shyla is helping you. You're forming an incredible bond, even if it is different than the one you shared with K.

    Nola's Mom

  3. What a moving post. I loved all the photographs. I'm sure such places fill you with mixed emotions but I'm equally sure you come away filled with joy.

  4. Dear KB
    The photos that your camera captured are incredible. The colors are amazing and we could feel the solitude. Like hand carved canyons right before your eyes.
    And the photos of Shyla are just beautiful. She looks like she is in awe of the beauty too.
    Your heart will develope a scar to cover the ache that you are feeling in not having Angel K with you-.
    The scar will allow you to continue on with the legacy of K.
    We understand what you are saying and feeling.
    Thank you for sharing your heart with us.
    We cradle it gently.

  5. *tears*

    Oh KB, I love your writings...your pictures...your thoughts. Thank you for sharing all three. I hope by sharing your grief, you feel the dividing of it as well. We all will carry a portion of it for you.

    Whenever I see pictures of Shyla, all I can think of is... "You are such a lucky dog, sweetheart!"

    Take care--Andrea

  6. Shyla bowing and being thankful just made me and MOM smile. But my favorite photo is her looking over her shoulder. She just wants to take in every single moment.

  7. OK, you really got My Vickie with the "Pawprints of angels" part.

    Wonderful Post and we love seeing adn hearing your thoughts.

    My Vickie wants you to give R a big hug for her and tell her we love our April photograph.

    Bert and My Vickie

  8. Shyla looks so adorable in her last photo, the PlayBow. All of the photos are just wonderful and if I thought I could see a starry sky in the night, every night, I would move there!

    Cheers and hugs,

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  9. Beautiful photos, such stunning colours in the rocks, and Shyla seems to fit into that scenery so well. As your grief is still shared with us all, your portion will always be there, but as we share, too, may it be divided and lessened. K would be there with you, knowing your true feelings and emotions, watching over you,Shyla, Runner and R.Fond greetings, Jean.

  10. We wouldn't mind camping there! Love the 8th picture
    Benny & Lily

  11. As usual your photos are amazing and full of wonder but your words are what tells the story this time. Thanks for being so genuine and honest and sharing the rawness and the hope.

  12. Mom knows EXACTLY what you mean, KB.
    Gorgeous photos!

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  13. Simply beautiful, especially that last sentence.

  14. Beautiful photos! I understand the sentiments--my heart is crisscrossed with the paw prints of angels.

    Susan and Wrigs

  15. Beautiful Place that Canyon, Amazing colours...

  16. Simply beautiful!! Our hearts rejoyce knowing that Shyla was with you on this journey. ♥

    Lily Belle & Muffin

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  18. A beautiful post KB - words and photos. You show what I so love about the West: vast unspoiled wilderness and natural beauty all around as a gift.

  19. Wow! I love the vastness of these images. Just as amazing are the bonds that can be formed between animals and humans that you express so well with your photos and words.

  20. Deeply thought provoking and memories of beautiful K, are important and our joy at seeing K throughout posts - allows us the opportunity to share and treasure with you.

    May you continue to enhance our minds with more delightful photo's and stories.

    Every good wishes

    Peter & Kirra

  21. "pawprints of an angel"... what a beautiful way of memorializing K. I miss her sometimes even just in looking at pictures of Shyla; that's the bond you've built between your labs and me!


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