Now, I want to tell you about our hike up high. These hikes mean more to me than you probably think. I've hiked these trails for many years with multiple generations of dogs. I've hiked these trails after major spine surgeries, only making it partway to the top before the pain stopped me. I've hiked these trails in sun, snow, rain, and thunder. But, most of all, I love the wonder of taking each new canine friend to my favorite places on Earth.
Hiking is actually very tough on my spine. I do it because my feet can take me places where bikes are not allowed. The highest alpine zone in our area is mostly too rough for bikes and also illegal for bikes. So, I hike, and I ignore the pain. It isn't too hard to ignore it when I am immersed in our amazing mountains. It is harder to ignore the aftermath pain, but visiting the high mountains is still worth it.
This was our route, after we busted through treeline and hit the alpine zone where no trees can grow. The air was almost still where we were hiking when I took this photo but the clouds told me that it would be windy at the top!
It didn't take long to climb to the Divide from this spot, and we did find some wind but it wasn't too intense. Shyla looked ready to fly by flapping her ears!
Last year, I'm sure that this environment completely blew her mind after her sheltered upbringing and sudden move to our family. This year, she was still fascinated but quite comfortable with the mountains and the trails.
The reason why this is my favorite hike to do with my dog friends is that, after we enjoy the views from the Divide, we can visit an alpine lake by hiking just a bit further. Look how the clouds over the ridge have a rainbow tint to them. I felt K with us here - K and I had many fun afternoons at this lake.
This year was completely different. My shy and retiring dog broke her "stand stay" to sprint into the lake! Due to Shyla's sensitivity, I actually secretly revel in those moments when she blows off my commands. Of course, I work on fixing the problem later - but I love seeing her be confident and assertive!
And, she was off into the water after an unauthorized break from her stand-stay!
She had a blast retrieving a stick repeatedly. I actually had to call an end to the fun and games because she was shivering. This lake is fed by melting snow so it's very cold!
Then, in a long-term tradition, I tried to get our photo together. My remote shutter trigger wasn't working very well (batteries low) so it's not the best photo but hey, I love any photo with me and Shyla together.