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Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Celebration of Our Dogs

There is no "upside" to the flood devastation in our area. But, we took advantage of one feature yesterday - the disconnect between town and the mountains. I've mentioned that "we can't get to town from here", at least not easily or in any remotely reasonable drive time.

Well, the opposite is also true. People from town can't get here - and it's even harder for them to make the trip than for us because the best routes are limited to mountain residents only. In fact, the National Guard has checkpoints where every driver must show ID, with a mountain address, to pass through.

Thus, the trails, forests, and mountains are empty of people, one feature that I have to admit is nice.

Yesterday, we did the hike that we called "K's Birthday Hike" over her lifetime, because we love doing it in September. Due to crowds of hikers that are usually visiting from the flats, we normally grit our teeth and power hike through the first mile until we reach the point where we branch away from the crowds. Yesterday, over the entire hike, we saw three people - total.

We had a popular alpine lake all to ourselves!
And then we hiked off-trail in search of "Dog Leap Lake", our favorite destination. As we hiked upward, I thought of all the dogs we've brought to Dog Leap Lake. Including R and Shyla, we've had six Labs in our family who have visited this lake. Sadly, one of our Labs died before we moved to Colorado, so he never leaped into this lake.

Our off-trail navigation was not perfect so we ended up traversing a high alpine slope that looked down over a huge basin of lakes on our way to Dog Leap Lake. It was glorious to be so high in the sky even though some of the hike was precarious.

Eventually, we found Dog Leap Lake. We've never seen another person at Dog Leap Lake.
Due to our navigational diversion onto the high alpine slopes, we didn't arrive at the lake until it had fallen into the shade. Because yesterday was cold, the dogs' swimming time was limited before they started shivering. But they had a blast for their short swimming time!
Shyla was still reticent about competing with R for actual water retrieves. He'd bring the stick toward shore after swimming out to fetch it.
Then, Shyla would meet him to "help" bring the stick the last few yards to shore.
I don't fully understand the dynamics of their relationship when it comes to water retrieving. In all other situations, Shyla is willing to compete and play at full effort with R. I've seen her retrieve from lakes by herself, and she's fast enough to win some of the races in the water. I guess she's still a bit under-confident.

Our annual visit to Dog Leap Lake near K's Birthday is a wonderful family tradition. R is our link to our past generations of dogs, so he understands what's going on as soon as we arrive at the trailhead. He is earnestly intense about the hike and the swimming!
In many ways, playing at Dog Leap Lake is a celebration of all of our dogs and the love that they have brought to our family. That's why we'll keep doing this hike every September for as long as we can.


  1. That's a plus.....having the mountains almost to yourselves.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. Goose has taught me to appreciate a brilliant stick-rescue when I witness it! Well done, R and Shyla!!


  3. What a beautiful place! Wish we had something like that.

  4. WOW oh WOW how MOM and I would love to go to Dog Leap Lake. So beautiful. Know what, when I go get a stick Bert waits for me in the shallow or on shore then grabs the stick and we play tug. I don't know why he does this, he can swim circles around me. What a wonderful tradition your family has. I am sure it will continue for many years to come.

  5. How amazing it must be to live amongst such beauty!

  6. What a fantastic family tradition, and a great way to remember and celebrate those who have gone before! I'm glad you got an extra special trip this year, too. :)

  7. Very Beautiful lake!! I understand why you goe there with the dogs. R does really have great eyes

  8. What a wonderful family tradition! You and Shyla look like you had the time of your lives, R!

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  9. Here's to many, many more September hikes !

  10. I LOVE the water shots. They both look right at home.

  11. How beautiful! I love the water shots as well. They look so happy! :)

  12. What a wonderful hike! Love those alpine lakes. It's amazing that you've never seen another person at Dog Leap Lake. I hope you can carry on this yearly tradition for years to come. The photos of R and Shyla are fabulous.

    Susan and Wrigs

  13. What great water-play photos, KB! Raining here now with snow due in Breckenridge tonight and tomorrow. That may cut our fall short! PS Love the sheen on R's black coat when it's wet.

  14. It looks like all of you had a terrific time. Its great to see the beauty in spite of the devastation.

  15. This is such a beautiful tradition! The golden colors in your pictures make me yearn for fall which is my favorite season anyway. The light is so warm.
    Your dogs are fabulous, it's so heartwarming to see their joy playing and swimming in the water. I love the name you gave that lake!

  16. We would love to leap in that lake with yous! Mom read me an article in the newspaper this morning that said the people in charge of rescue efforts are also rescuing the pets. We are proud of Colorado for making the right decision! The whole family is kept together!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  17. FABulous stick rescue guys!!! Oh, that lake is just amazin'...I would loves to just sit there all day and daydream... that was Ma, I would love to stay there all day and look for critters! That looks like a FABulous place for critters!! Oh, the huntin' I could do....
    So glad you have kept up this tradition, it sure is a good one.
    Ruby ♥

  18. Thanks for sharing your secret lake with us-just stunning. We hope the recovery in your area is speedy...

  19. What a beautiful place and beautiful tribute to those pups who have come before.

  20. so nice that you had these places to enjoy with out the hordes ~

  21. I wonder if Shyla is respecting R to fetch the stick. Or maybe it is part of the game they've designed.

    Dog behavior is so fascinating to observe. :)

  22. That is a beautiful spot and a really celebration. Enjoy the lack of people - we always see it as a better hike when we don't see anyone!

  23. I just love that I can see your reflection in R's handsome eyes - perfection! Looks like they had a great time together :):)


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