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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Close to Heaven

Yesterday dawned perfectly sunny and warm. I felt pretty good (all things considered) so it seemed like a day to seize with an alpine hike. Long time readers know that hiking is painful for me, due to my spinal fusions. However, there some places that I can only visit by hiking so I bite the bullet and go for it a few times a year!

One of the most remarkable things about our alpine hike was to realize how much Shyla has changed since last summer. She was overjoyed when we arrived at the trailhead. She knew that it was a special day!
We saw only a few people because it was a weekday and we timed our hike to avoid all the mid-morning hikers. However, Shyla was not afraid of any of the hikers who we did see!

Our hike involved a narrow trail, and her fear of strangers passing us on the trail has been an issue in the past. Yesterday, she just kept hiking past all sorts of people including those with trekking poles, people with beards, and loud-talking people. Indeed, when one pair of hikers asked to meet Shyla, she responded enthusiastically (and I almost fell over with surprise). Wow - what a difference a year makes!
We hiked up to a ridge and then to a lake. Shyla was on-leash all the time, except when I was taking her photo. She's very reliable about "staying" on command, especially if I give her spot to target, like a boulder.

Last year, at the end of one of our "photo stops" on this trail, I noticed that a Ranger had quietly walked up behind me. I spotted her as I was re-clipping Shyla's leash so we could hike onward. I said to the ranger: "I guess we're busted" (there's a leash rule in Wilderness areas). The nice Ranger laughed and said that unclipping the leash from a well-behaved dog for a photo was not a violation. Phew! So, I no longer worry about our "photo stops", as long as no other hikers are around.

Yesterday, some flowers were starting to bloom even though the snow had just melted. The purple flowers are "Sky Pilots" by Shyla's feet (I hope to show some closeups of them in a future post). The ridge that we were heading for is in the middle of the photo.
When we made it up to the ridge, the wind was howling! I was very glad that I'd carried a down sweater with me so we could linger without me freezing.
Shyla's ears flapped in the wind.

As we gazed at the mountains around us, I thought of all the dogs who have hiked up to this ridge with me and the Runner over the years. Shyla is the most recent in a long and well-loved lineage.
I felt grateful beyond words as we sat there together. Shyla and I have built a bond that I never thought I'd have again after K died. I've truly learned the important lesson that it's always worth risking my heart again... even though it makes me vulnerable to heartbreak again.

The high alpine world felt a bit like heaven, especially with the memories of K and our other departed dogs dancing through my head. The carpet of yellow wildflowers was divine.
I'll continue the story on Thursday (after Wordless Wednesday). We still had a lot more fun ahead of us as we explored the ridge and a lake!


  1. When we risk some of the most beautiful things in life can happen.

  2. Shylas fear seems to be going away.

    The last photo in the golden flowers
    is beautiful.

    Happy Crazy Love.

    xo Cinnamon

  3. What gorgeous pictures...I sure do miss the mountains. I chuckled at the ranger story :) So glad that you guys are not being illegal ;)
    Thanks for sharing the pics and congrats on Shyla's progress! She is a wonderful girl :)

  4. I am so jealous! It looks idyllic. We have a perfect hiking day tomorrow, but a lot of things need to be done here at the house to get ready for our guests on Thursday night... We'll see if duty or spontaneity wins!

  5. so glad she's becoming more sure of herself - with you. :)

  6. She looks so grown up! What a beautiful view.

  7. Such a beautiful hike, and we can see that Shyla is enjoying the beauty too!

  8. That sky is simply breathtaking.

  9. A really interesting post. I'm glad the Ranger understood that it's worth the risk for you to have your well-behaved dogs off-leash for a moment so you can enjoy and capture the moment. Shyla sure is beautiful.
    And what a beautiful journey. I think in almost every comment I thank you, KB, for sharing with us. And yet I say it again and again because I feel like you share so much and we learn so much from you.

  10. Confidence! So rewarding :)

  11. Beautiful surroundings full of beautiful memories! and dad let me off leash too, but only when there are no other peoples around. But only cause I know STOP, SIT and STAY. :)

  12. It was I was scrolling down and reading, where you said you ran into other hikers...It made me want to ask if you ever run into hikers that complain about Shyla being loose....and then in the next little section you explained how it works! You read my mind a day early. LOL! Glad the ranger was open-minded about picture taking!

  13. Beautiful photos. Glad the Ranger was a level-headed sort. We too have been "busted" like that with no concerns.

  14. So very beautiful, both the writing and the photos!

  15. Oh Shyla, you are one confident gurl now, huh?! Way to go!
    I loves your ears flappin', with the hight temps, that sounds just like heaven to me!
    Oh, and Ma is went, 'Wow' to that last pic! Beautifuls.
    Ruby ♥

  16. That sure looks like one amazing day!

  17. Beautiful country. I hope we can see some of that when we are in that part of the world in August.

  18. It is great that the ranger was able to use some common sense and allowed a well behaved dog to be off leash for a short period of time.

    so proud of Shyla for dealing with the hikers so well!

  19. Wow, what amazing pictures! They really capture nature's beauty and fit perfectly in your blog. I have a strong love for the outdoors so I really enjoyed reading your post and looking through your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Lovely Pictures of the nature with Shyla. You are so lucky to live there

  21. Hi Y'all!

    Beautiful photos. Especially love the last one.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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