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Monday, August 25, 2014

Our Big Adventure

Life is, again, seeming to return to normal. We've had a whirlwind August, filled with lots of fun and adventures. I'm tired, in a pleasant sort of way - from doing the things that we love so much.

We spent the vast majority of August living in our LabMobile, a modified high-clearance and 4wd camping van (commonly known as a SportsMobile).

We spent a number of days in the San Juan mountains, high in alpine territory. Shyla and I had our biggest adventure together so far. We took a long mountain bike ride to an alpine pass. Although Shyla visited this area with us last summer, she wasn't strong enough for such a physically demanding ride yet. Moreover, last summer, she didn't have the training for me to feel certain that I could count on her to stay by my side for such a long ride, no matter what we might encounter.

This year, with a tiny bit of trepidation, we undertook the ride together. The first mile was on a rarely used 4wd road. You can see that the sky was blue, and Shyla was bursting with energy.
I took almost no photos on our way to the Pass, partly because I wanted to beat any brewing thunderstorms to the treeless world near the Pass. Physically, it seemed to be an easy run for Shyla.

Here she was, as she arrived at the top.
On our way to the Pass, we had passed a woman backpacking with llamas. I called out to her from behind so she'd know that we were there, and I watched Shyla's reaction to llamas. I know that Shyla is great with horses... but I didn't know if that training would extend to llamas. It turned out that Shyla was afraid of llamas and kept a pretty big distance from them. I liked that - no llamas were spooked!

After we reached the Pass, we could see the Llama Lady climbing up behind us. The llamas were carrying all her gear for about 10 days out in the wilderness.
For sentimental reasons, it was heartwarming to see Shyla stand atop that Pass. The reason is that K and I did this ride together several times in her life. Indeed, I suspect that K stood exactly where Shyla was in this photo.
It felt like Shyla also knew that this was an important moment. She stood tall, head above the mountains.
The wind picked up while we lingered on the Pass, enjoying a rare alpine day when the sun was strong enough that we weren't cold in the wind.
Alas, we couldn't linger too long. Clouds were building all across the horizon. We needed to start making steady progress back to camp just in case a thunderstorm developed.
The meadows below the Pass were crowded with bright wildflowers so I had to stop for one photo.
We followed a breathtakingly beautiful trail back to camp.
When we returned to camp, it felt as if Shyla and I had achieved a big milestone. I sometimes feel as if my bonds with my dogs are built through our shared adventures. That evening, Shyla's eyes seemed more mature and softer to me than I'd ever seen them.
I feel as if Shyla is reaching that "sweet spot" in a Lab's life when they are physically so strong and their training is getting good enough for big adventures. I'll admit that Shyla has had her share of "teenage" moments this summer - but she was wonderful on our big ride together that day.

After K's death at a relatively young age, I find myself hoping with all my heart that Shyla and I get to climb many more mountains together, like these ones that we gazed at as the sun set that evening.


  1. I hope you climb a lot of mountains together, too! :) I absolutely LOVE this post today for more reasons than I can put into words. And that picture of Shyla on top of the pass is stunning!

  2. just reading about your day was so very relaxing! WOW, hiking with llamas,

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us KB!! And were so glad Shyla got to stand in the same place where K stood,,,,
    K would want it that way!

  4. Those colors and views are unreal. Stunning and breathtaking.

  5. Shyla reminds us of K a lot. The intensity in her eyes. That llama lady is very brave
    Lily & Edward

  6. What a special moment at the top of the Pass for you and Shyla (and K). We too hope you both have many more mountains to climb together and some very smooth paths along the way.

  7. " Climb every mountain" are the words that come to mind as I read your words, what a great time, Shyla is indeed a mountain girl, and packing in with llamas, that is a whole new kind of camping. Beautiful scenes, as always in those altitudes. Cheers,Jean.

  8. Shyla is so pretty! That sounds like such a wonderful trip! I also think the lady with the llamas is awesome! :D

  9. Definitely a top ten favorite post for us, you just seem to find all the right words!

  10. Just a beautiful adventure! We're sure that K is smiling down on the two of you together ♥

  11. What gorgeous photos!
    I was interested to hear about your LabMobile. We debated for a long time before deciding to buy a standard minivan vs. sportsmobile/RV for the adventures we hope to have when Ted retires in a year and a half. We will fold down all the seats and have room for Toby and all our camping gear, as well as the ability to stay in pet friendly hotels for some areas. But it was a tough decision and if we find we really are making it worthwhile we will look again at more of an RV-type vehicle.


  12. Wow, spectacular scenery!!!!! Heaven on earth.


  13. Amazing photos! I would so love to camp in mountains like that.

  14. Here's a weird question for you.....I know you are very careful about your dogs' weight. And obviously your dogs get more highly vigorous exercise than probably any dogs I know of. How much do they need to eat in a day? Corgis being the good keepers that they are, need next to nothing, which is very sad for them. Even though I feel mine get good exercise, it is not nearly what your dogs get, so I have to keep a close eye on input :-)

  15. Do you ever wonder what she is thinking when she stands on top of those mountains?

    Monty and Harlow

  16. Beautiful! Mom said the photos made her want to run the trail (and she is a road runner NOT a trail runner so that says a lot!).

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley
    Mayorz For All Paws
    "Use Your Noodle & Vote For A Doodle!"

  17. Looks like a great trip and big milestone. Hoping you two have many more adventures!


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