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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Peaceful Winter Day

This week has marked an abrupt change in our world. I took this photo on Monday morning, seeing the clouds gathering to the west that would change our world.
I knew that true winter would be here after those clouds arrived so I rode for a long time that day. A little later in the morning, Shyla and I glimpsed the Divide again. The storm was almost upon us. Indeed, I was out on the trails, just finishing my ride, when the snow and cold arrived.
By Tuesday morning, it was well below zero and our world was snow-covered. We've barely glimpsed the Divide since then, as one storm after another has hit us. Here is Shyla on the same trail as in the first photo but two days later.
We mountain bikers have a term called "shut down", meaning that many of the trails that we love will be completely impassable after winter storms start pummeling them. Without multiple people using them, the snow never gets packed down enough for a snow bike to negotiate them.

Every year, I struggle with a touch of depression after "shut down" because my world becomes smaller. I can ride my snow bike only on certain trails that get enough foot/bike traffic for the snow to become packed down. 

For some reason, today, that hint of depression was completely gone. It was frigid outside, and the temperature dropped throughout the day. A light snow fell almost continuously. And I felt utterly peaceful. The trail systems were deserted, and I was smiling happily as I pedaled through the accumulating snow. I felt like I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.

That steady snow had perfect flakes in it that showed up beautifully against Shyla's fur.
During my ride with Shyla, we played a lot.
No doubt - Shyla loves snow. It makes her zoom even faster than usual (turbo-powered by the tongue sticking out).
I adore how she keeps her eyes on me, even as she's negotiating tough terrain.
After my fun ride with Shyla, I decided to do a bit more, starting to establish my winter routes. If I consistently ride certain fairly remote routes, then I can usually keep them packed down well enough for my snowbike, at least until we get a really huge dump of snow all at once.

It was hard work but my happy and peaceful mood continued. I pedaled through the silent crystalline world to the sound of my own breathing and the crunching of the snow under my tires. Time seemed to stand still.

As I pedaled, I saw really big elk tracks, and I marveled at the ability of elk to live in our climate and find food even in the winter. I thought of this huge bull elk who has lived in our neck of the woods all year long. I haven't shown photos of him for his own safety, but it seems okay now because tomorrow is the end of the hunting seasons on public land.
I hope that he stayed in the well-hidden places far away from roads where I usually get photos of him. I'd love to have him living among us for another year.
Thanks to all of you for your kind comments yesterday. That particular migraine is gone. I'm hoping that my doctors can figure out how stop these crazy trains of migraines like the one I'm in these days.


  1. What wonderful photos of this great day!! I have a chocolate lab mix girl...she looks just like a lab, only smaller. And we have discovered she LOVES the snow! I hope we get some this year. Living in the south, we don't always.

    Love the post!!!

  2. The photos really do show the change in weather! And it looks so cold.
    Oh we certainly see Shyla loves the snow and playing,, and her red toy!
    Were glad you were able to go out and enjoy some of your world..
    We understand what it means when shutdown happens. And hope your head stays better.

  3. beautiful elk and beautiful shyla, too. :)

  4. Your joyful day makes me almost think I could like the cold and the snow too:) Our snow fizzled again - barely a few flakes, not even a dusting! Wishing those doctors could be successful too.

  5. Beautiful photos. I love the last photo it really shows just how large the elk's antlers are. I will never understand why some people kill for sport.

    Aroo to you,

  6. As always, beautiful. We are expecting our first snow tonight, and I am excited.

  7. Elk always amaze me...great shots of Snowy Shyla too!

  8. yesterday, then today, what a difference, and Shyla, darling girl, you shine in the snow. I, too, hope the huge Elk stays safe for another season. Keep warm, Jean.

  9. Winter has it's ups and downs but Shyla is always so very pretty!

  10. I'm glad you are feeling better. I'm sure being out in your mountains with Shyla doing what you love certainly helps. Beautiful photos as always. Love the snowflakes.

  11. We got hammered by the snow and cold too. That elk is awesome looking, very handsome.

  12. We got hammered by the snow and cold too. That elk is awesome looking, very handsome.

  13. Love the snowflakes in the close-up of Shyla's eye! Your photos are always such beauties, KB!

  14. Brrrr indeed. Love the snowflakes on fur shot!

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  15. The close up of Shyla's eye is beautiful. Love the flakes and you in her eye.

  16. wow! I love love love the picture of Shyla with the snowflakes. Absolutely beautiful!

    wags, wiggles & slobbers


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