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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Desert Peace

After spending our first two days at the mouth of a huge canyon, we moved to a campsite that is on a desert plain above the mouth of another canyon. In the photo, the white dot is our LabMobile. The road ends a little beyond where we camped so we saw almost no one.

I love the wide open nature of this site, especially when the sun is not super high in the sky yet. It prevents the canyon walls from bringing too many hours of shade to the site.

There is amazing mountain biking very close to this campsite but no one knows about it, as far as I can tell. I've never seen another mountain biker there in all the years that we've visited. Shyla and I can go for rides in complete solitude.

The trail snakes along the base of a series of towering rock walls. Eventually (in thousands of years), the trail will be gone because it's slowly eroding away, leaving ledges on its downhill side (the towering walls are to the left of Shyla in the photo below). The ledge in the next photo looks scary but it's only about 3' above the ground.

One day, after I dropped Shyla back at camp, I took a pretty long ride toward an old mining cabin that always fascinates me. It appears that the family who lived there just fled one day, leaving all of their belongings. It intrigues me to imagine living there back when transportation wasn't so easy.

You might remember the tricycle that I found there last year. As a lover of bikes, I spent a lot of time looking at it and photographing it. Imagining the child of the family riding this tricycle on the rocky paths made me smile.
When I found it last year, I thought about "hiding" it at the site so it wouldn't be too obvious for anyone to steal. I decided against it because I thought that others would enjoy seeing it too.

Sadly, someone did steal it sometime in the past year. I don't know why I repeatedly trust that people will be good and then allow myself to be disappointed. At least I have a whole series of fun photos of it. It was a Schwinn - and I wonder how the miners got it there!

After all of us got lots of exercise in the morning, we'd relax in the afternoon, watching the sunset and the stars start to twinkle. Of course, I couldn't resist taking star photos, despite the full moon. The moon was so bright that the cliffs near us looked almost as bright as during the day!
Ah, I miss the peacefulness of our time in the desert.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Wordless Wednesday - Desert Edition

Desert Wind

Running like the Wind

Moonrise behind us, with cliff shadows darkening part of the landscape

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Desert Dawg

We had such a nice time in the desert that I'm having trouble with "re-entry" to normal life. On the day that we left for Utah, it was snowing. Shyla played in the snow before we departed.

Then, we drove west, over the Continental Divide, stopping briefly for a break near the Divide. We saw the moon rise over naked aspen groves during our break.

Then we drove some more toward the west, losing elevation very fast. The world became less snowy and more rocky. We saw the rock glow as the sun was setting, and we ate the most awful Mexican food ever.

At that point, we debated which of our favorite campsites was most likely to be available. We made a choice in eastern Utah, and we were very lucky to find the spot completely deserted!

We slept late the next morning. Eventually, Shyla and I went for a mountain bike ride up a big canyon. On one rock wall, there is an ancient pictograph of a human and a dog. I love this one because the human looks so uptight and needs the joyfulness of the desert dawg to make life more fun and less serious (that's my interpretation!).

You could tell that we had changed climates. It was the first time I'd seen Shyla pant since last fall!

And R was on lizard-watch. Tiny Sceloporus lizards skittered around near our campsite, and R felt the need to defend us all from them. He obsesses over lizards every time we visit the desert! He was on watch in this photo.

After a full day of playing and snoozing, we went for a sunset hike up an expansive section of slickrock above the canyon where I'd ridden with Shyla. Here's the view down into the canyon whose walls display incredible rock art.

Then, as a contrast to our moonrise view in the mountains on the previous day, we saw the moonrise over a rocky cliff.
I love the desert!

Monday, March 28, 2016

From Desert to Snow

We've had a huge change in scenery in the past 24 hours. We spent the previous 9 days in the desert, enjoying the sunshine while camping in the middle of nowhere.

The ground had no snow on it. The sun was warm. The world was incredibly quiet.

Yesterday, we had a long drive home. We vaguely knew that it had snowed near home. As we drove up the western side of the Divide, we thought it didn't look like a very big storm had occurred.

It wasn't until we got very close to home that we began to realize that the snow was deep! In fact, we realized that we wouldn't be able to make it down our driveway without plowing it first. The problem is that our driveway is long - so it would be a long walk through deep snow to even get to the house.

That's when the kind actions of wonderful mountain neighbors can make me smile even when my spine causing me agony after hours of sitting in the LabMobile. A generous friend had plowed our driveway! We still had lots of work to do but we were so grateful to be able to drive down to our house!

Shyla and I got outside onto the trails this morning to find that they had barely been touched by any snowshoers or skiers. Moving through the snow was tough work but Shyla didn't seem sad about it!

The snow is heavy and crusty so I encouraged her to stay in my snowshoe tracks. The running is easier there!
We enjoyed our sojourn in the desert immensely. For me, the break from our endless winter that runs into May is always welcome at this time of year. I will share stories and photos in the coming days.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunset Sunday

One evening, we had a colorful sunset in all directions. To the west...

And to the east...
I love the dramatic colors of a good Rocky Mountain sunset!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

'Tis the Season

'Tis the season of spring snows. They are deep and heavy. As much as we love our mountains, I start to go a little crazy at this time of year. If I were a drinker, I'd be driven to drink!

I am dreaming of a trip to the desert...

It is warm and sunny there at this time of year.

The desert sunsets are spectacular.

And so many stars are visible that I adore star-gazing after dark.
Springtime means it's desert time for us!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Flying Friday

Shyla simply loves to leap. She springs off the ground at the slightest provocation. When she launches, I frequently wonder if she has springs for legs!

It makes me smile to see her fly, just for fun.

It also makes me smile that I have finally acquired the skill of capturing her image as she flies!

I wish that R could leap. We've been told to avoid all situations where he might leap since his elbow dysplasia was diagnosed when he was a puppy.

He expresses his joy in other ways. But I sure do love the art of a graceful leap!
Happy Flying Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thankful Thursday

I've been feeling particularly thankful recently for where we live and for our wonderful pack.

I am so thankful to live in a place where "elk traffic jams" are the most common kind of traffic jam!

This young bull definitely was keeping an eye on me.

A clique of cow elk congregated nearby, trying to decide whether to cross the road or not.

I love having open land next to my home where I can ride my mountain bike and play with the Duo every day in peace and solitude.

And I adore having the snowy Rocky Mountains in our backyard!

I am so thankful for this pair of pups who make me and the Runner smile every day!

Somehow, we've managed to fashion a life that makes us all so happy.
For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Almost Wordless Wednesday

The mountains to our west bring such delightful sights. As a backdrop for dog play...

And they produce wonderful sunsets, "raining fire from the sky" (John Denver).

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Silly Labs!

No question - all of our Labs have been toy destroyers. Somehow, this one toy has survived several generations of dogs. 

To our surprise, they all have liked to carry it in the same crazy way. Here's R...

And, here's Shyla...
Shyla can perhaps peek a little with her eyes. When R carries it, it looks as if he must be totally blinded by the toy!

Silly Labs!

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Bond of the Labraduo

I don't know what makes some dogs bond so strongly to each other while others don't. I do know that Shyla and R have a wonderful bond.

They seem to move in sync at times as if their bond is unconsciously guiding their actions. In that way, they remind me of our first pair of dogs, littermates who we adopted together. Those two dogs, Astro and Rover, seemed to communicate telepathically. We don't have many photos of them because Rover died so young. Moreover, we were too inexperienced as dog owners to know how fleeting a dog's life is and to take tons of photos! In the right sidebar, you can see one photo of them under an apple tree that was blossoming.

R and Shyla are our first pair who are not littermates but who seem to have a similar affinity for each other as littermates. They love to share sun puddles in the winter.

I love how Shyla snuggles with R's paw.
Although we have many dog beds around the house, they frequently share one, with heads and paws propped on each other. I love it!

They can be difficult to photograph together because they both intensely scan the world around them while I'm clicking the shutter. They also react to every nuance of each others behavior. Consequently, it's rare to get them both looking in my general direction with their eyes open!

For that reason, I sometimes separate them for photos. That helps the single dog to focus on me rather than his sibling!
I hope that they have many more years of romping together and with us!