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Friday, November 30, 2018

The Land of Red Rock

During our desert trip, the Runner took me to see gorgeous sandstone slopes where he and our Black Dog love to run.

The orange-red rock particularly glows at sunset when the sun casts golden light on it.

I loved wandering the hills of rock so much that I wanted to go back for sunset every day! Nature's beauty awes me.

After sunset, we'd wander back to K's Rock, where we'd watch the daylight fade to dusk, while the sandstone glowed red in the last sun rays of the afternoon.

Sunset was very early by the end of our trip - around 5 PM. That's a drag when camping because it's a long night to pass in a sleeping bag. However, the stars kept me entertained after dark. The Milky Way was visible behind K's Rock, and sometimes the rock was lit up by the moon!

Then, over the course of many hours of darkness, the Milky Way would rotate around the North Star just like all the other stars do.

I set up my camera to automatically capture the sky all night long. When I got home, I condensed 14 hours of darkness and stars into a 35 second video so that you could see the Milky Way's movement throughout the night. Here's the very short video. Be sure to notice how the moon lit up K's Rock at the start but then the moon set, leaving K's Rock dark for the rest of the video.

We are joining the LLB Gang for Nature Friday!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Beauty!

Today, I am incredibly grateful for the beauty in our neck of the woods. About two weeks ago, we had a spectacular sunrise and sunset, in the same day. I photographed them but forgot to post them. I just rediscovered them in my photo library.

Sunrise was cloudy but the sun lit the clouds on fire! This was the view to the east.

And this was the pink alpenglow on the Continental Divide.

After photographing the sunrise, I came back inside to find the Labraduo lying together in a warm sun puddle.
They warm my heart!

My camera got quite a workout that day, as sunset was also incredible. It was a windy day, and the fast-moving air up high had stretched out the clouds into a long thin layer above the mountains.
That was a day to be grateful for!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wordless Wednesday in the Desert

Amazing red rock!

Desert boots!

Long shadows

Red rock and snow

Water in the Desert!

Happy times...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Moose Day!!!

Yesterday morning, it started to get light as we ate breakfast. A hulking form came into view just beyond our porch. It was a moose who had spent a lot of the night sleeping there. When we looked later at his spot later, we saw that he'd melted the snow below him all the way to the ground.
Because the Runner had the presence of mind to close the dogs into the other end of the house, they didn't bark to scare him away, like they usually do. We got to watch him in a leisurely way.

I took photos through the window to avoid scaring him. As he woke up, he started eating snow to quench his early morning thirst.

I believe that he saw me through the window, which prompted him to get moving fairly soon. He stood up and scratched his back with his antler. That was hilarious!

With the sun rising behind him, he started nibbling on the aspen trees close to the house. Breakfast!

And then he turned to start walking away.
Thanks Mr. Bull Moose. You made our day! 

If you'd like to see a bit more moose action, check out the video below of a moose couple at a spring. It was taken after I thought that mating season was over. Clearly, the bull moose didn't agree with me!

Monday, November 26, 2018

The (literally) Awesome Utah Desert and our Desert Dawg

Our time in the desert was wonderful. I love the boulders and sculptures that Mother Nature has created there. Everything is oversized. The boulder in the foreground of the next photo is the size of a small car and the butte above it is the size of a luxury cruise ship.

Some of the towering cliff walls have "washes" below them with cottonwood trees. Near the start of our trip, those trees still had golden leaves, much to my delight!

The cliff walls were so high that it was impossible to have the cottonwood trees be visible while showing the tops of the cliffs.

Also, at the bases of cliffs, wind had sculpted mushroom-shaped rock formation. This one was as tall as a multi-story house.

During our bike rides together, Shyla posed in the midst of the desert beauty. She and I are so small compared to the grandeur of the desert.

This is a closer up view with the same rocky spires behind Shyla as in the previous photo.

Those spires inspired my imagination as they loomed over our campsite. They were the reason why we lost sunlight around mid-afternoon. The long fingers blocked the sun that early.

This is a different view (in full sunlight) of the same rock formation. It reminds me of a ship.
I was intrigued enough by that formation that I flew my drone up to have a look around. It was a perfect place for flying because there were absolutely no other people nearby, no small airplanes overhead, and the wind was mostly calm.

If you have time, please check out the short video taken from the sky near the spires.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Black Dog Sunday

Our Black Dog has had his sister by his side for every step of his recovery. This was only about a week post-surgery.

Since we've been home, the Duo have been so sweet - they are inseparable. Their attitudes have helped make the recovery period easier for us. Neither Shyla nor R seem notice that anything has changed. And, in reality, R is the same exuberant and loving dog as he always was.

We've been taking care of another black dog over the past week. Her name is CeCe. The bond between our Duo has been so apparent, as they cling to each other while CeCe remains nearby. They all get along wonderfully but they are a Duo and One, rather than a trio.
Shyla is so bonded to R (as you can see in the photo) that we really worry about how she'll get by when he's no longer around. Shyla is four years younger so the likelihood is that she'll outlive R. Over Shyla's whole life as a fearful dog, R has been her rock. He gives her courage and confidence when they're out in the world together. We've thought about getting a young dog now to ease that transition when it comes but we're not sure that a younger dog can play that same role. I'd love to hear any thoughts that you might have about this. I'm betting that some of you have had similar situations.

Shyla doesn't like people to look straight at her. One solution is to hide behind her brother literally and figuratively.
For now, we'll celebrate our Black Dog. He has lots of life ahead of him, and we're planning to enjoy it!

Happy Black Dog Sunday!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Caturday: A bobcat pair and a bobcat growl!

A bobcat sauntered into a clearing looking like she owned the world. As she appeared, she let out a deep rumbling -  a growl!

She sniffed around a bit probably because this is a wild cat marking spot. Then, as she was exiting the clearing, another bobcat appeared. I am guessing that this cat is her kitten. This kitten is full grown but still behaves like a kitten, full of curiosity.

This curious kitten lagged behind mom by a minute or so, sniffing and listening while sitting in the sun.

The most stunning part to me was the difference between the very low rumbling vocalization by a bobcat mother and the bird-like high-pitched vocalization of a mountain lion mother. I compare them in the short video.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Sunrise!

Our Thanksgiving morning dawned incredibly beautifully, reminding me of how grateful I am for where I live.

Place is so important to me. I feel connected to our mountains, meadows, creeks, and lakes. When I stand in a particular spot, I remember the times that I have stood there before, especially when it was with one of our departed dogs.

I feel the need to be out in nature every day, keeping my spirit rooted in our slice of the mountains.

If you have time, enjoy my short video with a 360 degree view of the sunrise.

Thank you to the LLB Gang for hosting Nature Friday!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving in our country today, a day upon which we think about our gratitude.

I am thankful for my family. Little Miss Shyla has taught me so much as she's very gradually become more outgoing.

Our Black Dog is teaching me about how to keep on living life to the fullest no matter what. He's healing beautifully, and his spirit is unaffected by losing an eye.

He still runs like the wind, without worrying about what's in front of him.

Our Labraduo makes me smile when they snooze side-by-side in a sun puddle.

I am thankful for all of you, too. I am approaching the end of my tenth year of writing this blog. One of the best parts of it has been the wonderful people who I've "met" through it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Almost Wordless Wednesday

One of the things that I love about photography in the desert is the lack of background "clutter". It is easy to find places where there is only the sky or a canyon wall behind the Duo, which I like a lot.

P.S. - Our internet server is broken, at least until Friday, so my posts and visits will likely be minimal until it is fixed. Sorry! It is very frustrating...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Wildlife reactions to scent of a mountain lion

Mountain lions have regularly scent marked spot under some pine trees for years. They kick back with each hind paw, creating furrows in the pine needles. They kick up dirt and pine needles that pile up at the back of the furrows. That mound is what catches my eye and tells me that a mountain lion has visited.

Here is a mountain lion marking the spot, kicking back with his left hind paw...

... and then with his right hind paw.
 He repeated this sequence ten times!!! He may have urinated in the furrows.

Many mountain lions have marked this spot over the years. It must have an overwhelming scent to wildlife and domestic dogs, all of whom check this spot and often mark it themselves.

A few recent visitors to the spot caught my eye. First, a bull elk sniffed it extensively during the rut. He must have recently attacked a pine tree as crazed bulls tend to do and was wearing one of its boughs over his neck.

Next, a feisty bobcat came along... He sniffed the scrape and then had the courage to leave his own mark over top of it. He is so much smaller than a mountain lion, making this act of defiance hard to believe!

Next up, a small group of coyotes visited. One sniffed the lion scrape.

He immediately started leaving his own scent mark. He's the one in the background of the next photo.

When the coyote trio was assembled, they appeared to look around to see if the lion was nearby.
Not everyone agrees with me but I think that coyotes are gorgeous creatures.

I compiled the footage into video of these visitors which I hope that you enjoy.