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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

One last memory of our autumn desert trip

Just as winter is truly starting (at Thanksgiving, in my world), I wanted to finish up sharing memories of our autumn desert trip.

We decided to finish our desert trip as we'd started it a couple of weeks earlier, with a few nights at K's Rock. I was glad for that decision because I was hit with a short but intense illness. I'm still not sure exactly what it was - an odd migraine, a virus, or something else altogether. In any case, I was glad to be someplace that felt like home while I wasted an entire day lying around and feeling awful.

Fortunately, whatever it was passed as rapidly as it had hit me, and I could enjoy my favorite desert spot afterwards.

I had another sunset photo session with Shyla at the base of K's Rock. I'll never tire of those sessions! I think that Shyla loves them like I do because she so enthusiastically does whatever I ask and sometimes even improvises on her own.

After the sun had set on our last evening there, I snapped a few photos of the beauty of desert dusk.

From its thin end, K's Rock appears to be a leaning slab of rock when in reality it's a huge triangular mass of red rock with one apex of the triangle being slender (as in the photo below).

On those last days, I enjoyed a few more views of golden leaves, knowing that the color would be gone at home.

I soaked up the warm sunshine, appreciating every bit of warmth.

All too soon, it was time to point the LabMobile toward Colorado, leaving the world of red rock behind us. It's a world that I'll never tire of.

As we departed, we scouted out a new area for future camping, and we saw golden Cottonwoods lining the Colorado River from a high plateau.
I am already looking forward to our next trip to the desert. It is a part of the world that I never dreamed that I would come to love so much. I'm glad that our whole pack loves it!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Moose Selfie and Camera "Attack"

The wildlife activity is starting to wind down, like it does every year at this time. However, the moose continue to amuse me. They don't leave during the winter so I hope that they'll keep entertaining us all winter long!
Recently, I went to check a trail camera, and I saw it hanging at a funny angle from the tree. It was obvious that "someone" had messed with it. My first thought was a bear, and I checked it with great anticipation that we'd have our final bear view of the year.

I was wrong... a bull moose had rearranged it. He and his lady arrived at a water hole during moose mating season. When they first arrived, they were "talking" in a very whiny way. Make sure that you have your volume on for the video.

Then, the cow moose departed and the bull moose moved toward the camera. He ate for a while next to it, and then he turned his full attention to it. He took a selfie as he rearranged the cam.


I feel very lucky that he didn't destroy the camera. Instead, he turned it so that it was pointed at nothing in particular.

I'm getting zillions of photos and videos of moose these days. I think that they'll keep us entertained for a while!

Here is the video for today! You can watch it here or at Youtube.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Black Dog Sunday

R is now on strict rest to heal some strained muscles and to give his elbow a break. It's fun looking back at how incredibly strong he was in the desert.

As always, his spirit was like a force of nature. Although Shyla is a lot faster than him by this point in life, his insane enthusiasm always causes her to back off and let him have the spotlight.

After trying unsuccessfully to build up Shyla's confidence to run with him, I finally just let him sprint around on his own. Sometimes it's best to simply enjoy R's spirit.

His crazy ears are a Black Dog hallmark!

So is his funny habit of coming within inches of bowling me over as I snap photos.
R's spirit is not lagging at all, although he's disappointed every time someone goes out running or biking without him. He probably has another half week of rest, and then he'll be freed to run again, assuming that he's healed well.

He's also been banned from his elbow exercises, which both of us have come to love. I'm looking forward to getting my daily dose of R again when we restart his PT. Unfortunately, a little later in the month, he has to have some dental work done and an abdominal ultrasound. We don't expect the ultrasound to show anything serious but he had an odd bloodwork result earlier this month that caused our vet to want to take a look at his insides - just to be safe.

It's a big month for R. Let's hope that he's back to full strength and able to do all the things that he loves very soon!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Sunrise Saturday

One day recently, I woke up to a glow on the eastern horizon, and I knew that sunrise would be special. Look at the orange sky to the east with the orange reflected in a pond down on the ground. This was before the sun came over the horizon.

And, ah, the alpenglow over the mountains. It's such an amazing sight!

Then, the sun made its appearance. I watched in awe.

As some of you know, I have a drone that I can send straight up over my house to get a 360° view when the sky is so special. That's what is in the video below. You can watch it here or at Youtube. I hope that it gives you a peaceful feeling at the start of your weekend.


Happy Saturday.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mountains vs. Desert - What a Contrast!

What a difference a couple of weeks makes!

Galloping through the snow in our mountains....

Galloping across the slickrock in Utah...

Wildlife watching in our mountains...

Wildlife watching in the Utah desert...

Beautiful sky at sunrise at home with alpenglow in the mountains...

Beautiful sky at dusk in the Utah desert...

I love them both, and I'm grateful that we live someplace where we can experience both within a day of each other.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thankful Thursday: The bond shared by the Labraduo

You are used to seeing our Duo in action. R ran atop Hug Hill a week or so ago.

Atop Hug Hill, they both sprint when called. As Shyla ran toward me, a big gust of wind pushed her ear straight up in the air making for a unique image!

Fortunately, they both can turn off their energy and snooze like puppies. In the winter, they tend to snuggle together, in a sun puddle if possible.
R is on forced rest right now. His bad elbow is a little sore but the bigger deal is strained iliopsoas muscles in both hind limbs. He's been on strict rest for a week, and we are seeing improvement. We hope that he'll be back in action after another week of rest.

On this thankful Thursday, I am grateful that our Duo is so close. In fact, because it rarely happens, we've only recently realized that Shyla gets very stressed out if left alone without her brother or us with her. Her brother has helped her with some of her fears, and he's become one of her rocks in this scary world. I'm glad that Shyla trusts R so much!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mountain Sunsets - Home Sweet Home

Since we've been home from the desert, we've had a few gorgeous sunsets. They light up the sky both to the west and to the east.

To the west, we have the mountains behind which the sun sets.

To the east, we have smaller hills and plains. Notice how the aerial view shows the orange clouds reflected in a pond.

As the sunset wound down, the clouds to the east turned pink.
I love the beauty of our world!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Shyla takes flight!

While we were in the land of ridges, mesas, and spires, Shyla had to wear her boots a lot. Otherwise, the rocky world would have left her with sore paw pads.

The boots accentuated Shyla's gait. She was often airborne.

Or airborne with her mouth open!

It's just amazing how many photos I found in my library of her levitating.

She also really likes to kick her hind paws up in the air when she's wearing boots.

She generally doesn't like boots. She wears them only in the desert and when it's colder than -5°F here. However, you'd never guess that she hates them based on her goofy gait.

When she wore boots in the desert last spring, she was still adapting to her anti-seizure drug (phenobarbital) - a process that stole her spunk and hard-won confidence. This time, she was much more at ease with the boots.

The only worry is that we just discovered that her blood levels of phenobarbital have fallen out of the ideal zone. We're trying to decide whether to increase her dose and go through the adaptation all over again (ugh) or wait to see if she has a seizure. I am wondering if her high level of spunk recently is because she has less phenobarbital in her blood. I hope not.

Ah, I wish that we didn't have these worries and decisions to make. Regardless of what happens, I'm very glad that she had this phase of being so joyful, spunky, and being able to fly!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Huge Brawny Mountain Lion Marks his Territory

Recently, I visited a trail cam that has not been productive recently. I'd stuck with its location over the summer because it's been such a wildlife hot spot over the past decade.

So, I slogged to it when I had to change its clock to standard time. The camera gave me a huge (literally) surprise! Lots and lots of deer, elk, and moose had been photographed by the trail cam. 

A mom and her fawn...

A young deer...

A bull moose...

And where you see prey animals, you also see their predator (although I'm pretty sure that a mountain lion cannot kill a healthy adult moose). This massive male mountain lion was marking his territory by scraping backward his his hind paws while urinating.

It turned out that the same mountain lion had visited the exact same spot on more than one occasion since I'd last checked this cam. He was adamantly asserting his ownership of this area. Very funnily, a bobcat arrived the following night and tried to mark over top of the lion's mark. I included that in the video at the end of the post.
The run of mountain lion visits continues. It's my favorite aspect of early winter - it happens every year when our elk herd returns for the winter.

I made a video of this tom cat marking his territory which you can watch here or at Youtube.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Silhouette Sunday - A Desert Edition

The sun set very early when we were camped near cliffs because the cliffs blocked it. However, it made for some cool silhouettes.


I love the desert colors, especially with dog silhouettes in front of them!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Shooting Star and the Milky Way in the Desert

The hideaway spot where we camped to escape the fall break crowds was surrounded by dramatic cliffs, spires, and mesas.

The flat-topped hill in the right of the above photo is what we call "Shyla's Mesa", the place where I love to photograph the Duo sprinting.

The camping spot is like the middle of an amphitheater with a view of a huge dark sky after the sun sets. 
I love taking star photos in that campsite, and my camera is often snapping photos all night while we sleep.

One year, as I set up my camera, a huge meteorite that looked like a "fireball" to me zoomed across the sky leaving a burning trail in its wake. Sadly, I hadn't quite finished setting up my camera so I got no photo of it.

This year, while we slept, a meteorite streaked down from the sky toward the ground. I was overjoyed to capture it - it's the biggest shooting star that my camera has ever recorded! Notice that the view shown here at night is almost the same as the view in the first photo during the daytime.
Over the sequence of exposures after it, I could see the residue of the burning up of the meteorite in the Earth's atmosphere. It's very hard to see in individual photos but is much more obvious when I combine them to make a video.

So, I made a time lapse movie that shows the shooting star and the movement of the Milky Way across the sky that night. It also includes some airplanes which appear as dim lines zipping across the screen. This video encompasses about 4 hours of movement of the stars that night, compressed into a very short video which you can watch here or at Youtube. Be sure to look at the photo of the shooting star so that you know where it was when you watch the video. I also have a very slowed version of the shooting star after the first clip.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Shyla's Mesa

We tried to schedule our time in Utah to be when no one else was on vacation. Little did we know that Utah public schools all have a fall break in October - it's a 4 day weekend which fell smack in the middle of our vacation. When we heard that news, we headed for the most remote spot that we knew of for the fall break weekend.

It's in rough terrain pocked with canyons and spires. I tend to head upward when I have a choice. I like high views. This was a very high view from above our campsite. My favorite trail in the area is below the spiky ridge.

During one ride along that trail, I peered down at our campsite which sat in the the mouth of a very big canyon that flows down to the right in the photo. Our LabMobile is a white speck.
As you can see, we managed to find a campsite with solitude. There did end up being more traffic on that dirt road than we'd ever seen before but that still was just a handful of vehicles per day.

This spot has a mesa near it that we've named "Shyla's Mesa". I love photographing her and her brother sprinting along the top of the mesa.

It's a super happy place for us, where we've accumulated many good memories.

It was the first time we'd ever been there in autumn. We were not disappointed. There were gorgeous golden Cottonwood trees in every wash.
I'm so glad that we finally made it to the desert in autumn. It was wonderful to have a second autumn in the land of red rock!