Late Fall

_LME8964BCresting the summit.

We have had a few beautiful days. It only seemed right to get into the mountains one more time before the snow started falling in earnest.

_LME8843BMorning light touches the mountain tops. Willow scans the trail ahead.

Willow, Maynard and I set out early and were on the trail before sun up. We climbed up quickly through the bush. I studied the places I was going to have difficulty with coming down. The snow was crisp, but it would be icy directly under the trees come afternoon. Some of the ice would be unavoidable. There was a day I would hop, skip and jump down the trail.

_LME8981BMaynard and Willow walk the ridge. 

Now I am more economical, to put it kindly. Not to many waisted steps. Some of those steps are damn slow. It reminds me that I have to stay in shape so I can show these places to Cooper and Scarlett.

RCE_1548B

In some places the snow was hard and others I broke through. On the ridge the snow was windblown hard or blown off the rocks so the going was relative easy.

_LME8953B.jpgLooking back along the windy ridge.

Willow led the way. Maynard stayed right with me.

The sky and sun was brilliant. The next snowstorm will make the ridge inaccessible.

_LME8891BHypnotizing Maynard and Willow with a piece of cheese.

When we got back to the truck I had a cold coffee waiting for me. It hit the spot. The hounds slept the way home. Very fine day.

Shoots

Lisa and I had breakfast on the mountain. We stopped on an old logging landing. The view faced back into the valley bottom. Those guys tear the shit out of the place.

Logging used to employ a lot of men in the bush. Now it’s a few men in large machines that can clearcut an entire mountain in a few weeks.

It doesn’t take long and the mountain tries to hide the scar. New plants grow. It is similar after a forest fire. But the timber is slow to come back. Much slower than the 50 years the government says.

RCE_9956Strawberry blossoms.

RCE_9965Yarrow shoots.

RCE_9967Young nodding onion.

RCE_9957Oregon grape blossoms.

RCE_9971Last year’s yarrow. The best and safest way to forage for edible plants is to look for last year’s plants.

RCE_9977Young pine, the government says will be ready to chop down again in 50 years.

Early May

RCE_9662bSpringtime in the Rockies. A Grizzly Bear enjoys some young fresh shoots.

Spent the weekend in the city visiting our children and grandchildren. They made a wonderful early Mother’s Day brunch for Lisa. We went to our niece Meagan’s 40th birthday party. She has a wonderful family. It is hard to believe she was only 7 years old at our wedding.

_LME7400Willow gets sad when she has to be on the leash, but we didn’t want her rustling up a bear and leading it back to us. 

I am always a little off balance in the city. After a great visit it is good to get back in the mountains. It has greened up over the days we were away. The seeds are starting to break through in the garden. My tender tomato seedlings also lived through my absence.

RCE_9664smThere’s a storm a brewing.

It was warm in the city. It is also warm in the valley bottom, but seems to cool off quicker when the sun goes down. Lisa and I watched a storm across the valley. Earlier we watched a Grizzly. You get a little bit of everything this time of year in the mountains.

Lyrids

_LME7294-Pano_smThe Milky Way through clouds and spruce. Two scratchy satellites can be seen on either side of the tree on the right.

The annual Lyrids Meteor Shower is on. Willow and I were up extra early to look for streaks. I have had good luck seeing them in the past. There was clouds, but also a few windows with stars peaking out.

Snow still lines the edge of the road. Most roads are still snowed in once you gain in elevation. Still it is good to be in the mountains. Even on a cloudy night the Milky Way shines through. The owls hoot and hunt. Willow keeps watch and wanders a tight perimeter. 

_LME7272-Pano_smPeaking through.

The Lyrids were hard to come by. I saw one long streak directly above. It was dim but travelled the overhead sky in about 3 seconds. My camera was trained on the ridge, missing it.

_LME7263.jpgClouds catching the light of the valley bottom.

I took a few pictures hoping a star would fall into the frame. I caught a small bright meteor below and pointing back to Vega in the constellation Lyra. 

_LME7287A Lyrid glows green through the trees at the left edge of the picture.

Willow and I sauntered back into the valley bottom. The coffee shop was just opening. They offered a doughnut hole for Willow that she eagerly accepted and gobbled.

Perhaps we missed the peak. It may be worth going out again tomorrow morning.