On a hot and sunny day last week, Josiah and I followed a well used horse trail up a steep canyon in the mountains by our house. The temperature in this shaded draw was at least 20 degrees cooler than that in the valley below. We stopped about half way up the side of the mountain and rested on a rock enjoying the view. I could see the meadow above and guessed that would be where this dusty and rocky trail we were climbing would lead us.
At the edge of the meadow was a sign, attached to a weathered post with old rusty nails. Barbed wire, old and new hung from the gray post and the twisted and patched fence line to the right disappeared up a steep rocky canyon. Behind the sign was a small creek lined with black sand and feeding a stand of aspen trees. The open hillside behind it was lush and covered in wildflowers and monarch butterflies.
I stood there looking at the sign and smiled at the irony~
Josiah was watching me and asked why I was taking a photo of the sign~ “Because someone left the gate open?” he asked.
I just smiled at him. Took my photo, stepped around the post and continued up the trail to enjoy my day with my son.
No, it wasn’t because someone left the gate open…
There wasn’t a gate to leave open. In fact there wasn’t even a fence to the left of the sign. There hadn’t been in a long, long time…if ever…
Our new front yard.
Josiah and I were able to spend a little time exploring our new front yard.
We hiked around a high mountain lake kicking up butterflies from the surrounding fields of wildflowers
Last Tuesday was Josiah’s Birthday, and I gave him one of my old digital cameras and loaned him a lens.
He has been having a blast with it, capturing some amazing images and I am encouraging him to start his own blog.
I love how a little time in nature always seem to heal a person. Some say it is the fresh air, but things are still pretty smoky outside right now. And others say it is the exercise, and though I love hiking in the mountains I can get the same peace by sitting by a stream. I believe it is just the time spent with God’s Creations. A place that reminds us just how unimportant we really are in the grand scheme of things. A humbling place, a natural place. Full of beauty and mystery. A place to lose your pain and worries.
A place full of newness and wonder.
miracles, and hope for the future.
It is all right there in my very own front yard.
(Favorite smell~ wild roses and creeks fed by high country glaciers)
Ever wake in the middle of the night for absolutely no apparent reason?
I sit here tonight or is it morning? I can’t sleep. My loyal dog has followed me to the office to stay by my side as I type.
I am not sure what woke me as it is quiet outside.
So very still and quiet.
A silence that surrounds, envelopes…
A quiet so complete it can be felt, like a vibration through your soul…
Maybe the silence itself is what has awoken me and left me with this strange tingling sensation…
After days of rain and storms across the mountains, all is calm.
There is no noise. The tiny chirping insects have ceased their calling~ The wind stands still, waiting..
There is no crunch of gravel under foot or occasional soft nicker from the horses in the coral.
Even the dog beside me seems to be holding back her breath.
Was it something outside?
Was it a dream? A thankfully forgotten nightmare? or something more?
I made a warm cup of milk and made sure that all was ok in my world.
Said a silent prayer for those dear to my heart who aren’t here for me to physically check on tonight.
I turned on a low light and sat down here in front of the computer to write this post.I am awake after all, I might as well do something.
I didn’t know what I was going to write and nothing would come to mind. I found the file on my computer that holds the, so far, unshared images of my world over the last few months and flipped through image after image of the beauty that surrounds me.
places I have been.
Those I hold so dearly that I have shared it with.
All the while listening … for what? I am not sure, because it is so very quiet.
The dog beside me on the floor starts to twitch and make muffled growling sounds in her sleep, and I watch her wondering where she goes and what it is she chases in her dreams.
One of the horses bumps the horse trough with it’s hoof, making a loud DONG~ and I jump. My heart skips a beat and I realize that the buzzing inside has stopped.
I can hear the wind outside dancing through the aspen leaves, and some where a small insect serenades the night.
My blog post is finished and the need for sleep is returning.
I finish this post. Look back at these photos and thoughts and think about deleting the whole thing before going back to bed.
But I don’t,
When I finish typing these thoughts and images I will hit publish.
Because it doesn’t mean nearly as much if you can’t share the beauty that surrounds you every moment, every second of every day.
I am tired, and must go back to bed and get some rest,
because another stunning sunrise will be here soon.
and I don’t want to miss it. I have photos to take and words to say.
Wednesday a.m Temp~ 56 degrees ~ slightly cloudy
No wind this morning. ~ looks like its going to be another gorgeous day…
Watched the mule deer feed across the sage covered hillside this morning in front of a gorgeous sunrise. Meadowlarks sang from the high points and the pair blue birds flitted from tree to tree in search of breakfast. Horses nickered at me when I went out on the deck and a cool fresh mountain air filled my soul. I can still smell a lingering scent from the campfire last night, and I hear the chukar sneaking into the grain in the garage~ Now to find some coffee to fill my cup ~ and this day will be nearly perfect and it’s only ~ just getting started.
(blue bird pair in my tree this morning)
(Strawberry Rhubarb pie cooked in the dutch oven last night~ perfect desert to follow an elk roast cooked over these same coals. and source of the lingering scent of smoke= YUMMY)
More signs of spring. This brown bear was loving the fresh Spring grass. (another reason not to believe that eating only veggies will help you lose weight… like my dad always says..”Have you ever seen a skinny rabbit?” )
Even though the hide on this ol’ boy looks ragged ~ his antler growth is still quite impressive. I still say he would love a good brush with a curry comb
Shooting star~ Beauty reborn (and the scientific name is Dodecatheon.. for my friend over at MyNature Apps)
and danger, danger, danger. Sow griz and 2 yr old cubs.. not something you look forward to running in to in the woods. Just very glad I didn’t surprise her or the babies (or should I say they didn’t surprise me.) Spring is a beautiful time in the woods. But as with all things in nature. Unpredictable~ abrupt storms, hungry animals, unstable glaciers and rising rivers are just a few of the dangers one can encounter ~ but if you use common sense and stay alert at all time. Spring can also become one of your favorite times of year. I know it’s one of mine..
1 of 4 Spring , Summer, Fall and Winter
Bring May Flowers
And strutting turkey
And running turkey
And turkey’s in the roost tree~
ok.. so April showers doesn’t bring all of those, but it did bring flowers
It made the lichen on this carved rock stand out
and created a handful of stunning sunsets … So excited to see what May brings
Had a beautiful weekend. Snow capped mountains and frozen waterfalls.
Osprey~ Sand Hill Cranes
Wapiti ~ Fresh air and time together in nature as a family…
April 17~2012 a.m. temperature 40 degrees F
Partly cloudy and rained off and on throughout the day~ (we need it)
April 18 -2012 am. temperature 40.3 F
Cloudy and rainy again today~ more of the same ..
I wandered outside this morning, planning on heading to the river to search for mergansers in flight~ Cloud cover was pretty think and I changed my mind as I figured it would be too dark in the trees along the water to capture the images I was looking for. I found myself sitting in the sage, surrounded by tiny singing birds, breath taking scenery and more.
I sat for a while as the storms crawled across the mountain tops and just enjoyed ~
And enjoyed some more.. I am always amazed at how these large game birds can disappear in what seems like blank countryside
(and no Jody at the Hunters Wife ~ Sage Grouse is not a spice.. thought id does sound like a yummy recipe )
And even after my coffee cup was empty and I had been rained on, I stayed a little longer as the sun was finally burning through the clouds to the East and the birds were on the move.
It rained off and on the rest of the day~ I picked Josiah up from school and had dinner with my parents. (Thanks mom and dad) and on my way home~ the sun came out and spread a beautiful blanket of light across the freshly washed landscape and once again I ended the day like I started it~ surrounded by bird song and breath taking scenery.
and the clouds returned to my mountain as the light of day faded into a dark and raining night…
Always worth the hike to get there~ <3 ~ Happy Wednesday to you. It’s all down hill to the weekend now.
Back country in early Spring. Alluring. Beautiful, and on a day like this one, so very peaceful.
As the deep snow drifts melt the high mountain passes open and the elk return once again to the back country.
Beautiful girls resting in the sunshine on a high alpine meadow. Healthy, and obviously pregnant.
(Photo by Josiah)
Even in a photograph it is hard to put the vastness and beauty of this country into perspective.
It is one of those places that you need to immerse yourself in, feel the burn in your legs and lungs, to fully appreciate the grandeur
Yes, we saw a few elk.
Any stress this time of year can cause the cows to lose their calves ~ so we kept out of sight and enjoyed their company from a distance.
Spring migration is in full swing.
It was a magnificent day in the mountains because, it was shared with my family.
We found 8 winter kills but only 1 ivory
The elk sign was thick.
* 1 set of coyote tracks picked their way across a deep drift
2 sets of bear tracks descended a steep draw to the open valley below.
Once we returned to that bottom land and the truck we saw a mother and calf moose resting among the red willow shoots next to the river.
and more little birds darting about searching… for what? I am not sure. A mate or dinner?
Or maybe just a perfect place to call *home*