mountain mysteries

On our recent trip to the cabin, the air was abuzz with bears and rumors of bears; one man spied the bear at the salt lick across the lake, another spotted him at dusk circling the small pond. In my imagination, the bear looked something like this.

(Not OUR Actual Bear)

We kept a watchful eye on the wiener dog…especially around dark-thirty. Don’t think she would even make a good hor d’oeuvre for a bear but I’d rather not find out.  We didn’t hang up our hummingbird feeders.  Didn’t care to provide a bear with a sweet evening cocktail.
This next photo proves we are determined, brave mountain walkers.  In your face, bear!!!  You ain’t stopping hardy Texas stock from stompin’ in the woods and takin’ in the sights.  Walking in the cool mountain air is the best, isn’t it?

OK….OK…it was a little disconcerting to gingerly step over disemboweled fish on all the paths around the lake. These luckless  lake-trout had their heads bitten off and their bodies basically shredded. Not caused by humans.  But a bear’s gotta eat, right?  And bears love fish….so whatevs.
These mountain lakes are home to many interesting species (besides bears) and we were fortunate enough to spot some of them.  
I managed to snap the endangered Mountain Dachshund Boot-Scraper Mole (genus-wienerus) while it was digging outside one of the cabins.  Stealthily crawled on my belly and ruined a good pair of jeans to bring this stunning shot to you.
You’re welcome….not many of these left in the wild.  Most live in captivity at the Stuttgart National Zoo.
The eagle-eyed Sprout was first to see this next prize. She quietly motioned me over for the photo.

A thrilling capture, n’est pas??! One of the very few Giant Striped Slinky Finches (genus-metallicus re-bara) seen in the Northern Hemisphere. You thought it was the famous Sealy Posturepedic Coneheaded Crane (genus-matressvia firma)? No…no….that’s an easy amateur’s mistake to make. It’s positively the giant finch.
Smiling as the giant finch took royal flight, I high-fived the Nikon!  Imagine finding the Wienerus and the Metallicus Re-bara in the same day?  What could possibly be NEXT?  I was about to find out.
Rounding the trailhead, I raised my chin as the sun streamed through the budding aspens.  This surprise awaited me.

SCORE! Not so rare perhaps, but a fun capture of a beautiful elk grazing on the hill. I lifted the camera and took a few shots before he startled.

You probably won’t believe this, but he seemed almost tame. I think he would have eaten out of our hands had we offered. Weird.  The effects of global warming, no doubt.
We had hiked a long way and our feet were tired:  time to head back.  Little did we realize what horror awaited us.  I’m sorry to have to show you this next picture.  I’d like nothing more than to tell you we skipped home and gaily ate S’mores and milk and talked about our perfect day of capturing unbelievable images of rare animals on film. But no, Marlin Perkins, that is not how this day ended!
Making our way back, we came upon the site where I had earlier happily snapped the Giant Striped Slinky Finch.  Steady yourself….for I am about to show you…..the utter bloody massacre we unwittingly stumbled upon.  Behold the finch carnage.

All color left my face as I blinked back bitter tears while staring at the Slinky Finch’s lifeless carcass hanging in the branches. What the hell happened? Had he dropped from the sky like a flaming meteor? Had he come upon the territory of a lurking predator who snapped his fragile slinky neck? Bewildered, the Texan and the Sprout tried to console me. ‘At least you got the shot, Mom’ the Sprout cheerfully chirped. Yes….I got the shot, but I was feeling strangely hollow.
Turning toward home, we sadly drug our feet on the gravel road (thinking of the pitiful Slinky Finch and a good day gone bad) when we came upon this.

You are absolutely correct.  You REALLY are Marlin Perkins!! Bear scat (or poo, or turds, or doo-doo, or baby ruths)!! ‘Crap…the bear’s been here!’, I screamed.

Well…… fellow Jack Hannahs and Steve Irwins……. that’s how this day ended. I don’t have absolute proof. Nobody saw anything but there’s one less gorgeous Giant Striped Slinky Finch gracing the mountains. Next time we’re out walking, the bear better hope he doesn’t run into me!  This chick don’t take kindly to brazen attacks on an innocent, rare bird.

a mountain walk-the dog’s eye-view

Went to the cabin over the Memorial Day holiday.  The Texan’s grandfather bought a cabin in the Pikes Peak area in the late 1940’s (?) and our family has been lucky enough to spend many summers up there. 

Don your hiking boots, grab a fishin’ pole and fall in line for our hike.  I’d love to show you the sights.  The Texan found his favorite fishin’ hole.

The Sprout on a rock fishin’ with the ever-present, helpful fishin’ dogs.

Hey,  you gotta bite GP? Sophie is lookin’ interested!

Sic ’em Sophie!

Run Reba, run! Is that Roxy-Doxy in the background? Whatcha sniffin’ Roxy? Is that a dead, smelly fish??!

No Doxy, no! Oh….&@#+*%$*^%!! You rolled in the smelly, dead thing! Lovely.

Hope you’re proud of yourself, wiener-dog. I see a bath in your future.

Shhhh…walk very softly. The Texan has laid his head on his tackle box. Getting a little shut-eye, huh? Long walk wore you out, Texan?  Altitude gettin’ to ya??

Doxy, Reba!!….don’t bother the Texan….can’t you see he’s trying to rest?

Shhhhh….Soph! Don’t kiss the Texan…he’s resting. You fishin’ dogs are out of control!

Where we see a resting Texan, the Sprout sees an obstacle for one of the fishin’ dogs to practice her mad jumping skills.

Jump Reba, jump!! MJ and LeBron in a goldendoodle body!

Does the Texan look like a log to you? Is this any way to have a peaceful mountain nap?

Can dogs smile? You be the judge…..

There’s lotsa smiles in the mountains…that’s just the way it is. Hope our mountain walk made you smile today. I’ll show you some other interesting mountain critters soon.
A fantastic weekend to all!