DOGS OF THE FOREST

     Summer’s here, as it is, presumably, almost everywhere north of the eeek!weightor.  Day-time highs have been 100 (f).  Good weather for forest fires …

     The Pine Ridge fire, only about 10 miles north of our house.  It was the largest (17k acres) in our area for quite some time.  However, outside of the immediate region, it was un-noticed, due to its larger and more dangerous brethern elsewhere in the state.

     We promised our dogs, who hadn’t been getting out much, that they would become DOGS OF THE FOREST.  Sunday, July 1, we drove up Unaweep Canyon, turned off and up Divide Road, into the Dominguez (or Uncompahgre) Plateau.

Telephone Trail (near Dominguez Wilderness Area) crosses laFair Creek

We got out at the north head of Telephone Trail.  No idea why its called that.  It was still hot and dry where we were, but about 20 degrees cooler than at home.  I thought we hiked down, along, then across the upper Dominguez Creek — but looked at a map later and we were in the LaFair Creek drainage (a tributary of the upper Dominguez).  Challenging trail — posted for hikers and horses only.  I suppose real ‘gonzo’ mountain bikers might have enjoyed it …

dogs of the forest, or of the rocks

The dogs appreciate being off-leash, out of the yard, and loose.

Betty’s hat & fir symmetry

Betty notices things I don’t.  Like intricacies of flowers, insects, and the pattern of fir-tree branches.

more fir symmetry

Telephone Trail, once we made the steep and difficult-footing descent into LaFair Canyon, and the steeper climb out, actually becomes relatively level.  We continued into the forest, lamenting occasionally that the area sure could use some rain.

Bruce is doing well

Meanwhile, back at home, Bruce is doing well.  She (Betty insists Bruce is female) eats a pile of food seemingly equal to her body size every day during “eating season.”

inuksuit watches fire

The Pine Ridge fire burned for about a week.  As you can see, the smoke resembles cumulus clouds once carried up high enough.  And, we promised Rocksea, Sleven, and Dually that they’d be Dogs of The Forest again, soon.

cumulus growing fingers, near Cedaredge

Betty wanted to visit an art gallery, in search of works of a particular artist.  On July 4th we drove to Cedaredge, to the Apple Shed Gallery, where she bought a silk screen, reminescent of the Oregon or Washington seacoast.  (Artist’s name is mostly illegible — “Houksema”?)  Cedaredge is logical as the first part of a Grand Mesa loop.

Island lake (regionally famous) on the whirled-faymuss Grand Mesa

From Cedaredge, we continued UP into (and onto) the Grand Mesa.  What we wanted was a trailhead that wasn’t crowded.  All the big reservoirs were miniature Coney Islands.  Crag Crest Trail, where we had hoped to visit, was pretty popular also.

Lake RockSea Mirror

We stopped at the Mesa Top Trailhead.  There were three other vehicles there.  We had never heard of this before — and later, when I looked at maps, it must be ‘new’ as it wasn’t on any map I viewed.  The Mesa, once you’re on top, is about as “relatively” level as you’re gonna be in the forest … or the glades …

mesa glade

The Mesa Top trail is a single-track, marked for hikers and mountain-bikes only.  It was quite a change from “back home, down in the valley” as the temperature was maybe 70 and the area did not appear dry.  In fact, it sprinkled, light rain, on us a few times.

rocksea, slevven

And yes, they were DOGS OF THE FOREST.  On our way back we decided that the two younger dogs may have gone twice as far as we — what with the weaving back and forth, charging off into the trees, and, as often as possible, into the ponds and swamps.

flower yellow butterfly

As stated before, Betty notices things.

leaf green bug

(This was actually noticed on our Dominguez hike a few days before).

mesa glade, rain cloud

Betty pointed out the red, white, and blue flowers.  Pretty appropriate for the day.

the dogs liked this!

This pond was about a mile from the trailhead.  A pretty neat camping spot.  Later, I found out from a fireman that what I thought was state-wide strict fire-restrictions was relaxed on the Mesa.  We could have camped, with a fire.

Dually, cairns

lavender? flowerz

Sleven, amongst the cairns

We turned around at “the cairns” — about 2.5 miles from where we started.  Good thing, the black dog has gotten so that this is “far” for him.

ladies of the forest

The ladies of the forest.  Usually Rocksea is off and away, looking for small animals to torment.  Or strange grunge to either roll in and/or eat.

(axually, this is from the previous hike, top (north)  of LaFair Canyon)

We got back to the trailhead and talked to a couple who were looking at the billboard-map.  They told us that further out on the same trail, they had seen a moose.  I remarked that (1) I had NEVER seen a Colorado moose, and (2) our dogs would have, no doubt, run toward it, only to be CHASED AWAY.

We packed into the truck and completed the loop, through Mesa Lakes, Mesa (itself), and I-70 back home.  It was 90+ degrees.  The rest of the day, due to fireworks restrictions, was about as quiet a July 4th as there ever was.  Oh, and the cat was apparently waiting for the mailman.  (He must not have known that there’d be no mail delivery on July 4th.)

The post(wo)man hates this

Our mail delivery-person is sometimes harassed by the dogs.  Now he (or she, when he is “off”) has a different problem …

Does he think the mailman has kitty treats?

5 thoughts on “DOGS OF THE FOREST

  1. Fab post! Your photos are beautiful and your pets are adorable! I would so love to have a mountain/forest dog one day.

    Also, that’s pretty crazy about all of the fires – be safe.

    I would love to visit Colorado and get my hike on. I know there is a Tough Mudder there too, so maybe next year?

    Like

    • i think there are tuffmuddurz in a few locayshuns arrrround the state. a high % in the ski-area towns! my son’s girlfriend just WON the WOMEN’s Category in a “run” (obstacle course, and, i think, MUDD) in Steamboat Springs. my son might have been top 5 over-all. (they didn’t wait around 5 hours for the awards) —
      we (i’m sure? i speak for ‘betty’) would be honoured to have you visit

      Like

    • i had to look up “mauve”. yerrite: i periodically change my theme. still searching.
      years ago my wife and i struggled with correct? words for certain colors, and, P.K. (pre-kidz) we bought a box of 64 crayons, thusly augmenting our color-vocabulary considerably.
      thanks for the comment, and I WILL CHANGE THE MAUVE-ness of the thing, maybe soon.

      Like

      • You’re welcome. And I can tell by you’re writing that you’re a man. The mauve just didn’t work. I’d suggest a earth color, brown, green, dark blue like the sea…
        easy on the eyes.
        Wonderful idea about the crayons. I have a story to tell now, I just brought back a memory of childhood. ::D

        Like

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