Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fresh Young Beauty Of Summer

About two years ago while still living in Tennessee I bought a new pair of Cannondale mountain bike shoes exactly the same as these ones.
Only new.  
And clean.  
And black.  
And unfrayed and unfaded and firmly glued.
When they arrived I stashed the box under my bed intending to dig them out when my old ones finally and irrevocably needed to be thrown away.
That day never came.
I have had other mountain bike shoes over the years of course.  I still have a girlie-girl light-blue pair (also Cannondales) that I have kept but rarely wear only because they're girlie-girl light blue.
But I have worn the hell out of these shoes.
They have cleats on the bottom of them so I can clip into my pedals.
Most (but not all) adventure racers use hard plastic bike shoes to increase their pulling ability, but I wanted these hybrids because there are so many things other than biking that you have to do in these shoes unexpectedly in the middle of races.
In these shoes I have:
1.  with the help of a rope climbed up and over a 20 foot wall 
2.  climbed a timed high obstacle course
3.  rappelled and ascended more rock faces that I could count
4.  hiked and run on trails and gravel roads and while bush whacking
5.  canoed and kayaked and rafted
6.  waded and swam and fallen into many creeks and streams
I lost pulling ability but ran into so many racers during so many races with unbelievably sore feet and/or blisters from having to drop their bikes to do something other than biking, and so never regretted my choice.
Eventually I will throw this beloved pair of faithful bike shoes away.
I will mourn their passing, be grateful for their unfailing service, and then finally dig out my shiny and black and unfrayed and unfaded and new bike shoes.
But right now I am thinking these babies have another good year of life left in them...........

Yesterday morning I woke up, looked out the window and saw only deep blue sky.
I looked at the temperature gauge outside the kitchen the window and even at 7:30 it already read 60 degrees.
Only two days before it had been pouring with rain and the temperature never climbed above 40 degrees the entire day.
A far cry from the 96 degrees it was in Tennessee but truthfully I was very glad to not be in 96 degrees.
So yesterday the sky was blue and it was warm and the forecast called for even warmer as the day progressed.
A good day to go for a bike ride.
By 10am it was already 70 and I geared up to head out.
As I was pulling my bike out of the shed I happened to look across the road and unexpectedly saw a small herd of deer grazing in the front yard of the home across the road.
Dropping my bike I made a grab for my camera and walked to the end of the driveway so that I could take pictures of these gentle and beautiful creatures...........
I stood watching them for a few minutes and then watched them as they wandered to the fence line.
Surprisingly and as I have seen them do many times before, they did not jump over the fence.
Rather they crawled underneath it.
One by one they crawled underneath one fence, covered the brief distance across the neighbor's driveway and then crawled under yet one more fence to make their way to the next field...........
Dixie and the new baby boy who is probably a month or so old right now.
He is spunky and spirited and beautiful and although he is still nursing has also begun recently to graze alongside his mother.
Our neighbor lady named him Pistol Pete and calls him Petey.
He has already been sold to someone for 8 months worth of hay.............
Between photographing deer and photographing Baby Boy I was getting nowhere fast.
After visiting with my neighbor and watching Dixie and Petey for a while I again turned back to the fields across the road to follow the status of the deer.
They were making their way across the second field and I again watched them for a few more minutes as they climbed single file under another fence.
They are everywhere you turn in this area and I love having them around.
Just as I love having all the rabbits around.
There are now baby bunnies running all over the pastures around the house and this morning I smiled as I stood in the driveway and watched five of them running in circles and playing with each other..................
A wagon slash log slash mountain slash blue sky scene taken from our driveway.............
I debated briefly whether to bike on BLM land or to ride the roads, and on such an outstandingly warm and beautiful day decided that I would take a road ride.
Around the neighborhood.
Within just a few minutes I knew that I would be doing a lot of stopping along the way.
The mountains were "out".
The sky was amazingly blue.
The grass was finally wonderfully achingly serenely green.
Pictures taken at the bend in the road all of a 1/4 mile from the house...........
Heading down the gravel-road-hill I stopped briefly to take a picture of a small pond.
It is the same pond I photographed when I took Jamie for a walk about six or seven weeks ago.
On that day the gravel road was muddy and slushy, and the pond and fields and sage bushes were covered with snow.........
We live in horse country.
Some cattle.  Some sheep.  Even a lama or two.
But primarily horse country.
On a quiet and sunny day I spend a couple of hours taking multiple pictures of the area where we live just outside a Cody............
I biked yesterday instead of going for a run.
I have run every day except for yesterday and decided to bike instead because I had a vaguely sore right calf and wanted to rest it.
Running is still tough but nowhere near as tough as it was those first couple of days.
Less walking.  More running.  Still slow and lumbering but less walking.
Over the years I have learned that my body responds quickly to regular training.
My brain is slowly but surely beginning to remember what pacing is all about.  
And my body is slowly but surely beginning to remember where my training heart rate should be.
Right now I am walking/running/lumbering somewhere around four or maybe even five miles.
One of these days soon I need to get my bike computer battery changed out so that I can measure the loop I have been running and can track distance for sure.
I have no idea how it will go and whether or not I'll ever be a semi-decent runner again but I am starting to look forward to heading out into BLM and going through the motions.
We'll see where it goes............
One more of many old wooden wagons that decorate the front yards of homes here in Cody..........
I stopped for a few minutes to watch and take pictures of a small herd of deer that was sitting or grazing in a pasture beside a home............
And snapped this random picture while still watching the deer...........
After taking pictures of the deer and the plane, and as I was still standing and straddling my bike along the side of the road, I struggled to stuff my camera back into the side pocket of my bike shorts.
I happened to look to my right and was surprised to see yet one more herd of deer.
I had not even noticed them as I was taking pictures of the first herd, but these guys had definitely noticed me.
They were all standing at alert and with all eyes focused on my next move............
Something familiar.
The kind of flowering trees that are so beautiful and so common in the Spring in Tennessee.........
A conundrum in this part of the country..........where does a girl pee when there are so few trees?
I had to pee and had needed to for a while.
While mountain biking on BLM land the area is isolated enough that the lack of trees is not an issue.  
 But yesterday I was riding on country roads - lots of pasture land, homes at regular intervals, sporadic vehicles passing by, even some trees in residential yards, but..........where does a girl pee in such circumstances?
By the time it became a priority over and above taking pictures of cute deer and pretty flowering trees I saw a huge swath of undeveloped land on a side road.  
I thought that it backed onto BLM land but as I continued to ride realized that it dead ended onto a private road.
I scanned my surroundings.
I was 1/4 mile down a side road with homes back on the main road but none where I was now standing.
OK Karin - make it quick.
For the record a Dead End sign and a mountain bike do not provide a whole lot of privacy but can work when you're out of options and a few miles from home............
Back on the the side road I had been exploring.........
The house on this property is much smaller and older than many of the homes in this area.
It is smaller, more humble, looks as though it may have been one of the earliest homes around here.
And every time that LC and I drive by it we realize that we like it very much.
There are overpriced ranches and even some McMansions on this road - much too spendy both for our taste and our budget.
But this small and old house we like.
I also like the mature trees, the deer that graze and rest along the tree line frequently, and the views of the mountains in the background...........
Still more deer along both the tree line and in front of the tree near the small shed...........
Spring is finally here.  Although it does not seem like it Summer will soon by here.  
This place is beautiful.  This is where we live...........

What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.....................Gertrude Jekyll

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