Thursday, August 16, 2012

Jamie At Beck Lake

After an unusually cool and cloudy day yesterday where LC and I spent most of the day finishing splitting and stacking wood for the winter, this morning the skies were clear and (even early in the morning) the weather was warm.
Leaving my Mountain Boy at the house I drove downtown with my pup to run errands, and then stopped at Beck Lake so that we could walk together before eventually heading towards home.
Beck Lake looks like a deceptively empty area of town.
When you first drive through the entrance leading to the park you would think that there is only the one body of water since that is all you can see from the road while driving to town.
In fact Beck Lake Park is a large rural green space, located in town, close to shopping and surrounded by multiple residential communities.
The park includes two very large fenced-in areas dedicated for dogs.  The dog park is new and was not in place this time last year, so LC and I were pleased to find it when we returned to Cody in June.
Beck Lake is the lower lake, but there is also a large reservoir known as the upper lake.
There are also picnic tables, natural viewing areas, benches, fishing piers, and nature plaques providing information about animal and plant life in the area.
Some of the area is treeless but much of it provides ample shade for park visitors.
An extensive series of paved trails, roads and walkways circumnavigate both lakes, and this park is used by walkers, joggers, picnickers, fishermen, nature lovers, little ones playing in the children's park, and dogs running and playing in their private and secure fenced-in areas.
And even though the McDonalds sign is visible from the park and stands (from this vantage point) directly in front of the view of Heart Mountain, it is still a quiet and very pretty natural area in the center of town.
As I stood beside the truck with my pup I spent just a few moments scanning the area from the overlook that was directly in front of me, and then looked over to see Heart Mountain.
Two days ago Cody was completely enveloped in smoke from the huge number of wild fires that are raging throughout the west.  Yesterday it was cold, windy and cloudy.  Today the weather was clear and warm but not hot.  It was a beautiful morning to walk with my dog.................
Adults and kids fishing from one of two piers that are located in this section of the park.................
When I first set out with Jamie I had no goals in mind other than to just walk.
Walk maybe a long distance, but maybe also a short distance, and I would let my dog take the lead.
When she wanted to stop we stopped.  When she wanted to turn we turned.  It was a beautiful, increasingly sunny, and not too warm morning and as I watched my dog I knew that she was having a wonderful time.
She adores walking, sniffing everything, exploring everything.
I had water and a bowl in my pack with me, so if she wanted to be outside for a long time we were good-to-go.............
For the first 20 minutes we were on paved trails I found myself introspective, not really paying attention to my surroundings, thinking, distractedly watching my dog.
At the end of one walkway we had the option to continue ahead or turn to the left.
Without consciously dwelling on choices I knew that my feet and her feet would take us somewhere so it was not worthy of much consideration.
But as we approached the intersection of trails I began to notice the terrain around me.
Heart Mountain dominates as always, but there is also nowhere that you can travel in Cody without Cedar and Rattlesnake Mountains being in view.
I looked up from the walkway and for the first time that day really looked around me.
It wasn't the terrain that pulled me briefly out of introspection.
It was the color of the terrain.
Suddenly I realized that the world was made up of a faded and muted multitude of colors.
Light blues, light greens, light browns, light greys.
They were all suddenly layed out in front of me.
I had been to Beck Lake at least a handful of times since we arrived back in Cody in June.
Had this place always looked like this or was it just tricks of the light?
Regardless, on this day I found the complex blend of muted colors suddenly and amazingly beautiful.
Together we turned left.....................
Another woman walking with her dog, and with Heart in the background.................
More pastels and subdued and pale colors.
That was the theme of our walk this morning and as James and I continued to wander pathways I realized that I had taken this park for granted.
It was a very serene place.....................
I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but was enthralled by its pale green, almost white, leaves, and its white berries.
As I inspected the tree more closely I wondered if the closed white pods would turn into fruit or flower.
I resolved to watch these trees over the next few months to see what I could learn about them...............
Dry and beige BLM land was all around us, but at the park (with its lake, its reservoir and its irrigation canal) there was much that was green and lush..............
A small plane coming in for a landing at Yellowstone airport.
Many many (many) small private planes land every single day during the summer at the small airport located across the highway from the park..................
By the time Jamie and I had walked and wandered and picture-taken for a little over an hour, and by the time we had circumnavigated most of the reservoir, I pulled my sweet girl onto this pier.
She contentedly sat down beside me and I dug out her dish and bottle of water, while she watched me closely and knew and understood exactly what I was doing.
As she drank Jamie sat on the pier by my bench seemingly in no big hurry to continue on, and I reached down and patted her on top of the head and then rubbed her ears the way I know from 12 years of experience that she likes so much.
Jamie was such a good dog.  Such a sweet girl.  And for a long while I alternated looking out over the quiet water and softly talking to my quiet pup.
I looked out over the water some more wondering just how we were back in Wyoming 
No answers to the wondering just as there are no answers for anything else these days.
It was time to move on..................
We were close to the entrance to the park but our truck was parked at the far end of the park, so we still had another 20 or so minutes more of walking left to do.
As we walked down the long series of wooden steps that would take us from the upper lake to the road that separated the upper and lower lakes, I looked again out over the mountains that were reaching into the sky off in the distance.
For a second I was stunned to see him.  And then I realized that there two hims.
Two bucks wandering through the parking lot.
I reached for the side pocket of my pack to grab for my camera and snapped this picture before a car slowly drove by and scared them back down the hill, into the grass and towards Beck Lake..................
Jamie and I quickly walked through the parking lot and then alongside the road hoping to catch sight of them again.
I never did see the second one, but this male sat for a brief moment in the grass before quickly standing up again, and slowly trotting away and behind the trees.................
By the time James and I found our way back to the truck we were both hot, and I pulled on my hot and tired pup's leash so that we could sit under the structure where we had started our walk 90 minutes before.
She needed to drink again before we headed for the house.
A link to a visit LC, James and I took to Beck Lake Park at the end of April last year, when there was snow on the ground and we had the park to ourselves:
Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in...........Mark Twain

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