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On a springlike winter day, I take the dogs for a hike all over this hill. As you can see, it was a glorious day with a sky as blue as this and pleasantly cool temps.
The hill is steeper than it looks in the photo, so I walk the dogs around the side where the earth is soft and the slope gentler.
It's so quiet and we're so alone, it's an amazing feeling of peace mixed with a little fear -- black bears, mountain lions, an injury, perhaps -- who would ever know? But those feelings are soon overtaken, as they always are when we hike, of pure pleasure in the peace, quiet, and beauty of the day.
I see very little wildlife on our hikes these days. When we first moved here, the land was teeming with rabbits and we would see coyotes often and bobcats occasionally. A bear came to eat our juniper berries one night and I would always see bear tracks on our hikes and scat in my yard. And there were many, many more hawks and owls. I wonder if this is a normal cycle of life in a desert canyon. We moved here after a very rainy season and wildlife was abundant, but since then it has rained very little. I'm now keeping track of the wildlife I see in the sidebar of my blog and, so far, the count is meager compared to four years ago.
There are many interesting rocks in this canyon with sandstone in a variety of colors predominating. On our hike, I find this rock that reminds me of a miniature Giant's Kettle. When I was a child, my interpretation of these large holes in the granite cliffs and mountains in
, formed by rocks during the ice age, was of a giant stirring a soup at night in the forest, accompanied by trolls, elfs and other forest creatures from Swedish folklore. There was a Giant's Kettle in the woods close by our house and it held a great deal of fascination for me. Sweden
As I look at this rock, I think perhaps a small pebble was rotating in it to form the hole; maybe it was used by Native Americans to grind flour or spices. We have another one, not as pretty as this, sitting on our fireplace mantel.
Here we are at the top of the hill with Princess checking out the view of our house and the road that curves and then goes straight down to the main road and our mail box in front of the hills in the background.You can see our barn behind the junipers a bit right of center in this photo. I need to go up and work around there….much needs to be done and the weather is so perfect for working outside right now.
After resting a while, we slip and skid (that is I do, the dogs have four legs to balance on, after all) down to the bottom of the hill and home. All in all it was a great hike and I hope you enjoyed checking it out with us.