Monday, February 21, 2011

Steam Trail

The last storm moved through Saturday night. As the sun's rays made it to the gullies of Kona's favorite trail, the ground transformed into a sauna. It was hard to capture in picture but so much water evaporated from the sides of the trail that I could have stuck my face over a pile of grass for a free facial.

Kona was content to bound through the steaming grass, coming home soaked. By the looks of my crazy dog, you'd never know it was sunny and clear outside!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Run! Rain!

We've had a series of storms move through the region this week, bringing much needed rain to what's otherwise been a very dry 2011. Thursday's forecast called for mostly sunny skies before the largest storm moved in on Friday. Kona and I were quick out the door to catch the break in the weather. Off to our local peak!

The day after rain is my favorite time for a trail run. The infamous Los Angeles skyline is washed clean, leaving sweeping views of the city.
The air feels crisp, leaving bare fingers numb. Kona also loves the scents that seem to be intensified by moisture. She was a sniffing queen.
I shed my vest quickly as we rounded switchbacks up the trail. Our rocky forest had grabbed every ounce of rain, painting the trails shades of green,
and dotting the hillsides with our first wildflowers of the season. Our dry climate doesn't support the fields of flowers that emerge late Spring and Summer in other parts of the country, so these small bursts of color are a fleeting treat.
I shuffled along, feeling stronger than I've been for weeks. My pace was slow but steady. The rains washed the top layer of sand off the trail, leaving rocks and gravel more pronounced under my feet. I kept my gaze downward to keep my footing. I asked Kona to "be my eyes," so when she froze stiff, I quickly looked up the trail.
I scanned the trail above us, the the canyon below us. Nothing. Kona still stood, muscles tense. I finally followed her gaze and spotted two deer, pushing their way up the rocks in front of us.
While we've seen deer on the top of the peak, I've never seen them work up the unforgiving slopes. In the picture below, you can see the rocky hillside that they were traveling through. Our deer may have cushy weather, but they still earn their rugged points.
When I gave Kona the OK to start moving again, she went into a sniffing frenzy. After passing the deers' tracks, Kona spent the next several minutes taking breaks to scan the landscape.
With the deer finally forgotten, we reached our peak. Ice and frost covered our vista point. (So you thought my frozen grass picture at the beginning of the season was cool, right? Well look at this! Frozen sticks!)
We were the only ones at the top. I basked in the solitude, inhaling gobs of fresh air, watching my pup explore with infectious energy.

(Yup, that's frost on that log!)
Bring on the rain!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Special Day

Kona turns three today! We celebrated with a trip to her favorite trail. I told her to follow every sniff, chase every lizard, today was her day. (With mad dashes into skin-slashing chaparral, leaps up vertical walls over 8 feet tall and bunny terrorization being exempt from the birthday offering).
It's hard to believe I brought Kona home three years ago. This past year has been transformative for me. I let go the dream of having that dog that goes everywhere with me and instead hold onto the cool canine I do have.
My job as Kona-Mama is to minimize fear, maximize fun and find safe challenges that help expand my dog's world. While that may not include evening strolls in the neighborhood or trips to the park, we're OK with that.
Here's to another year of finding more fun! Happy birthday Kona Girl!