Today's stupendous blue sky helped me to climb out of the stupor of fatigue and pain. K helped too, with her enthusiasm for exploring. When I finally crawled out of bed very late today, I didn't feel like doing anything but my K's gold eyes followed me, patiently waiting for signs that we were about to start our hike. I couldn't let her down...
Following the path of least resistance, we walked in the trampled furrow toward the meadow. A maze of coyote tracks criss-crossed our deep crease in the snow. Last night, the coyotes had been able to walk on the crust of the snow. It's not too surprising that we saw myriad coyote tracks as they've been meandering near our house since yesterday. Here, a coyote posed for one of my wildlife cameras.
Once we waded into the meadow, only one set of coyote tracks remained, and K found them fascinating. So, I followed her instinct and started tracking the coyote. The coyote tracks are barely visible to the right of K in the photo below.
As we followed, the coyote tracks headed straight for this beehive rock, a layered dome that sits on the edge of the meadow and on the edge of private property.
Much to my surprise, bobcat tracks began paralleling the coyote tracks. In the photo below, the left set of tracks were left by a galloping coyote and the right set were left by a carefully walking bobcat.
When we finally reached our destination after tromping across the meadow of deep snow, both coyote tracks and bobcat tracks focused on the beehive rock.
Then some tracks led to a tiny hideaway between some low pine trees and the beehive rock. Nestled in the protected spot, we found where either a coyote or a bobcat slept recently. I'm betting on a coyote but I'm not certain. The animal is shedding for springtime and left a thin layer of fur all over the bed.
Then, I focused on the bobcat tracks, which seemed to circumnavigate the beehive rock, but I couldn't go onto the private property to see exactly what the cat had done. However, I could see that her tracks eventually rocketed straight down the beehive and returned to the meadow, sauntering to the west and veering to examine every boulder.
Once we'd climbed above the meadow, we could see that the bobcat had climbed to the apex of the beehive from the private property. We'd seen her tracks on she descended from this prominent viewpoint.
We kept following the bobcat's tracks, and she followed almost exactly the same route as many times before. She ducked under a barbed wire fence in her usual spot and marched past the tunnel dug by rabbits going to their den. I was surprised that she wasn't more interested in this gourmet restaurant.
She stopped at a scent post that I've noticed before. Miss Bobcat left a fresh scraping of pine needles with her very own scent atop them. This marking tells other bobcats that there is "no vacancy" in this rich territory.
Just beyond this scent post, we crossed a human trail. The bobcat joined the packed trail and I lost her tracks in the midst of a confusing mosaic of dog tracks.
I decided to head up toward the ridge where the bobcat had gone last time she followed this route. We contoured just below the ridge, winding among randomly scattered boulders, thinking that her tracks would have to cross mine if she'd headed over the ridge and into the same dense forest as on past forays.
Although we made it all the way into the depths of the forest, we never found anymore bobcat tracks. I suspect that the clever cat knew that the snow would be deep in this forest.
Although it was leg burning hard work to attain the ridge, it was worth it. We sat in the sun, enjoying our incredible world. What a view.
And, what a best furry friend. I love K - especially on days like today when I need her to energize me! What would we do without our dog friends? I don't want to think about it.