It took fortitude to march out into the frigid air this morning. The air temperature hovered around 15°F and snow fluttered through the air. K seemed reticent, walking slowly and deliberately. On our leisurely stroll, she halted for every nuance of scent, at one point sniffing so hard that she sneezed.
Then, she stopped and looked at me imploringly. When she pins her eyes on me like this, I feel like my soul is stripped naked under her gaze.
Today, after our stroll, K seemed happy to curl up with her treat-filled kong while R and I headed out for a short snow bike ride. This was my view during most of my ride with R. The boy is so fast, agile, and graceful! I literally laugh out loud while riding behind him.
On the first day that I saw his tracks, the bear left the tracks of an animal moving fast with a definite goal in mind. His hind paws overstepped the tracks left by the front paws - an indication of a long step length and fast pace. In the photo below, you see, from bottom to top, a right hind track, a left front track, a left hind track, a right front track, a right hind track, etc. This bear was moving with purpose. My guess was that his purpose was to get to his den - it's very late for a bear to out and about.
here and here) taken by a trail camera.
In the photo below, the bear whammy tree is broken off partway up by many bears leaning backward against it over the years, and the bear trampled the snow at its base when he reared up onto his hind legs to mark it.
After I'd given up on figuring out where his den was, I received a gift - a lead on where the bear might have gone. Today, I re-found his tracks several miles away from where I'd lost him previously. I spent a long time out in the frigid and windy air today, doggedly following bear tracks.
Finally, I hit some tracks that had been left this morning! We had a dusting of snow last night, and his tracks were on top of the dust. The fact that I'd found old tracks, trampled into the snow days ago, plus new tracks made this morning, told me that the bear had a den very nearby.
I love tracking our animals! What a day!
Frequently in my life, when other things are dragging me down, nature and wildlife give me a gift. Today was undoubtedly a priceless gift from a bear!