Friday, January 23, 2015

Afternoon tracking and a visit to the ice cave

I wanted to hike back to a place we call the 'ice cave'. Depending on the amount of snow and melting and freezing that occur during the winter, this rock formation can have some incredible ice formations.

Hubby thought he'd do something different also.  He got his varmint rifle and camouflage on.  He was going to hunt coyote, while I tracked for coyote in different parts of a large tract of land.

We parted ways at the our creek and I continued on.
I was going to look for raccoon, coyote, deer, and any other tracks I could find while we still had snow.

I was still hunting the elusive coyote dens.  I wanted to know where the coyotes were the busiest this winter. With good reason, they would see Morris as nothing more than a mere snack and an impostor now that it is coming on to the mating season for them.

Not far up the trail that leads to the top of the ridge I did come across very a large coyote track.
At least I think it was.

I'm not sure if this track is similar in size to the one I found last week.

Here is a shot of that one again.

From now on I'll bring my mini tape measure.

The track got quickly mixed up with deer and other tracks including squirrels and rabbits.

Rabbit track:

I crossed what we fondly call the 'Velodrome' which was planted last year, but I'd call the crop a pretty miserable failure as it never made it to harvest.

I hurried down to the ravine where the ice cave was. There was a small 'ice falls' but not much of one.  I found a safe area further down the ravine to climb down and study the tracks at the bottom.

I thought that I'd finally spotted a coyote den.

When I walked up above it and peered at the tracks, it was obvious that it was another raccoon den.

But the 'falls' were still worth the trip.

I circled the ravine and came up so I could walk across the small section of rock that made the top of the ice falls.
I looked down and was able to see the well traveled trails of the raccoon in the dirt and snow.

It is hard to tell the depth and steepness of this ravine but it is deep

The view from the top is pretty deceiving.  But at this point I am still half way below the ridge behind me.
The back valley creek lays at the very bottom of this ravine.

The weather folks had called for rain/sleet/and ice so I turned around and headed back home.

I took the snowmobile trail down into the first valley so I could find my husband without disturbing what he was doing.

Imagine my surprise when I found the 'hot spot' of coyote tracks.

I found so many tracks where I hadn't seen any just a few days before.  The coyotes were on the move and it meant that I'd have to either leave Morris at home or keep him very close for our hikes for the next two months.

I think I actually enjoyed walking slowly and trying to figure out the tracks of animals more than anything else.

I found hubby and we headed towards home together. He'd used the e-caller and nothing had come in. We both agreed that our long afternoon in the woods had been very enjoyable.

If the weather holds, I plan on hiking to the back valley to walk it and perhaps get some nice photos.
It is another difficult place to get to, but well worth the hike.

I used to ride back there with Badger all of the time. The cattle are now long gone from this land and the brush is taking over making it difficult to get through unless you are on foot.

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