I have this bad habit. The army tried to break me of it, but in truth, they didn't do a very good job. I watch where I walk, and by association I watch the ground all around. Because of that habit, I notice tracks. I like to think I can identify quite a few tracks. I've got a really rather good book with several nice drawings.
There's always been one puzzle rattling around in the back of my mind. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered about something. Do you remember the show, Daniel Boone? There was this one episode where an Indian woman was teaching Daniel's son (I think) how to track. While the boy's eyes were closed she walked around the woodpile. As she walked around the pile, she picked up a log in one hand, switched it to her other hand, and then replaced it on the pile. Of course the first thing the boy said when he told her what she'd done was "So, you walked around the woodpile, so what." or something of that nature. But that wasn't good enough. Looking closer at her tracks, he could tell she'd picked up something, he could tell when she switched hands, and he could tell when she put it back down. I always wondered how that was possible. It has been a mystery that has been hanging onto a tiny corner in the back of my brain for all these years.
Well, I think I've figured it out. I love snow, especially the packable kind. It lets me see tracks clearly. Did you know that if you're carrying something heavy in one hand, no matter how carefully balanced you are, both feet point toward the load to some degree. A tiny detail I didn't know. Now a years old mystery has found an answer.
In other tracking news. The other day, on my walks down to pack the runway, I think I saw martin tracks. The spacing was about the same as what a cat might make but the feet were like four times the size of a cat's feet and because of that, the tracks sank only a couple inches in the fresh snow.
I also saw the tracks of a young moose - very young, though not too young to be on his own. Normally he'd be hanging around his momma for another year but he wouldn't be dependent on her for food. I wonder what happened to her. But such is life and he has a good chance of making it. There's not many wolves or coyotes around here and he wasn't having any trouble finding something to eat - the snow isn't that deep.