I promised myself that I would add one of these stories here every time I told one. I tell them at one point or another throughout the summer. There will be no chronology - not yet anyway - nor will there be much of a schedule. You never know; I might add a story every day and I might not. This is my life. Every day is an adventure.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Strange Doings on my Trail Today

Ever since getting off work, I've kept up my walks to where we park the boats. When it started raining nonstop, it was twice a day to keep the boats bailed out and floating. When the water got high enough, we were able to float them out over where they'd be parked, but they still needed to be bailed until the water went down enough so I could pull the plugs and let nature take it's course. Course, by the time I could pull the plugs it had stopped raining, but it still might.

Regardless of needing to bail the boats, I kept up my walks mostly because I like to walk and it's a destination, about a quarter mile, I'm told, so that's a half mile walk a day - not bad. Besides, it gives me a chance to spy on the doings of some of the creatures who decide to cross my path. Since I've been done with work, I've been hollered at three different times by those little black and gray tweety birds. None of them were there the next trip and it was silent again. I miss their constant chatter. I hope they move back in greater numbers.

I also know there is a young bull moose hanging around. I've seen and heard him two different times. Poor little guy; he's going to have a hard time finding a girlfriend. The big boys don't play nice and they don't like to share, not that there are many around, none that are available anyway. I did see a cow and a baby calf, or rather my husband saw them. By the time I was looking in the right place, she was gone. I did get to follow her tracks down the trail once; that's why I know her calf was little. I must have only been minutes behind her, because I got the chance to see her try to swim the river, but she headed back; I'm thinking her calf wasn't willing to brave all that water. It was still high, plus she may have spotted me talking to a guy in a boat who was lost by about 15 miles - the high water had him confused.

Well that pretty much catches you up to today. This time of year, bull moose are going into rut. They have this plaintive little bleat that sounds so sad. And that is not age dependent; they all do it this time of year - about the only sound they ever make. The cows' call is longer, more of a call, though they still sound like a baby calf (of the beef variety). Another thing bulls will do is shed the velvet on their antlers. This has got to itch every bit as much as a child teething. They will dive into some available brush and just thrash it. I've seen some of this along my trail this year too.

Today I found another bush thrashed and the tracks of a moose in something of a hurry. His tracks were pretty far apart and they displayed full dewclaws with each step. He wasn't running, but he was sure moving out.

My first clue that something might be kinda out of the ordinary was just down the trail and around the corner where it's still running some water across the trail from all the rain we had, I saw what could only be a wolf track. If it wasn't a wolf, it was a pretty big dog. I put my hand in more than one print (I found more down by the boats), and if you pretend I don't have any fingers after the mid-knuckle, that's how big his feet were. (To clarify: two finger sections off for each finger and one section off for the thumb) Anyway, Bigfoot to say the least. The first such I've seen for years, and by far the closest.

So, was moose chasing wolf? Maybe. Was wolf chasing moose? Also maybe. Did moose catch wolf scent and beat feet? Also a possibility. What actually happened? It is impossible to tell.

The oddest thing I saw today along my trail was a rub or drag spot. Only moose tracks were readily visible in this area, but it looked like something had hit the ground pretty hard and then was drug or pushed for maybe a couple feet. It also smelled pretty strongly of pee. Now if we were talking about dogs (labs I hear are the worst) I'd say they rolled in the pee, but we're talking about moose, and to the best of my knowledge, bulls don't roll in the cow's pee. They get kinda nutty, but not that. By the tracks in the vicinity, there was no battle that might result in one being knocked off his feet and shoved for a little bit before being able to get up again. Nor was there any sign that he'd tripped. There just wasn't anything to give me a clue what that mark was. Something big had hit the ground there and then was drug for a space. There were clear hair marks in the hard mud. So yep, strange doings on my trail in the wee hours of the morning. I pretty much know the time because the mud hadn't completely settled down in the tracks across the water that's running across our trail at the one spot.

Down at the landing, I found more wolf tracks; these heading downriver. I hope he doesn't get that calf, but such is the law of nature. Maybe that's why momma was so anxious to be elsewhere. Maybe that's why I haven't seen nor heard that young bull in a while. I thought it was the little black bear that was hanging around eating all the berries. I'm not kidding; he got 99% of them. Every time I saw him, he was munching away. He'd have been good eating, but I wasn't equipped to deal with him and being maybe three, he was really too small to bother with.

Such are the happenings in my neck of the woods.