Friday, February 8, 2013

Seventeen Above, Bright Sun and No Wind

What better time to take a hike in the woods!

We've had so little snow this winter that we've never packed down our loop trail in the woods with snowshoes.  Hiking just in boots has been easy so far.

But we're being warned (snow lovers that we are, we can only hope!) of heavy snow and high winds coming this Sunday and Monday so we decided to strap on the snowshoes and make a wide, flat base on the trail while the snow level was not too high.


Holey moley, did we ever see heavily traveled wildlife trails in the woods.


We could identify wolf, rabbit, deer and fox tracks.  None of the tracks in the above two pictures were made by humans . . . just the wildlife we're lucky enough to have roaming our woods.

When returning to the house, Papa Pea talked me into walking out with him to get the mail.  After stashing our snowshoes, we walked out the driveway, got our mail and then hiked back in.

In the last week or so we've had a couple of fleeting glimpses of what looks to be a really good-sized timber wolf snuffling around the property.  Today we could see a line of his tracks going both ways on the driveway.


This one (between my two feet) was clear enough to give you an idea of the size of this guy.  I'll not be planning on walking our quarter mile driveway in the dark any time soon, I can promise you. 

26 comments:

Tombstone Livestock said...

that is a really big wolf print, isn't it fun to be able to identify all the critters you share the woods with.

Karen L. said...

Holy Moly .... that is one big wolf print!!! We tend to collect wolf stuff (pictures, little "statues", etc.) because our last name means "son of wolf" in Italian. However, I only wear a 6 1/2 size shoe so I guess this guy has me beat for sure. Stay safe and carry a big ..... um, "something" when you are out and about just in case he is looking for a good cook!

Sparkless said...

The only tracks we get in our yard are raccoon, skunk, dog and cat. That is a huge wolf print. I hope he was just passing through and found nothing of interest close to your house and yard. We are having a wonderful sunny day today. Makes me feel kind of bad for all those experiencing a blizzard in the east.

judy said...

you and little red riding hood better just stick around the house

Carolyn said...

Wow. Would love to see a "real" wolf in the wild. Well, maybe not by the goat & chicken pen. And I have to admit, I do LOVE snow for the fact that I can go out and see what critters have been roaming the place.

LindaCO said...

SuperCOOL picture of the wolf track with your foot for scale. Have there been any negative human-wolf interactions in your area?

Ruth Dixon said...

Love the thought of wolves... tho not with our sheep or calves, of course. Hope you get the weather you are hoping for, though also praying for everyone to be safe and smart.

Katidids said...

What a beautiful walk you had. That is quite a bit of activity on the trail. Hmmdont think I'd be walking out for the mail either, one huge paw print!

Mama Pea said...

Tombstone Livestock - That's the advantage of having snow. We'd never know of all the critters and all of the action that goes on around us if it weren't for the evidence in the snow.

We've talked about getting a trail camera or two, but haven't done that yet. I'm sure that bring some very interesting things to light also!

Mama Pea said...

Karen L. - Oh, gosh! I had to laugh at your "just in case he is looking for a good cook!" :o)

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - Don't feel bad about sunshine this time of year. We all need that! We had a beautiful day yesterday, too, although I'm sure not as warm as you did.

Our forecast is for a "big snowstorm" starting tomorrow and going through Monday afternoon. Will we really get it? Guess we'll just have to wait and see!

Mama Pea said...

judy - Good idea, my wise friend! (Now where's my red cloak??)

Mama Pea said...

Carolyn - We have both brush wolves (coyotes) and timber wolves up here. The brush wolves just look like scraggly, under-nourished dogs, but the timber wolves are BIG and majestic looking. Always a thrill to see them.

Mama Pea said...

LindaCO - There's never been a documented case of a wolf attacking a human. You do hear regular accounts of them taking dogs and cats though. Usually this happens when a dog is tied outside and can't run to defend himself.

Mama Pea said...

Ruth - Yep, there is always the threat of hungry wolves going after livestock.

We are supposed to get a "big snowstorm" starting tomorrow and going through Monday. We could use the moisture, of course, but the temp is supposed to be in the mid to high 20s so that means it will be heavy, wet snow which tends to make more problems all the way around than a light, dry snow. Will we actually get it? Who knows. But we'll be ready.

Mama Pea said...

Katidids - Unless a wolf was sick, he wouldn't seek out an encounter with a human. All the same, it does get the old heart racing when you come around a curve in the path and see one up ahead standing looking at you!

FoxyLady said...

Yes, a number of people would be surprised at just how big some of the wolves up here really are. Makes most of the dog tracks look small. It is also one of the reasons I love being retired now. I don't have to walk in the woods with a headlight on in the dark. A few close encounters in the dark, with them, can give you a few jitters! :)

Mama Pea said...

Foxy Lady - I always admired the way you went out for a walk morning and night when you were working full time. Much of the year, that had to be in total darkness! Hooray for retirement!!

DFW said...

Wow. I wouldn't go out after dark either. He/she must be huge!

Erin said...

Wow that is a huge track! I'd be armed for sure if I was out and about! Enjoy the snow and possibly snowstorm I'm seeing on the news... as long as it doesn't cause big problems!

Stephanie said...

Yikes :/ I wouldn't be going out in the dark or without a gun either. I remember when we were kids, we had a black bear come out of the woods in the middle of the night and kill 6 of our sheep. I refused to go outside after dark, without our trusty dog, for years.

Akannie said...

Nothing like the country life....we saw a bobcat again the other day, just down the road.

I love co-existing with nature.


Saw a really healthy looking coyote too, and we have foxes but haven't seen a wolf, although moons ago they were everywhere.

Be careful out there !!

Mama Pea said...

DFW - No glimpses of him/her (most probably him) in the last couple of days so he could well be 50 miles away from here now.

Mama Pea said...

Erin - We've been eagerly awaiting the "big snow" that was supposed to start around 9 this morning. Flakes just started to come down about 15 minutes ago at 4 p.m. Now to see if it amounts to something!

Mama Pea said...

Stephanie - Our one farm in the county has lost more than a few calves to the wolves. They've also lost mama cows who were killed by wolves while in labor and/or giving birth out in the fields. It's nature's way, but really tough to take the financial loss when you're a farmer.

Mama Pea said...

Akannie - We have bobcats up here, too, but I've never seen one. It does pay to keep one eye peeled (as they say!) when out and about any distance from the house.