Sharon and I went for a walk in the winter woods today. It was too lovely to be indoors, really. Some of our guests were out on snowshoes.
We saw tracks where some had also been by on skiis. And back at the rink, there was a whole lot of skating going on, but we -- well we were out there in the silence and the sunshine just remembering that we need to inhale.
It was fabulous. We found where the bear had signed the trees. The big beech trees with their smooth gray bark that often gets the name of 'elephant legs' record any scrapes made on them. Sharon found one tree where the bear had stood up and flexed his paw into the bark. Big bear! She was happy to know that this time of year the bear are all tucked snug in their winter dens.
A close look at this tree shows where young bears with smaller paws have scrambled all the way to the top. That is where the beech nuts are. Tasty things, beech nuts. The deer enjoy them too, but have to wait until they fall to the forest floor.
Bears don't have to wait. They can climb. That is a very tall tree. That is a very long climb for little legs!
We found squirrel tracks, rabbit tracks, and the teensy trails left by mice (dragging their little tails) and vanishing under the snowbanks. We also found plentiful sign of deer, where they are yarding together in the hemlock forest.
Taffy was deleriously happy to be out there in the sunshine, with all the wonderful smells that a dog can find in a woodland walk. Check out those ears!
For all the animal tracks we saw, it wasn't until we got home to Bondi that we found someone still standing in their tracks -- that was one of the deer, who was happily vacuuming up seeds at one of the bird feeders.
It was, as Taffy wrote in her diary, a GREAT DAY!
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