Sunday, November 22, 2015

Finding Mountain Lion Tracks

 One weekend we decided to go for a family hike. The kids were not thrilled, but my husband and I were so glad to get out of the house. It was chilly, but we really haven't had much snow, so we could go on trails that were higher up in elevation. Desert Boy and I were ahead, and when we left the meadow and entered the forest, we noticed some big tracks in the snow. There are only two animals that will make tracks that big around here and in that shape--big dogs and mountain lions. These tracks were all by themselves (not with a human), and there weren't any claw marks (dogs always have claw marks, cats sometimes do, but usually they are retracted), so I was pretty comfortable saying these were mountain lion tracks.

Desert Boy ran back to tell dad and Desert Girl.

We continued hiking, finding the mountain lion had also hiked on the trail. We stopped to check out the new trail signs. Hopefully there will soon be a map/kiosk at the trailhead so folks will know where these trails go.

The tracks continued along the trail, and we tried to guess when the mountain lion had walked where we were now walking.

Then we got distracted by ice on the creek. We didn't let the kids play there long, knowing the outcome would be wet, cold feet.

Eventually the mountain lion veered away and we got back to the trailhead. We still had some extra energy, so it was time to walk on the walls. And then jump across the gaps. To my surprise, Desert Boy decided to jump across a rather large gap. It had intimidated me a little, and he was much shorter. I didn't say anything, I just let him give it a try.

And he made it! With the jump and the mountain lion tracks, a pleasant hike turned into a memorable one.

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