Coming home yesterday I was surprised by a large set of tracks coming from the mountain, crossing my driveway, and continuing downhill. I presumed they belonged to a man, but I had never seen human tracks on my property before, and hunting season is over. The person apparently was out for secrecy too, because instead of taking an easy route through the fields he took a wooded route equidistant from the two houses in the area. I was curious, and figured I’d follow the trail later to find out who it was.
Today I took a closer look, and was even more surprised than I thought I’d be. I followed the trail downhill (the picture shows the original tracks on the right, and mine (which go in both directions, as I walked on my own track) on the left). In places where the tracks had been protected from the wind, I could see toemarks! The tracks appeared to be too circular – human feet are of course quite oblong. And no evidence of boots anywhere. It was hard to make a definite identification – the wind had played with the tracks, there was also a coyote who followed the track and contributed his own toeprints – but I think it was the bear. He also followed almost precisely his traditional trail – the bearpath that runs right throught my property. But what is a bear doing going for a stroll in mid January? Tomorrow I plan to pack a lunch and go follow the tracks. If they lead to a house, we know they’re human. And if this is my last post ever, follow the bear tracks up the mountain, and where you find the red snow, put a lily where I met my untimely end.