The shortest and coldest days are upon us in the northern hemisphere.
It hasn’t been above freezing for a while now. To make matters worse, on one of the coldest nights when temperatures were below zero on the Fahrenheit scale, the power went out for about 7 hours. No heat during that time.
I’m still very busy with work and haven’t had much time for hiking or photos.
I was able to grab a short hike one afternoon this past week. The temperature was 8, but I was dressed fairly warm. No one had been on the trail so mine were the only human footprints. I did note there were quite a few deer tracks and was glad they weren’t all hunted.
After about 30 minutes, I was walking along, lost in my thoughts, as I often am on solo hikes, when I suddenly became aware that I was following the tracks, not of a deer, but of a mountain lion who was going in the same direction I was.
When a mountain lion leaves tracks, the front paw leaves a print and then the back paw steps almost exactly in the same spot, over-printing the front paw print. So much of the time it’s hard to get a good print because its been stepped on twice. Because it’s a cat with retractable claws, there is rarely a claw mark, unlike canines and bears.
After studying the track for a few minutes, I opted not to continue following it. I felt a bit chilled after seeing the size of the paw prints, especially the distance from one print to the next. That was one big kitty.