Snowy greetings, trackers!
Saturday's trip to Timberline was beautiful and successful! It started out overcast, but the clouds cleared up enough to get some beautiful close up views of the mountain and into the valley in the other direction. As always during ski season, it was a bit of a trek at first going under the ski lifts and dodging skiers, but once the group made it past that area, it started to feel really remote, with no footprints other than our trackers and the critters they were searching for.
The snow quality for tracking was excellent, thanks to fresh snow the night before. The team found a weasel trail appearing and disappearing as it moved in and out of the tree well. Not too much animal activity was discovered further on aside from some coyote tracks which turned into the big story of the day.
The adventurous trackers followed the coyote trail as it went up a hill, turned around, then headed back down the slope. It even found a spot where it rested a bit on its haunches before taking off down the hill. Along the way, the coyote marked a few places with urine (February is mating season for coyotes) and the trail ran along the edge of a steep canyon that is probably one of the more prominent features of the landscape around there, so it's a great time and place for marking.
As they continued to follow the trail, and got to a place where they saw more coyote trails (possibly from the same animal looping back, but it could have been three trails from three animals travelling together) the group was tempted to keep following to investigate, but due to it being later in the day and the start of heavy snow, they turned back towards the cars to head home.
Continuing to keep a watchful eye for tracks on the return trip. they saw one set of Douglas squirrel tracks on their way out, confirming that these squirrels are up even where the trees start to thin out.