Today up on Cloud Cap in the Cooper Spur area there was fresh, powdery snow about a foot deep with a snow pack of 3 feet or so. The temperatures were in the mid 20's without sun. Since it was so cold and without sun, there was very little snow plops that had fallen from the trees to obscure tracks. Which means that almost everything that looked like a track was a track. Sometimes the snow plops that fall from trees can look deceptively like tracks so it is great news when there are little to none of these plops.
While up exploring Cloud Cap there were a lot of Squirrel tracks and much time was spent on the first set of squirrel tracks that were found because they looked a lot like weasel tracks. After much investigation the group came to discover all the squirrels were imitating weasels by placing their hinds on or very close to their fronts - thus leaving sets of two prints. These two prints were typically staggered a bit. After returning home and reading Elbroch on the subject, it was discovered that this is common for squirrels in deep fluffy snow.
The group used an interesting technique wherein they put a strong flashlight under the tracks. This helped them to see track details that were otherwise difficult to see. Fascinating! Take a look at their technique below:
What an eventful day up on the mountain. It is so nice to have snow back up on the mountain. We are all really excited and hope you are as well.