Our intrepid trip leaders went tracking this past weekend in the forest around Pocket Creek, on the southeast side of Mt. Hood. With the exception of light dustings of powder in the clearing the snow conditions were... pretty darn terrible. With The Wolverine/Forest Carnivore Tracking Project characteristic spirit, though, we made the most of the day focusing on animal sign rather than tracks, and came back with data on bear, and elk without ever seeing their tracks, as well as tallying squirrels and making snowshoe hare track casts.
At around 4,000 feet, the Pocket Creek area is situated in the Silver Fir forest zone, so we were surrounded by a great mix of Western Hemlocks, Cedars, the occasional White Pine, and of course, Silver Fir!
Paul's cool technique of illuminating tracks from under the snow with a flashlight really brought out the detail on this snowshoe hare track:
Paul really wanted to save the track for later so he poured a plaster cast! I'm sure many of you remember the plaster track casts from training, and we have Paul to thank for quite a few of them. Thanks Paul!
Can you spot the animal sign in this picture? Hint: Chris is pointing at it.
We trip leaders pooled our knowledge and are fairly certain this is a bear marking!
Thanks for staying in touch and for tracking with Cascadia Wild! We are excited to see what the rest of this winter tracking season has in store for us.