Cascadia Wildlife Blog
News from the Wolverine Tracking Project and more
Greetings all! My name is Leah Rivendell and I am a trip leader for the Wolverine Tracking Project. This blog was created as a way for volunteers and trip leaders to share their experiences and pictures from tracking trips they participate in. For the first entry I will be sharing with you my experiences and impressions from my very first Wolverine Tracking Project trip that I participated in as a volunteer. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to share your own stories from your tracking trips with us all. We greatly look forward to hearing about your adventures, especially those from this upcoming 2013-2014 tracking season. If you are interested in sharing your experiences please e-mail your typed up journal entry as well as any pictures you would like to share to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post your entry to this blog. Happy tracking everyone!!
My first outing for Cascadia Wild's Wolverine Tracking Project was as a volunteer in the winter of 2011-2012. I had been eagerly anticipating my first tracking trip so I could get out and put into practice all that I had been learning about tracking. Paul Schertz was my group's trip leader and we headed out to a place called Teacup Lake. Below you will find a map of the area where we did our tracking for the day.
We arrived at our destination at 10 a.m. The day was clear and gorgeous with a nice layer of freshly fallen snow from the previous evening. Everyone on this trip had previously been on a tracking trip so I was the only newbie. As the newest member I was assigned the task of being the navigator for the day so I armed myself with a map and compass and lead the way off the trail into the freshly fallen snow of Teacup Lake. We found a large number of tracks on our day's journey. About 5 minutes into our hiking we found some Mustelid tracks. After measuring the tracks, analyzing the gait, consulting tracking guides, and an open discussion we concluded that the tracks were those of a Long-tailed weasel. How excited I was to find Mustelid tracks so soon into our tracking adventure! I loved how all the participants put our heads together to try and figure out what animal the tracks belonged too. I realized at that moment that we a group of like minded people and how nice it feels to be in the company of like minded people. The community of Cascadia Wild trip leaders and volunteers are so inviting and kind. I'm really happy and proud to be apart of this wonderful community.
After our initial discovery we found countless Snowshoe hare and squirrel tracks. I quickly learned that you will find an abundance of Snowshoe hare and squirrel tracks on these tracking trips. As the day continued on we found less and less tracks but the ones we did find were very interesting. I found some find impressions in the snow that looked like a bird wing impring. After discussing what possibly could have created those impressions, a Gray jay flew to the ground 5 feet from our group. It stuck its head in the snow to retrieve a nut, flapped it's wings leaving behind a wing imprint in the snow and then flew off. Mystery solved!
Another interesting find was a long trail of Coyote tracks that were fresh. We followed it for over a quarter of a mile. There were different gaits exhibited in this trail so it was fun puzzling through what the animal might have been doing or reacting to. Near the end of the trail we found that the Coyote had some sporadic movements and turned around. We realized that there was a cross country skiing trail close by and concluded that the Coyote must has been scared off by some cross country skiers coming down the trail. I had a great time trying to do some detective work with this excellent track trail that we found. All the pieces of tracking came together as I was analyzing this lengthy trail.
Night began to approach and so we concluded our tracking trip for the day. We did not find any Wolverine tracks in the end but we found a lot of interesting tracks and got to put our tracking skills to the test which was a lot of fun! I could hardly wait to get back up to the mountain to do more tracking. I was hooked and I have been ever since that day. ^.^
Here are some picture from my first tracking trip with Cascadia Wild for you all to enjoy. Please take a look: