Our intrepid weekend tracking adventurers had a fun and eventful tracking day out in the wilderness near Laurence Lake on the north side of Mt. Hood that ended with a pretty full tally data sheet by the end of the day trip. When the group set out on their journey the temperatures were hovering slightly about the freezing point. .
They set out right at the old Laurence Lake campground site and the first animal sign they encountered was a fresh beaver chew at the edge of the lake, which is featured in the picture to the right.
What a great find!
Upon discovering this example of Beaver sign, the group wondered about beaver winter cycles and did some research wherein, they learned that beavers don't hibernate. Instead, the mostly stay in their lodges or burrows and feed off of food caches of sticks that they collect and stash underwater during the warmer months of the year. If Beavers are out and about currently, which this fresh chew indicates, it must be a sign that we are seeing that spring is beginning to spring. At the end of the day, our tracking team spent more time on the water and continued to find more signs of recent beaver activity. They even spotted what they believed to be food caches. Look at the stick piles under the water in the photo below:
After leaving the lake's edge and doing some more hiking and exploration, the group was rewarded with a beautiful fresh bobcat trail, and a set of squirrel tracks. Later on, they found an unusual set of snowshoe hare tracks; the gait was unusual and there were deep foot drags present. What do you think tracking detectives? Could this have been a wounded rabbit? And then, as if coyote and deer scat weren't enough, the team finished a perfect day with a rainbow laden snow shower on the way home!