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Monday, January 18, 2010

Four Footed Neighbors

Late in the afternoon on Jan 10, we took our friends Jim and Jetty Boyd up for a peek at the new place. We didn't stay long, because outside, as you see, it was snowing, and our road is enough of a challenge when dry.

When we returned the next day we were rewarded by the sight of our access road across USFS land looking smooth and untouched... Pristine!

The sky was a spectacular shade of blue, the snow was brand-new and sparkling, and the trees were glowing... and we noticed that somebody had veered onto the road from the left...

I got out of the Jeep to investigate... My! What big paws you have!

A comparison view to my six and a half sized paw, looking a little frost-bitten...

Chris had pointed out this "landmark" the day before when we'd driven up to the cabin in his truck. This snowbank has been singled out for marking. And who, you might ask, would be marking territory in the north woods?

Wolves, of course. Turns out we not only share our little spot in the woods with broad-winged hawks, lots and lots of warblers, mosquitoes, black bears, mice, deer and moose (to name a few), there is also a well established pack of wolves that make their home in and around Cascade Bluff.

All we saw on Jan 11th was a long line of tracks. We followed his (or her) footprints all the way up the road, to within about 100 feet of our driveway.

Our objective on that gorgeous sunny day was to snow-shoe down from our cabin to Pike Lake Road, 3/4ths of a mile south. We succeeded and had a great time. Halfway down the slope we came upon an enormous boulder that we named Wolf Rock. This is the view from Wolf Rock of Cascade Mountain, the bluff just south and west of us.

Here is a view of our cabin from Wolf Rock... If you look right in the center of the photo you will see what looks like a little 'smiley face' that is the south-facing wall with our windows.

Everywhere we looked, we found ourselves following in the tracks of our neighbors. We made far too much noise for anything to show its head to us, but these had the deep claw marks of wolf prints at their bottoms. We also saw moose tracks, deer and hares.

We're thrilled and, quite honestly, grateful to share the space with such neighbors! We'll definitely let you all know if we see something other than these ethereal hints!

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