Interesting how the story can change in an instant.
The blog post of two days ago that documented the sighting of bear tracks in the upper reaches of Little Bald Hills Trail turned out to be something a bit more interesting.
The bnb’s resident expert in all things marine, terrestrial, and aviary — friend and neighbor Larry W. — contacted me last night. His reaction to the photo of bear tracks brought this email:
“A note on your last blog. The track in the snow appears to be left
by a mountain lion not a bear. Bears cannot retract their claws and when walking in the snow leave prominent claw marks. Cats can retract
their claws and their tracks leave no claw marks. Have a close look at
the photo….no toe nails; it was made by a lion. Also most, if not all
self-respecting bears are now in hibernation.”
So let this be a note of caution for winter hikers in the back country — know your tracks. And as Kenny Rogers might say, know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.
This new bit of information makes Sharon and Sarah’s cautionary decision to turn around and bike the more peopled and trafficked Howland Hill Road for the remainder of their day a very smart one indeed.
While it’s reassuring to know that what we call wilderness is still, in fact, wild, uncontrolled and wee bit dangerous, it pays to be alert, cautious and willing to change plans in response to the risks.
Okay, intrepid explorers. Onward!