Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Finally There's Pavement

Yesterday I hiked and skied awhile. The first sign of spring is here, at last. Pavement!

Not to get too excited....the Geo is still housed safely in number two storage container, at the man camp staging area. Its actually got a long set of shelves blocking me from backing it, providing I hook the battery cable correctly and it turns over.
Not to worry, I've been told. We'll help you!
Today I went skiing down the road, nearly to LaHardy Rapids. Its getting slushy, so early morning or evening skis are the only way it's pleasurable anymore. Getting really sticky out there.
After I got past the fishing bridge intersection, I climbed a slight rise, came to the Hayden Valley opening. I glanced down. A coyote was traveling the road too. I watched the river, ducks and a few birds were also enjoying the warm weather.
I glanced down, what's this? first I thought it was a wolf's, cause just the front toes showed in the wet snow. Closer inspection and a tenth of a mile later and I knew I was following a griz. I bent down, measured with my hand. Nearly two lengths of my hand, the claws clearly visible.
I scanned a 360 view. Nothing in sight. My bear spray was in my pocket. I continued. Another quarter mile, on and off, the prints followed the road. Suddenly things changed. Little prints, little tiny cub prints now wove in and out of the larger ones. I realized the cub's prints hadn't shown up in the rough plowed sections, or the hard back along the center. Once this baby joined its mother in the slushy stuff, the prints were clear as day.
I paused. Scanned again. Nothing. I kept going, The Rapids were up there just a bit. A strange smell caught my attention., I paused again, inhaled deeply. Blood. A fresh carcass.
Whoa, this was getting more serious. I watched the tracks increase along the river bank, heading north. I decided, prudently remembering my own mortality, that today I had skied far enough.
I turned around, headed back to Lake Yellowstone. Five to six miles all told.

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