Friday, December 5, 2008
In the Nelson area I've been getting in some great tracking time. No need to come into town when you can stay on the mountain and trail such animals as cougars and wolverines!
I've had three days of epic tracking and I'll try to give you a very brief synopsis of the highlights. Two days ago after hiking to the top of a 6,000 + mountain we came across some fresh cougar tracks. On our walk we passed the tracks of many animals including marten, deer, elk, snowshoe hare, red squirrels and grouse. We decided to continue looking for some fresher sign and that's when we crossed the trail of a cougar! We followed this animal which we believed to be a female as she moved through the timber in search of her number one prey -- deer. By her movements we suspected she was hunting as she moved in a walk through the mature forests pausing every now and again to look around. In the snow this cat left some perfect impressions and we were very excited to see the detail in the tracks and move behind his silent and powerful predator. We trailed her for over a mile as she moved through this mountain wilderness. What a great tracking experience. The next day we went to a different area and came across a set of wolverine tracks crossing the road. There were some good tracks on the road, but it was quite hard to follow this animal into the forest, where the snow was quite solid and icy and the tracks became very hard to see. I have never had the opportunity to follow these animals before and it was a great chance to learn a little more about this elusive and fiesty animal known as the wolverine. I was amazed at the size of the paws and very curious to learn more about how this animal relates and utilizes the landscape. Wolverines have very large home ranges and tend to cover an incredibly amount of ground in thier travels.
This mountain paradise affords some amazing tracking and equally stunning scenery. We had clear views of the west arm of Kootenay lake and could see the Purcell mountains in the distance. Every time I come back to the Kootenays it makes me remember why I loved living here so much. It's going to be hard to leave, but eventually the wintery Algonquin woods ill be calling me home.