Series on Tracking and Sign…

Mountain Lion

I’ve had a love of tracking ever since being introduced to it during my years doing Search and Rescue. In those days, we were largely looking for human sign to get a sense of direction or perhaps a location to start a dog.

These days the tracks I look for are of animals, and often I’m just as excited to find an indication that an animal has passed by as I am to see the animal itself. The mountain lion above was photographed in captivity, I have yet to see one in its natural habitat. It’s one of the animals that I am content to see only the tracks of! These powerful predators are the fourth largest of the cat species and can take down moose, elk, bighorn sheep and other large prey. While in their territory you’d be well-advised to look up as they are known to ambush.

My husband and I have found fresh tracks of the mountain lion on at least two occasions and spotting them never fails to send that little shiver of excitement through me.

The cat track above was located in a creek bed alongside those of a grizzly. The area had dense brush on both sides, and we left shortly after photographing them.

Tracks are but one indication that an animal has passed by. In future posts I’ll share some other signs.

Life in color…

We got up early and drove in darkness to catch this brief moment of light and color in the mountains. We don’t mind the drives—they’re a perfect combination of companionship and conversation without interruptions from phones.

It’s been the most beautiful of Octobers. Cool mornings, warm days, and many opportunities to view the colors of fall. For once, the winds haven’t snatched the leaves from the trees.

This particular place is one I’ve photographed before and hiked through the trees in the background. The mornings when the water is burnished in copper by the mountain’s alpenglow are special though. It doesn’t happen all the time.

And that beautiful red bush on the beaver lodge! How perfect…

Fall colors…

I wasn’t the only one enjoying the fall colors! This is bear #10 for the season. As always, shot with a telephoto from the safety of the vehicle then cropped. This guy was stuffing himself with snowberries and though he was well aware of our presence, he seemed satisfied that we meant him no harm. I feel privileged every time I get to see one of these in the wild.