American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Ryerson Woods

I managed to get into the woods yesterday with a full pack and spent a couple of hours enjoying the warmer weather, the clear skies, and the quiet of nature. There was still quite a bit of mud on the trail but no more standing water. The mud did allow some easy track identification which you'll see below.

Spring is finally coming to the local woods. The snow is mostly gone and the creeks are beginning to flow once again.
The Nalgene bottle wrapped with tape provides me with water for hydration and cordage and tape in case of emergency. It also makes a quicky handle/hanger for the bottle should I need to go hands-free. Here it is hanging from a sapling as I readjusted my pack and other gear to get a bit more comfortable.
This is typical of what I saw today. Lots of dreary colors filled with explosions of activity from the local squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and robins.
Notice how the coyote tracks mirror the deer tracks. Just out of the top of this frame was an indication that the coyote had attacked the deer who lept hard to the left off the trail and into the woods. There were two additional distinct sets of coyote tracks coming from the other direction at that point.
I was shocked at how clear the creeks were today. You could easily see to the bottom regardless of the depth. The river, on the flip side, was so muddy and murky that it took me 15 minutes to decide whether or not I was seeing a beaver in the water.
I shot a picture here of the sandy bank to see if I could identify the strange larger impressions when I realized that there was what I suspected to be an opossum "handprint" right between the impressions. Looking at it further, however, I'm no longer so sure. It appears to have only four toes while opossum forefeet have five. Muskrat maybe?
It's warming up but it's no where near warm yet. This creek was flowing but still frozen toward the top of the frame.
This is the "Holy Cow!" shot of the day. Look at the tree trunk. The tree must have been 60-70 years old based solely on the trunk diameter and height. It was twisted over and over until the very fibers of the trunk separated. This only fell within the past couple of months. We've had some strange weather but I don't recall hearing about a tornado touching down so close to home.
The folks at Ryerson tap the maple trees every year and then make syrup out of the sap. They bring in students and teach them about the whole process. I caught the sap just as it dropped from the tap into the bucket. I did not dip my hand into the bucket for a taste. I would've but feared getting kicked out of my favorite local woods...

My pack weight is 20.5 pounds and would provide enough gear for an extended trip to the wilderness. It includes no food and only a little water. Where most of the weight comes from I don't exactly know. I do know, however, that the weight was tolerable while moving and wonderful to remove.

Thanks for reading,



At 3:38 PM, Blogger Pablo said...

Great post. Love the track IDs. I wish I could help but I haven't a clue about N. American tracks.
You're lucky to have access to woods like this.


Post a Comment

<< Home