Fresh snow means a potential tracking adventure


The plan was to squeeze some backyard sledding time in before I needed to head into the office for the evening.

And the conditions were perfect. A fresh coating of snow, a semi-warm afternoon, even a few rays of sunshine greeted my two daughters and I as we waddled out to the hillside bundled in our snowsuits.

But the sledding had to wait. At the bottom of the hill were a few sets of animal tracks crisscrossing the fresh snow.

One trail zig-zagged between woodpiles and brushy spots across the entire length of the yard. Its straight-line pattern and clawless impressions suggested house cat. The girls followed it until it crossed over into the neighbors yard and under a small shed.

“Cool. Now we know where the cat stays,” said my youngest daughter. She was already jogging towards the next set of tracks. These were left by a cottontail rabbit that meandered down along the Penns Creek and eventually to its hole.

The girls spent nearly a half-hour exploring the tracks in our backyard, and their excitement was contagious. They’ve been animal track-savvy for quite a while, but it is still neat to see their curiosity at times like this.

We did eventually get to sledding, and it was a great overall afternoon — another reminder that our outdoors offer quite a lot of healthy entertainment this time of year.

~ by zaktansky on January 10, 2014.

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