I had the day off and Aubrey was at preschool,so I decided to go search for some sheds. Wales Preserve is a nature preserve that isn’t well known. Its nice because I know I can hike here and not see anyone else. I strapped on my spikes and headed off down the trail. Right off the start I followed rabbit tracks down towards the river. They were everywhere and the conditions was perfect for viewing tracks. There is was a base of hard packed snow with a light fresh layer on top so that all the animals left their little footprints everywhere. I could have easily walked without my microspikes, but I feel much more secure when I wear them, so I kept them on (plus I like how they sound against hard packed snow).
Once the trail dipped down to follow Gridley River, you could see the tracks of all the forest animals scurrying from the the woods down to the river. I was hopeful I would witness one of these animals in their play but sadly they all eluded me. I found a track that I am fairly certain is a beaver sliding its tail along the snow as it followed the edge of the river, and then at one point I saw it disappear into the water.
However I wasn’t there for tracking animals, I was there to look for sheds. I know from past years that deer frequent the area. There are many areas where deer yard for the winter. There is plenty of small greenery for them to nipple, and signs of them hoofing the ground to dig up more plant life, and plentiful access to the water. I saw several older tracks from deer but nothing significant since the last snow. I checked more down branches than I care to admit, hoping that one would be a shed. Since I haven’t found a shed (YET!), I would hate to pass one by because I thought it was just a stick. I thought I found one that was promising. It took some courage to get to. It was right along the bank of the river, down a steep embankment. It was away from trees and whiter than a tree branch. I was cautious as I didn’t want to fall in the river, I knew I would manage to get out, but it would have been a miserable hike back out to my car. I carefully lowered myself down the bank and gently nudged it with my boot. Sadly, it was wood as it splintered away on impact. So I quickly climbed back up. I am hoping my tracks disappear before the next hiker heads out that way, I would hate for them to see it and think that someone had fallen into the river!
It was a great morning for a walk in the woods. Even though I didn’t find any sheds, it was still great morning to spend by myself.