Snow!

It finally snowed today – almost three weeks later than it normally does here. When it was all over, there wasn’t much on the ground, but it’s a start! It was Bella’s first snow and she was pretty excited. We headed out onto the trail as usual and she was jumping, then rolling and then running with her nose right to the ground.

Of course I had to take a picture of the river. Here it is two nights ago:

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And here is the river tonight, just 48 hours later:

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Notice the new ice and how much darker it is? These river pics are all taken at about the same time. At this time of the year we lose close to 7 minutes of daylight every 24 hrs. While it’s true that some creatures settle into the long sleep of hibernation, the tracks in the new snow told another story.

On the bridge, a snowshoe hare curiously ran back and forth. His stride was normal so he wasn’t being pursued by a predator. It was as if he just couldn’t believe it was snowing and his winter highway was freezing up. The red squirrel who has his home, called a midden. underneath the huge spruce tree at the far end of the bridge had also been running all over. He however was stuffing snacks underneath the boards and on top of the girders. A squirrel can never have too many secret stashes!

A moose had gone down the trail not too long before me which left me on alert. A few years ago I had had an encounter with a very angry cow moose who came charging out of the bush as I passed by. She had a young calf stashed in the tall grass and she came after me with death on her mind. I was afraid I was going to run out of trail before she gave up the chase, but thankfully she suddenly whirled around and went back to her baby. The worst part was that I had to go past that same area in order to get home. I was singing and yelling and howling like a lunatic all the way back down that trail. She had no doubt that I was coming!

Various bird and vole tracks also crisscrossed the bumpy trail. The only tracks we didn’t see, thankfully, were the ones belonging to the neighborhood grizzly. He is likely stuffed full of berries and fish and counting whatever it is that bears count in order to drift off to sleep.

Here is a pic of what I call the moose swamp from two nights ago. To the left is where the cow moose came after me. The moose like this muddy, stinky little low spot. Bull moose will pee in it and then wallow – apparently it’s super sexy to the cows. The dogs love it too of course and if I am not quick enough, they leap gleefully into the disgusting muck. Now though, it’s frozen. It still smells so the dogs love to lay on the ice and wiggle and roll.

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Tonight, with the inch of snow, the ice was covered. Bella chased Sasha onto the pond and was pretty surprised when she slid right on by her quarry. It took her a few minutes to figure out that there was ice underneath the white stuff.

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Those white dots are snowflakes! Here is Bella holding still – for a second. She was waiting for Spud to pop out of the woods so she could tackle him. Spud is a weirdo. He rarely runs on the trail, preferring instead to bushwhack about 20 feet from the clear path. We have a blinking light that attaches to his collar so that when it’s dark, I don’t lose track of him. Silly dog.

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