On the morning of day 10 Tom and I discovered a spooky reminder that we weren't the only ones in the mountains.
This Mountain Lion track was nearly the size of my hand. There's a possibility that this could also have been a Jaguar track, but that would be very unlikely since their population is sparse at best. We sipped our pine needle tea that morning while searching for other tracks, and wondering where it might be now.
Later that day I decided to go on another hike. I knew that the "ridge trail" was not far from where we were camped, and it was the first time in days that I had enough energy to complete such a hike. We weren't taking in many calories but the new shelter style was really helping me to get more sufficient rest.
I followed the valley for a couple of miles before cutting up into the mountain towards the ridge trail. It was easy to navigate this area as long as I stuck to the washes. I soon found a deer trail, and took it all the way to the top. Near the ridge trail was Sawmill Springs (a small flow of water that was adequate for refilling my bottle), and just up from Sawmill Springs I made the following video after discovering sign of another large carnivore.
I could see about 20 yards down the trail in either direction, and it was completely paved with bear scat. I tried to count the turds, but I decided to stop around 237. It was insane how much carnivore activity there was in this little stretch of mountains. I probably could have stuck around and seen a black bear, but the black bears in this specific area are known for being a bit hostile. They're just not that afraid of humans, and that's when blacks become dangerous.
In fact, my buddy Tom had to flee the area a couple of weeks later after a black bear wouldn't stop harassing him at his camp. We now refer to the area as "bear camp" and we never stay there more than 1 or 2 nights in a row.
Tom was actually able to get a video of the bear that wouldn't leave him alone. It's a bit shaky due to the fact that he was more concerned about the bear than the video.
On my way back to camp I was able to spot some coues deer. They scampered away as soon as they heard me bushwhacking, and I barely caught the flip of their tails. The wildlife of this area is astounding.
Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.
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