Tracking in Algonquin – Part 2
First thing in the morning, we recapped on the harvest of yesterday’s exploration, reviewing on a map where we had come across some of our favourite discoveries.
We headed out for the day and stopped at a bent and broken chokecherry tree that Alexis pointed out, asking us what we noticed about this tree. We saw all the cherries had been picked off the tree and following some looking around, we noticed bear claw marks on the trunk of the tree, and how the branches had been broken. We had suspected the pits in the bear scat from yesterday, had possibly been cherries, but now we had proof!
We then headed down to the water and canoed out to a point of interest where half of the group had come across the remains of a moose calf the following evening on our return back to camp. We checked out the site, finding many chewed up bones scattered around the area. The area was filled with tons of wolf activity, mossy ground and the trail of a mourning mother moose. We scouted around and spent most of the day following bear trails, looking, feeling and measuring the tracks we were following.
Later we cracked open a bone to investigate what had been going on with the moose calf through assessing it’s bone marrow– had it starved to death? had it died of disease? It was a little too late to tell, but the inside of the bone did have a surprise for us!
Alexis then had us try an awareness exercise – envisioning the animals through sensory touch of the tracks, which proved a potent experience to many in the group. We shared our experience as we canoed back. Once back at the rendezvous site, we checked out some moose bones the park researchers had gathered, a good opportunity for comparing them with the ones of the calf we had seen earlier. After checking out some signs of porcupines eating plywood and taking a look at some fresh territorial bear markings on a hydro pole, we finished the day with a quiet sit spot out on the land.
At the end of the weekend, I was filled with a whole new pile of information to let sink in and a deep sense of amazement and gratitude for the depth and experience of life.
Sunday, August 30, 2015 – Written by: Lianna Vargas – 2nd year Tracking Apprentice