This afternoon was a beautiful day for a Woods Walk with one of my boys. We wanted to see what sign we might follow behind our house and practice some knots. At about 4pm We Took To The Woods (a fantastic book by the way). The snow was quite thick in places but packed enough where we easily moved through the woods in just our boots.
We almost immediately found where a Grey Squirrel has been enjoying regular meal-times and leaving piles of acorns as evidence.
We headed for the pond. I was curious to see if there was any beaver activity. On the way there we came across Grey Fox tracks. The tracks were narrow, but not narrow enough and the strides were too short to be a Red Fox. It’s always exciting to find Fox sign. We’ve just passed their peak breeding season so we’ll soon see little Kits popping their heads out of dens and rolling & tumbling in the woods while Mama keeps a sharp lookout and Papa is off hunting.
The Fox made its way over the pond, so we didn’t follow as the ice is not trustworthy any longer. We didn’t find any Sign of the Beaver so we moved to a young growth of White Pines to see what may have been bedding down. It was strange that there hadn’t been much traffic as there normally is but we soon discovered why. A Raccoon tangled with a Fisher, and lost, bad. The scat nearby, was long and thin which pointed towards a Fisher. Critters don’t like frequenting where a Fisher has recently dined.
We carried on in thoughtful silence (AKA we were hunting Orcs while trying to find Merry & Pippin) to a stand of Red Pines, where the afternoon sun made us pause to soak in our surroundings. We both took a deep breath and realized that the woods had welcomed us. Which is an incredible feeling – and when it happens, you just know it and it’s difficult to describe, except to say that you are suddenly aware and feel that everything around you is alive and in perfect worship of its Maker. Our walk had just been justified and the time was well spent together.
We found a section of barbed wire fence that was still fastened to cedar posts and decided this was where we wanted to practice tying knots.
We had packed three 6’ lengths of ⅜” double braided nylon dock line and a couple books, “What Knot” by Budworth & Hopkins and “The Essential Knot Book For Boats” by Colin Jarmin into my Hill People Gear Umlindi pack.
We practiced the Clove Hitch, Pile/Post Hitch and the Bowline until they could be tied without the book. We had a good laugh when the knots fell apart or we kept making “wrong turns”.
When we had enough, we cleared out and made our way back home in another direction. We came across a Chipmunk tracks and followed them to their home in an old, dead standing Red Oak.
As we made our back, we checked on dens that have previously housed Fox families but we found no further sign. We decided that we need to get out in the woods again real soon to follow up on Spring’s arrival.
Thank you for reading!
We’re very excited at the prospects of hiking & camping season being just around the corner! Keep a sharp lookout in our Upcoming Events for hikes & Woods Walks. Don’t be shy if you’d like to book your own with us!
Kasey Marsters “Fox”
May The Woods Welcome You