THE BEAUTY OF JANUARY.....
The snow continues to shape our outings. Not much melting is going on, and the brilliance of shining snow dims the eyes. I've found not only the usual tracks of deer, porcupine and numerous small rodents, but now snowshoes and skis are creating their own history of who is out enjoying the snow. I did get down to the north end of the island, starting off at Sanddollar Beach where I found my first sanddollars of the new year! I proceeded on over to the beach at Bounty Cove, scaring several deer as I carefully picked my way over snow covered.....well, everything! It is hard to tell if there is a stone, tree stump or other obstacle under that snow, so I go slow. I followed deer tracks over and down to Sailboat Beach deciding to test a theory. I may have asked you on our treks if anyone had ever seen what the deer do on our beaches. Are they after salt, seaweed, or just finding a clear space to move ahead? A friend who lives on Totman Cove with a clear view of the campground's shore told me recently that she once saw deer eating seaweed! It was low tide, and during the winter when food sources are more scarce. She saw deer on Sanddollar Beach and using binoculars determined that they were eating seaweed! I didn't dispute her word, but on this day, I followed deer tracks down to the tidepools. There, I couldn't decide if the seaweed had been pulled or disturbed. I'll have to take her word for it.

During this outing, I must have seen about ten deer in several small groups. It was interesting to see where their tracks stopped, and more often than not they would pause at the branches of fir trees to bite off some tasty needles. I think I've mentioned before the tracks would also accumulate under Winterberry shrubs. There were also signs of their seeking the last of the apples for food. Once I looked down among all the tracks and saw something red.......it turned out to be an apple, not blood stained snow.

I left the beaches, and followed the Orange Trail markers southward. There was a lot of porcupine activity along the edge of the cliffs bordering that trail, but I didn't detect any animals. I didn't venture down over those cliffs that I know have dens for these rodents. I continued to where the White Trail heads to the west and made my way to the shoreline. It was there that I took the picture on the home page. I made my way to a point where I could look down at that rocky cove. I didn't detect anything worth descending for, plus snow covered a good bit of the cove. We are back to tides that don't cover and uncover a lot of the shoreline. My tracks reversed and I safely climbed out of the forest in one piece, thank goodness.

Our days are getting longer as January walks through its last days. This is a very welcome change, giving more time to hike and then enjoy another sunset. The pink one above enabled me to find more deer beds. I was walking back on Joe's Head when I climbed up to catch the colors you see above. In the process, I found several deer beds adjacent to the campsites in that area, one at the base of a tree. There was another about ten feet away. Ironically, the next day, I found two more in this same area, so it must be a bedroom! 1/26/09 Ronnie, in the pink.