I love the fun and peacefulness of cross country skiing. It's so simple--no lines, no expensive lift tickets, and little to no driving. There are numerous outstanding cross country ski trails in our area. Recently, high winds shut down Sugarloaf, causing people to find entertainment off the mountain. The airport parking lot which is used to access the snowmobile, Narrow Gauge, and Huts trail systems was packed with cars and trucks with snowmobile trailers. We thought we'd see lots of people on the trails. However, aside from two pairs of bikers, we had the trails to ourselves. Many people from out of town seem to stick to the Gauge or the primary Huts system. By taking a different route, you avoid the crowds. To be honest though, there are never really crowds. I guess we just get a little spoiled up here.
While following a migration trail last week, we came upon this impressive track:
The migration trail crossed the West Branch of the Carrabassett River. Although the river was not completely frozen, the deer were undeterred.
Following deer trails in the winter is a great way to get outside. Because we have not had a lot of snow this winter, it's also possible to still find sheds. We did not find any, but I stopped to capture some of works of art Mother Nature has formed this winter:
Yesterday we decided to check out the migration trails in our area to see if the deer were on the move yet. The snow reveals a world of activity previously hidden in the leaves and forest floor. Along with a myriad of deer tracks, coyote and fox tracks traced the snow in elegant single-file patterns and manic squirrel tracks scribbled between trees. Most interesting to me was to see where deer had been digging in the snow for beech nuts as they walked the trails.
We often find signpost rubs, but this one on this particular migration trail is remarkable. It is one that has been used for generations of deer. Imagine, year after year (15 years? 20?) deer traveling along this same trail, stopping at this same tree to leave their scent.