Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cabin Life: Some Snow And A Bobcat Sighting

Well, the world didn’t end, so we got that going for us, which is nice.  In fact, on the official first day of winter, we finally started getting some snow.  It rained all day, then switched to the very fine snow that blows around and looks like it’s snowing like crazy.  I woke up hoping to go skiing, but there’s still only an inch or so of snow on the ground.  I really want to go skiing.

The fine snow somehow makes it through the screens on my porch, coating everything out there.  I always try to sweep the porch before walking on it too many times, but Pico doesn’t care if the porch is clean.  He loves the snow.  When I let him out, he usually stares at the screen door like it’s the biggest barrier he’s ever seen.  But when we get snow, he noses open the door and takes off to prance around in the fresh white stuff.

Coming home last night, I drove through the white tunnel that is my road.  The balsams and pines that line either side of the road were coated in white, the branches just starting to droop a little bit under the weight of the snow.  I didn’t see any tracks across the road or going up the driveway.  Maybe it was too windy last night for the animals to be moving around much.

But on my way out this morning, I had a big fat bobcat run across about twenty feet in front of the car.  The first time I saw a bobcat was on the way up St. Regis Mountain.  When I was in college, I worked for a couple of summers as a Watershed Steward, which included a few days per week hiking to the very top of our little watershed, which was the summit of St. Regis.  I started walking up there one morning, my car the only one at the trail head parking lot.

The first half or so of the trail is rolling, open woods.  Just before I started heading up the steeper, rockier part of the trail, I took off my baseball cap to wipe my forehead.  When I took off the hat, I caught a glimpse of some movement a few hundred yards ahead of me.  I looked more closely and saw the bobcat just staring at me.  The cat looked pretty small and leisurely walked off.  He was on the rock, so I didn’t see any tracks, but it was nice to see the cat.  The Paul Smith’s mascot is the bobcat, and it was nice to see one so close to campus.

The bobcat I saw this morning was at least twice the size of that other one.  The short little tail was sticking up as it took three leaps across the road.  I stopped to look at the tracks in the snow, and it’s paws were bigger than Pico’s.  I could still see him walking off into the woods, over a dead birch tree that was on the ground.  He didn’t even look back at me, totally unconcerned that I was only a dozen or so yards away.  I hope he stays in this neck of the woods and makes an appearance once in a while.  As long as I don’t see those big tracks on the porch, we’ll get along just fine.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

7 Responses

  1. joan streetman says:

    merry christmas and happy new year and I love your stories as I wish it were me living like you are. I love the wilderness.

  2. Brad says:

    Happy Holidays Justin. My only complaint is that I run out of your posts before I finish up my morning cup of tea…

    Seeing that bobcat was neat – saw one in CA a few weeks back in CA while visiting family in the Sierra’s outside of Yosemite NP. I wondered then how long he had been watching me before I ever noticed him…glad it was a bobcat then, not a mtn lion!

  3. Justin says:

    Happy Holidays to you all as well!

    • Cindy says:

      Hi Justin,

      Love reading your stories….I have been going to the Adirondacks since I was a little girl…starting camping at Rogers Rock at Lake George. Raised my kids going up every summer with them…no tv, no cell phones, cooked outside on the fire, slept in tents – the best vacations ever – hiking, swimming, campfires….Now my kids are in their 20s and still love going up there…My husband and I especially like the fall to go hiking and have done most of the peaks around Lake George – with Black Mountain being my favorite!

      Merry Christmas! When reading your stories, I can picture myselp being there! cant wait to get up there again!


  4. ADKinLA says:

    Happy Holidays Justin, great story, hope you keep warm up at that cabin!

  5. Brian says:

    Happy holidays from the Saranac Lake area to Justin. I am enjoying reading about your life in the back woods. Good that you have your dog with you for companionship. I love the adirondacks also, mostly to fish & canoe.

  6. Larry varley says:

    My Beagles were prone to switching from Snow shoe hare to Bobcats, at a moments notice. It often took me all afternoon to catch them up.. Not a good thing for field trial hounds. But that was over thirty years ago in Nothern Saratoga County..

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