Monday, May 4, 2009

Wolves in the Valles Caldera National Preserve

Every time we hike in the Valles Caldera National Preserve we see some critter that's at least as high as we are on the food chain. Yesterday we strapped Calvin, who was sound asleep, to the backpack and followed the trail that Quinn took last week to where there was an elk carcass.

We could see the white bones jutting out of the grass, but we could also see a wolf tip-toeing around the edge of the clearing. "Cool carcass," I said, "Let's get out of here."

If there was one wolf, there was sure to be more. I was there a couple of months ago with his parents and saw five of them. We turned around and headed back for another trail that would take us to the river.

Last fall we saw a baby cub in a tree near this trail, and thought we heard it's mother, and so we hurried out. We agreed, though, that the scariest thing to see in the woods would be a mountain lion, because that's the only animal that has actually attacked people in town (that we've heard of). We've heard stories of a mountain lion jumping on the back of a biker, or picking of a toddler who strayed behind. So hopefully we won't see one of them.

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