How many wolves were there?

by Bob Truman on December 25, 2013

in Animal tracks & sightings, Kananaskis, PLPP(P Lougheed Park)

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How many wolves do you think there were? Notice how they stayed out of the tracks.

How many wolves do you think there were? Notice how they stayed out of the tracks.

Wolf tracks on Wheeler

Wolf tracks on Wheeler

After my first ski trip of this winter on new Pocaterra yesterday, I continued on the fresh tracksetting along Lynx, Amos, Wheeler, Whiskey Jack, and the higher-elevation “old” Pocaterra.

Lynx and Amos were in reasonably good condition with occasional twigs, dirt and pine needles, but nothing more than a minor inconvenience. They were considerably better than “new” Pocaterra.

This is the rebuilt section of Whiskey Jack

This is the rebuilt section of Whiskey Jack

It was on Wheeler where conditions got a lot better, and where I immediately spotted the wolf tracks which Jody had mentioned in his early morning report. I followed them along Wheeler until some new grooming covered their tracks at the intersection of the trail which goes down to Boulton creek parking lot. I would bet that one of them was the beautiful black wolf which I saw on Nov 29 and wrote about it here.

The wolf tracks reappeared on Pocaterra below the Packers junction, then disappeared into the forest

The wolf tracks reappeared on Pocaterra below the Packers junction, then disappeared into the forest

As I passed by Packers, it appeared to be in nice shape with fresh tracksetting, but according to reports, the real issue is the ice floe higher up. Not a problem if you’re climbing, but scary if you’re descending.

I continued on to climb Whiskey Jack on marvelous conditions. At the top, I skied over to Tyrwhitt and took a photo. It hasn’t been groomed for some time, but as we’ve read on the Trip Reports from Jody, that should change in the next day or two.

Skiing off into the sunset on Pocaterra between Packers and Lynx junctions

Skiing off into the sunset on Pocaterra between Packers and Lynx junctions

Now for the 6.2K of quick, fun downhill on Pocaterra. Rather than blasting right through the next intersection, I did stop and take a photo of Packers. While rocketing down the next section, the wolf tracks reappeared for a while, then disappeared into the forest near the trail which leads out to the highway. I’m glad this part of the highway is closed for their sake.

It would have been interesting to watch this happen on the fast downhill section of Whiskey Jack

It would have been interesting to watch this happen on the fast downhill section of Whiskey Jack

It was now twilight as I reached the Lynx junction and had some beautiful scenery of the setting sun shining on the mountains and clouds, now able to be seen from the viewpoints on the new Pocaterra.

The air temperature when I arrived back at the hut was -6°C.

Cheryl and Bob

Merry Christmas from SkierCheryl and SkierBob

Cascade valley was trackset again yesterday. The trails at the Tunnel Mountain campground in Banff sound like they’d be a good place for beginners to practice their technique.

I added some more photos to the Emerald Lake Lodge contest, and there are new comments to read, too.

Since this blog started in 2008, I’ve written 999 posts counting this one.

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Georgina Brown December 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Ha, I was attacked by the same mad grouse! I barely escaped with my life! I think my ski boots look like another grouse so I am getting out the paints and going to make them look like a miniature lynx. That should keep that pesky bird away from me.
And Bob, I think there were 4 wolves. Sooooo happy Jody is back in business. What a nice early Christmas gift!
Happy holidays!

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2 Chuper December 25, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Hello all you x-country skiers , stop the blogging/twittering and face booking about the wolf tracks because before you know it the animal rights crowd is going to shut down your fun !!

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3 Sevigny Family December 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Merry Christmas Cheryl and Bob from Yvon, Linda, Annick and Joelle :)

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4 Bob Truman December 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

If you received new ski boots for Christmas, make sure you don’t do a ski marathon your first time out on them. You don’t want to be at the end of a long trail and realize you have blisters developing, but still have 10K yet to ski.

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5 Andrea December 25, 2013 at 10:25 am

We spotted the wolf tracks as well – couldn’t believe how many they were or how clear. We did come down Packers – there was one tiny section where I hit a patch of ice from a water flow but it was at most 3 metres – the rest of the trail was in great shape.

We were also attacked by a grouse on Pocaterra! Stopped about 6km out to apply some more wax and notice a grouse walking down the trail towards us – figured he would fly off since they are normally pretty shy – but he kept coming, hoped right on top of my skis and started pecking at our ski boots! Couldn’t believe it was the one time I left my camera in the car. He eventually let us continue or ski but he wasn’t too happy about it.

Randy and Kelsey related the same experience when I saw them at Pocaterra hut. -Bob

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6 Randy Jaggard December 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi Bob;
It was a pleasur to meet you Christmas eve. Yes, this is the second week the Spruce Grouse has been there. Seems very territorial. We thought there were Cougar tracks on upper Pocaterra as the paw prints were quite different from the wolves lower down.
Merry Christmas to all.

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