It’s always interesting to see what’s been wandering around on Bender Mountain, and today was no exception. Right away, as I walked down the slope from Bender Road on the Eagle Scout trail, I could see that a lot of deer had been out and about (as you can see from the pictures). Tracks further along showed that they had hiked on long stretches of the trail going up to the ridgetop; they obviously appreciate our trail making efforts! There were no human footprints besides mine on the Eagle Scout trail, but along with the deer there were squirrel and mouse and bird tracks aplenty.
On the Ridge trail it was a different story. A lot of humans with big dogs had traveled there. I also found the tracks of a fox as it crossed and sometimes hiked along the Ridge trail. I spotted three deer bedded down on the slope below the trail. I didn’t mean to disturb them, but they got up and moved along when they saw me.
I could see from the tracks that humans had taken the south Paw Paw Gap trail too – along with more deer.
As I headed down the north Paw Paw Gap trail I left the hikers behind. No other animal, human or otherwise, had taken it down from the ridge. Further down this trail and along the slope above Rapid Run Creek, I found the tracks again of deer and squirrels that had been wandering there.
Sometimes when we hike in our nature preserves it seems that we’re the only ones who visit them – because there are no signs of other travelers. On a day after a snowfall, however, it becomes obvious that many enjoy our forests. Tim Sisson